Max Al Farakh Blog

Thinking about switching from Mac to PC? Here is my story

Oct 28 2016 :: by Max

Many Mac users are thinking about switching to PC after the yesterday’s keynote. I made the switch a couple of months ago, and I want to tell you my thoughts.

Let me preface this by saying that I am probably one of the biggest Apple fanboys you’ve ever met. I own a bazillion Apple devices: two MBPs, a few iPhones, two iPads, an Apple Watch, three Apple TVs, a Thunderbolt display, etc. I had to live through tons of jokes people made at parties back in the days when iOS didn’t have some very basic features like copy and paste. When I visit a new city, local Apple Stores are at the top of my list of the things to see. Hell, I used to co-host a weekly podcast about Apple.

I’m telling you all this so that you know that you can trust me when I say this: you can switch from Mac to PC. I know that a lot of people are thinking about switching, especially after the yesterday’s keynote. I switched a couple of months ago, and I am here to address any doubts you may have.

My last Macbook Pro was a mid-2012 model with Retina display. To be honest, I never really liked it, but it was alright. I should note that I am a developer and performance is very important for me: I need to run virtual machines and compile huge projects. I thought that it is an expected use case and I should have no issues with a $2.5k laptop. But it was a struggle for some reason. The performance just wasn’t there.

So, I patiently waited for an MBP update. At first, the update was rumored for a March event. Then everyone waited for WWDC. After that, I started looking into buying a PC. In August I finally caved and got one and I never looked back ever since.

I have to admit, that I was a bit worried about yesterday’s event. “What if I’ve made a wrong decision and Apple is going to release something revolutionary? Maybe I should’ve waited a couple of months.” Well, you know what happened yesterday: Apple released a laptop, that you can’t even use to charge your iPhone. But this is not a rant.

I know that you have doubts - I had a lot of doubts too. Below I listed the things that I was scared of and how they turned out to be false.

Microsoft is more Apple than Apple

Apple has always been a synonym of innovation to me. They always try to push the industry forward. But lately? Not so much. I do not consider removing old ports to be innovative. To be fair, I think their industrial design and engineering teams are still brilliant. The hardware keeps getting thinner and lighter (that what we want in a laptop, right?). iPhones increase performance with every new model. All the things they do with cameras are ridiculously good.

But look at the global picture. iOS continues to borrow features from Android and third-party apps. Apple Watch has an identity crisis. And macOS is living of off iOS’ leftovers. And now we have the new touch bar. It looks nice, but if you ask me, I choose the Esc and functional keys over it any day of the week. It feels like the only thing they care about is inventing new ways to type emojis faster.

Look at Microsoft on the other hand. Have you seen Surface Studio? Talk about innovation. Surface Studio looks like the best Apple product in years except it wasn’t made by Apple. Everything MS does right now looks cool, and I’m genuinely excited about it. Oh, and did you know that Microsoft is the top open-source contributor on Github?

Ever since I made the switch to PC, I just feel like stuff is constantly happening around me. I get new Windows beta builds every week with a lot of new features. All the apps I use constantly release new versions. New products are being announced. I just feel like a part of a big community again.

macOS, on the other hand, is a ghost town. Go ahead and open Mac App Store right now and you’ll see what I mean. It is very clear that Apple doesn’t care about Macs anymore. So if you have a fear of missing out by switching to PC, just know that you are missing out by not switching.

“I’m so used to macOS it would be hard to change my habits”

This was the thing I was the most afraid of. It’s hard to break old habits. But the truth is Win10 and macOS are very similar. In fact, the only thing I had to learn is pressing Control instead of Command. Moving to Windows was painless considering I’ve been using Macs for almost ten years.

And the great thing about Windows is you can change everything how you like it, including remapping keys. So if you want, you can spend a bit of time setting everything up and not change your behavior at all. I promise that after a couple of days you will feel at home.

“Windows has crappy software”

I’m not going to lie: macOS has better software and better developers. In general, Windows apps do not have the same attention to detail and hand-made feel as macOS apps do. But for me, it’s a relatively small trade-off. The majority of the apps I use are the same on Mac and PC, and I can tolerate something like an ugly FTP client.

After three months of using a PC, there are just two Mac apps that I can’t replace: Logic and Xcode. I occasionally use Logic to record guitar tracks, but I have no problem pulling out my Macbook for that. Also, I could replace Logic with Pro Tools, but I have no desire to do so.

I forced to use Xcode to build our iOS app and to submit it to the App Store. If I could avoid it I would - Xcode is the worst IDE I’ve ever used. I hated it even back in the day when a was a hardcore fan boy. But, as with Logic, I can use my Macbook for that.

Everything else I need has a Windows version or alternative.

Hardware

Let me be very clear. If I buy a $3k laptop, I want the technology to be cutting edge. New Macbooks got Skylake CPUs right at the end of their lifespan - Koby Lake is right around the corner. Going with AMD instead of Nvidia in 2016? Seriously? And it’s not even the premium AMDs. Don’t even get me started on four USB-C ports. Just don’t. Displays are nice, but I will let you in on a secret: Apple doesn’t make them. They are made by LG or Samsung, and you can get basically the same panels in other non-apple products.

Obviously, if you decide to go with PC, you have all the options in the world. I know that PCs are perceived as squeaky pieces of crappy plastic, but it’s simply not true anymore. In fact, if you go with premium models, it will be very hard for other people to notice that it’s not a Macbook. So no one will make fun of you at Starbucks, just put some edgy stickers on it or something.

As a side bonus, you will have good old USB ports, so you won’t need to carry a backpack full of dongles everywhere.

Gaming

This is a bonus, and I understand that not everyone cares about games. But let me just throw it out there: you won’t be able to play any modern games on your new $3k Macbook. You could play something like Civilization at minimum graphic settings at 20 FPS. That’s a pretty miserable experience.

My $1.5k desktop PC can run any game on ultra settings at 60+ FPS. Video games are amazing now, and PCs are definitely the best place to play. So, if you are into gaming at all, just buy a PC.

PCs are not longer ugly, slow and glitchy pieces of crap they were ten years ago. They are cool and get better every day. The industry moves incredibly fast throwing out new products every week.

Apple took almost two years to upgrade their Pro line-up with questionable hardware at ridiculous prices, and macOS shows no signs of life.

I think they made it very clear that they don’t really care about professional computers anymore. If you are considering switching to PC after yesterday’s keynote, just do it. I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it.


'Thinking about switching from Mac to PC? Here is my story' was written by Max by Max. co-counder


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