1. Customer Satisfaction: Macs scored high marks in categories like reliability, service experience and even phone hold time. The only category in which Mac scored low was percentage of laptops needing repairs. Mac users can get face-to-face assistance from a technician at the Genius Bar help desk located in any Apple Store.
2. Security: Another big difference between Mac and PC is the level of security you can expect from viruses and other unwanted intrusions. Malware like Trojans, which trick users into installing them by pretending to be something desirable, like antivirus programs, and botnets, which quietly enlist computers into an army of zombie machines designed to distribute spam or advertise fraud, are now common threats to PCs, but rarely harm Macs.
3. Software: One of the most important reasons Mac hasn’t captured a larger share of the computer market is the lack of software written for its operating system. This insufficiency is most obvious in business computing, where most applications were standardized on Windows PCs years ago.
4. Users: “Mac,” played by the younger, hoodie-wearing Justin Long and “PC,” played by the older, bespectacled John Hodgman. Mac users were more likely to be liberal, eat hummus and read The New York Times. PC users, on the other hand, were more conservative, had a better grasp on mathematical concepts.
5. Operating Systems: The operating system has been a long-standing difference between Mac and PC; currently, Mac computers are preinstalled with OS X Lion, while PCs come with Microsoft Windows 7.
6. Availability: When it comes to third-party retail stores, Apple is more selective than the PC manufacturers about where it will sell its products. Microsoft has a very different strategy. The company doesn’t make hardware — it licenses its Windows operating system to other companies. Most of those companies push their products into as many stores as they can. So while you might not see an Apple computer in your local computer shop, you’ll see dozens of Windows PCs.
7. Choice: Perhaps the most obvious difference between a Mac and a PC is the number of configurations available for each brand. Currently, Apple offers just five computer lines: the MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro, the Mac mini, the iMac and the Mac Pro.
PCs, on the other hand, come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Consumer Reports reviews 11 distinct brands of Windows-based computers, including Acer, Asus, Compaq, Dell, eMachines, Gateway, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba.
8. Technical Specifications: Generally, though, Macs have faster processors than their Windows counterparts but tend to skimp slightly when it comes to RAM, hard disk space and USB ports.
9. Price: If you just need a computer to perform basic functions like Web surfing or word processing, it might be hard to justify buying a Mac. Apple has chosen to build its Mac line around higher-end computers with better — and more costly — components.
10. Design: Design is a big differentiator between Macs and PCs. Today, some PC manufacturers are attempting to create more design-oriented models, but none have achieved the popular acclaim commanded by Mac products.