Sent: 18-05-2010 10:02:06
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Things to know before buying an Apple Mac
"Macs are better computers, don't get viruses, are faster and easier to use". I hear this all the time from Mac lovers and hopefully this article will clear the air about some of the myths and truths and will help your decision when buying a Mac.
Since the return of Steve Jobs one of the original founders of Apple, we have seen some of the most innovative products and one of the most creative marketing ideas of the computer age. Products like the iMac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, MacBook Air & iPad just to name a few. He is truly, one of the great leaders of the IT industry. Apple may have just a small market share but is one of the biggest presences in this technology age.
Are Macs better computers than PC's? This is not a Yes or No answer but more of a personal preference and after reading this article, this may help your decision.
1. Do Macs get Viruses? The Answer is Yes
Now before the Mac die hard fans rally their pitchforks & torch to kill me, a couple of things should be explained. Most users don't know the difference between viruses, computer worms, Trojan, spyware, adware etc and called them all viruses, and so for ease of explanation I am going to put them under the term security threats.
a) Firstly, most computer infections are made for Microsoft Windows based computers and there are far more "security threats" for Microsoft Windows than Apple Mac products. In the same light there are far more PC's than Apple Macs
b) Macs can get viruses that may not affect their operating system but they can still be a host and in that way, transfer security threats (viruses) to other computers.
Note there can be legal recourse if a non security protected computer infects another computer or network. This I will go into in more detail another time.
c)People who say Macs don't get security threats cannot have heard of Inqtana-A, iBotNet, Melissa.W, MacSweeper, Leap.A etc. Even though there are not as many security threats for Macs as Windows, they are out there and increasing as the Mac becomes more popular.
d) Long gone are the days that a security threat attacks just the operating system. These days it attacks the weakest point which means software programs like Word, Java, QuickTime, Internet Explorer, Safari, Snow Leopard just to name a few. For every piece of software you have you will see periodic "security updates" for them. For all the different ways of getting attacked, refer to my article on "different ways of getting infected".
e)Why would Anti Virus products be made for Macs such as Norton & McAfee if there were no threats? I found the following quote under the Apple website under "Security Advice" for Macs:
"The Mac is designed with built-in technologies that provide protection against malicious software and security threats right out of the box. However, since no system can be 100 percent immune from every threat, antivirus software may offer additional protection"
f) One last point, if Macs never had any security issues why would there be security patches available to download from the Apple website?
2. Apple computers are cheaper.
This is like comparing apples with oranges... sorry for the pun. Whether this is cheaper or not depends on the computer hardware and the software you need to use. Some programs are best suited or are only made for Macs and not PCs and vice versa, therefore I would suggest checking what programs you like to use before making a decision on this. I personally have been caught in the past over this whilst giving a demonstration on a new piece of software. When asked at the end of the presentation "is there a Mac version?" only to find out from the vendor that there wasn't one and still isn't today.
If you are buying a Mac for the kids and they want their games installed on it best to check out first if there are Mac versions of those games first
3. Apple Macs are cheaper to fix than PC's
In my experience, I have found this statement to be false as there are more Microsoft technicians available therefore more competition resulting in cheaper costs. In the case of program issues, everyone wants to save a dollar so they ask their mates "how do I fix this?" or "have you ever had this problem before?" etc. In the case of Microsoft problems, everyone knows something or someone that has a 'fix' to a problem. It can be debatable sometimes whether this is the correct advice or not.
In the case of Apple, who do you know that can help you and how much will it cost? Don't get me wrong, Apple is a fine product and in some areas better than Microsoft but before you purchase it, keep that in mind and be prepared to pay more for advice.
4. Macs are faster to use than PCs?
In some ways Macs are a lot faster than a PC. This is usually because they just don't have as many programs installed such as Anti Virus software which does make a computer a lot slower once installed. I do wonder sometimes when looking at PC's whether all those programs are necessary.
5. Macs are easier to use than PCs?
Neither is easy to use! Just get someone that has never used a PC or a Mac before such as grandparents and they will tell you how hard it is to use. It's only familiarity that makes it easier for us
I leave you with this one last thought, as the world changes more security attacks will be made. So let us not be ostriches with our heads in the sand thinking hackers or viruses won't attack me. The dynamics are changing and it is no longer IT geeks that wish to hack into computers for notoriety amongst their peers. It is mainly about making money now, stealing your ID, bank account details or just taking over your computer to use as a "zombie" to attack other computers or networks for other malicious means. This is now the age of the professional criminal make a living, finding the weakest point (software program) whether this is through Macs, PC's, iPhone, Smart Phones, Bluetooth devices or any of the other communications devices available these days.
The dynamics have changed and we are no longer safe. Whether you buy a Mac or PC or mobile phone make sure you keep updating your software with the latest security patches and getting appropriate security software to give you the best possible defence against malicious attacks. Now all you have to do is train the users in safe IT practices but that's for another day.
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