I have been a Windows user all my life. Having run my business on the Windows platform for two years and being extremely well-versed in the Windows platform, I never thought I would ever change.
In fact, I often laughed at the yuppie Apple fanboys in their turtlenecks and running shoes for buying into the marketing messages and paying twice what a computer should cost.
I’ve changed my tune.
But first, I must preface this article by saying that moving to the Mac was a good option for me, but that hardly makes it a good choice for all businesses. I don’t pretend that your productivity will suddenly soar when you rest your hands on an Apple keyboard for the first time, but I have personally found the platform to be surprisingly convenient for running a small business.
8 Apple Features that Improve My Business (in no particular order)
(8) First and foremost, no viruses.
In theory, the Apple operating system is no less secure than a Windows machine; however, because there are far more Windows machines in the world and because there are so many legacy Windows machines that are not regularly patched, hackers do not need to tap the smaller Mac ecosystem to infect a large number of computers. Simply put, they go for the larger Windows target.
Nearly every time a friend or family member has a slow computer and asks me to look at it, the problem is that their PC system is full of viruses. I can’t even count how many computers I’ve cleaned viruses from. Having a computer that is running fast (slowness is the first sign of a virus) and secure is essential for a business.
There have been viruses for the Mac, but there is yet to be any kind of widespread issues like on the PC.
Spending a significant amount of time in email and working on my computer, it is very likely that a business computer will eventually get a virus. This can cause data loss, loss of productivity, or even scarier–it could allow hackers to get into your website, bank, or other sensitive areas.
Working on a Mac where viruses are almost non-existent is great peace of mind.
(7) Device Quality
While I would consider the Mac operating system itself to be no “better” than Windows, I would certainly say that the Mac computers themselves are of higher quality than even the highest-end Windows machines.
Windows computers are made with razor thin price margins. That means computer makers need to skimp on every part of the computer to make a profit. If a nice processor and ram are included, then a cheap webcam and battery are put in to compensate.
Because of the price premium and expected quality of the Mac line of computers, I have found the hardware (the computer itself) to be of higher quality than any Windows computer I ever used at any price point.
(6) Back to my Mac
Back to my Mac is an excellent built-in feature of the Mac operating system. When I am traveling and want to access my home hard drive, I can use it to access the data quickly.
This type of functionality can certainly be done on Windows computers with software, but I never found a solution that works as well in the Windows ecosystem.
Is it possible to do this same thing on the PC? Sure, but it requires third-party software and never I could never find one that worked reliably without slowing down the machine.
Airplay is one of my favorite features. From my iPhone, iMac, or laptop, I can press the airplay button with a single click on any application and show my screen on a TV. This has been convenient for recording video tutorials where I want to show my screen in a video, as well as convenient for streaming movies and other content to the TV for enjoyment.
(4) Unified cloud-based syncing
Apple offers iCloud for all iOS and Mac devices. That has been tremendously useful for communication and portability in my business. If I take notes or create reminders on my iPhone, my wife (who works with me) has the same notes and reminders synced up on her phone.
Another example of the excellent job Apple does of a unified approach to accounts is with the Mac App Store. If I purchase a piece of software on my laptop, it is also available on my iMac.
Since my business is in the photography niche and since I do a lot of video tutorials, I have to store huge amounts of data. In fact, I currently have over 15 TERABYTES of multimedia. This does not fit on one machine. I rely on a Drobo (RAID device that allows you to use 5 external drives as a single drive) to hold my data.
I have tried multiple USB 3 external hard drives on both Windows and Mac computers and the speeds, while higher than USB 2, are still slower than I need to quickly do my work.
Macs use the thunderbolt interface in addition to including USB 3. With the devices I use thunderbolt with instead of USB 3, I am seeing a near doubling of transfer rates. While this may seem minor, it actually makes a tremendous difference when working with video because I can edit straight on the Drobo instead of taking the time to move files to and from the internal hard drive.
(2) Resale value
While Apple products are extremely expensive, they almost always keep their value well. Apple products are in high demand, so the used items often sell for surprisingly good prices.
This is especially important to me when considering the purchase of a laptop. Laptop batteries do not last forever. In fact, they often only charge up to 800 times. So I always try to sell off my laptops after they are a year and a half old before they start having issues of battery problems and bit-rot.
Unlike most Windows computers, one drawback to Mac laptops is that the battery is not replaceable, so when the battery is dead, so to is the computer. This is a drawback, but as long as you sell the device long before this starts becoming an issue, I have found that they keep their value generally better than Windows machines of comparable specs.
(1) The Magic Mouse
Okay, this one may sounds like a stretch, but it is because I am picky about the mouse I use on my computer. Using a clunky mouse with imprecise tracking and slow scrolling makes me feel like my productivity suffers–especially when I work in Photoshop.
The Apple Magic Mouse is the best mouse I have ever used. Not only is it precise and wireless, it lets you use gestures right on top of the mouse with no track pad. So to scroll down, I just rub my finger on it. I’m in nerd heaven.
Drawbacks to Using the Mac for Business
(1) Up-front Cost
No doubt, Mac computers are far more expensive than Windows computers when compared spec-for-spec. However, I’ve found it to be a worthwhile cost given the productivity gains and features mentioned above.
(2) Specialty Business Software
If you work in a specialized industry that has software that is PC only, that would be a serious consideration. You can easily put Windows and the Apple operating system on a Mac computer, but you may question if the change is worth it if you need to constantly switch which operating system you are using.
(3) Learning Curve
It took me a solid 5 months before I finally said, “Okay, I think I might be liking the Mac better now.” At first I hated how everything worked because it felt slower as I tried to cram the way I did things on a PC into my Mac workflow. I highly recommend a starter class (free) at the Apple store after purchase.