For thousands of photographers, this week marks a special time of the year, when Apple announces their new products for the creatives, with iMacs, MacBook Pros, and Mac Pros that will be used to create art for years to come. However, yesterday’s announcement of the new MacBook Pros was met with some lackluster feelings and disappointment, a feeling not unfamiliar to Apple users in recent years. So one must ask, is it time to give Windows another chance?

To the surprise of many, Apple hasn’t made the most exciting product this year, on all platforms of their technology. The iPhone 7, well, it was okay. Many users were furious with the headphone jack removed, and many questioned the reliability of the ‘portrait mode,’ which they mocked years prior on the HTC One. And moments after the announcement of the new phone, came the better, more exciting announcement from Google with the Google Pixel.

pixel-google

And the same can apply to the MacBook Pro announcements and the new Windows system, the Surface Studio. But while one was able to wow and excite us, the other asked us where the ESC key was going.

The PC versus Apple debate has always been filled with preconceived notions. PC users will complain about how Apple computers are underpowered, overpriced, and buying more into an ideology than a sustainable product. Many Apple users will say Windows sucks, rant about blue screens of death, driver issues, and other relics from Windows’ earlier era. But Windows has changed a lot in the last 10, no, five, years. Let’s take a closer look.

The Blue Screen of Death is All But Gone

Perhaps the biggest smudge mark on Windows’ reputation came with its Blue Screen of Death. During a driver failure, heat issue, or another other critical problem, your screen would go blue, and give you an error in some techy language that felt more like Chinese than English, just before it would slowly process itself to rebooting. However, in recent years, the Blue Screen of Death has virtually disappeared from Windows 7 and beyond. Now, software is given the rights to update itself behind the scenes, allowing for fewer driver issues or catastrophic failures.

Windows 10 Has Opted for a More Visual Experience

Apple has always succeeded in giving the visually minded people a visual representation of how an Operating System should perform. Where Windows has always been known for it’s code-based background, Apple has done a much better job of hiding that. Windows 10 has done an exceptional job of pushing itself into the visual world, allowing for you to talk to your computer to open apps, and tucking away a list of apps commonly found in Windows iconic Start Menu.

Now, Windows 10 looks more like an Apple OS than what many have come to expect from their earlier renditions. While it has its own way of doing things, the transition from one system to the other isn’t as much of a learning curve than one would expect.

They’re Different Systems with the Same DNA

In 2005, Apple quietly admitted defeat in the hardware aspects, transitioning from their IBM microchips into the more powerful and robust Intel-based chips systems. In non-nerd talk, Apple decided to make PCs with their operating system laid overtop of them. That’s right, the hardware found in an Apple Computer is no different than that found in a Windows based system, meaning you can install OS X on a PC, making a computer commonly called a ‘Hackintosh.’ The difference between a PC and an Apple computer comes with the ability to upgrade (and of course, the OS). Apple will often solder RAM and other components into the motherboard, making it so you cannot upgrade the components without Apple’s Customer Care fee. PCs, on the other hand, are entirely swappable with their components.

The Practical Reason for an Apple Computer Has Died

The benefits of using an Apple computer to do graphic design, photography or video editing used to be obvious. With exclusive and beloved software developed by Apple, like Final Cut Pro, Aperture, and Garage Band, it was easy to justify Apple systems for the creative workforce. However, in recent years, Apple has chosen to end development on these pieces of software, handing the throne to Adobe with Premiere Pro and Lightroom. Additionally, the popular software you use, from developers like Google (with Google Chrome) and Adobe (with Lightroom, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator etc etc), seem to prefer the PC platform, offering more advancements and faster than for the OSX users (case and point, Adobe’s love affair with the Microsoft Surface Pro).

The Cost and Complications are Gone

Apple doesn’t segment their market. They release one new phone each year, and a couple of computer systems with limited options. Those who want simplicity can rely on Apple for that, while PC purchasing have always been a complicated process. With a million different manufacturers, all promising they’re the best, the entire process of shopping for a computer can be a headache. But the rewards are indeed paying off. For the cost of the new MacBook Pro, you can get a Windows based laptop with the Razer Blade Pro – a system with three times as much GPU, 4K matte color-calibrated screen, and a faster processor, for the same cost, and still retaining a lot of sexiness in design.

razer-blade-pro

Safety is No Longer a Concern

The biggest push away from Windows in the early 2000s came with the rise of spyware and malware, traditionally found on PCs. It took only one misguided download, and your Windows based machine would be limping to do anything. However, virus and malware developers tend to side with the masses, and in recent years, PC malware has dropped considerably, whereas malware on Apple machines is at an all time high.

It’s Time to Reward Risks

Let’s consider the concept of risk. Apple’s greatest innovations have always come from how they’ve been able to look at new ways to do things creatively. Apple revolutionized the smartphone market with the original iPhone. The Macbook Air blew us away with how portable and thin it was. Apple has developed into the massive company they are today based purely on how they were able to innovate the tech world into something that was previously impossible. But one must ask, does Apple still hold true to that innovative drive? When was the last time they truly excited us? When was the last time you raced to buy the new product, for a reason other than crowd mentality?

Microsoft, on the other hand, has found a new way to excite us. The Microsoft Surface Studio is the definition of innovation – showing us a new and exciting way to do the things we’ve been doing for years. The promo video had us wanting more, and every early look at the system has focused entirely on how amazing and immersive it is.

And if you think Apple is still innovating, please explain to me why we need to buy a dongle to plug our three week old iPhones into our brand new MacBook Pro?

  • ScottBourne

    All very good points. Apple is now a watch company. I tried the Surface Book back in March. It is a beautiful machine with much to like. But when it came time to attach printers, drives, monitors, etc., it was still plagued by the same old Windows drivers issues I’ve found for decades. I hear that they are working on these issues (especially with their Surface Dock) and that improvements are coming. When they do come I see no reason for photographers to continue to ignore Windows. The Windows 10 experience is essentially similar to using the Mac OS. The Windows phone still lags behind the iPhone in terms of apps, etc., but I am sure that can be fixed too. If the Surface Studio is any indication of where Microsoft is going, it’s clear that they are the innovators and Apple will be the also ran. Time will tell.

    • I’m not saying that Windows based everything is the answer, Android is iOS’s greatest competitor, and does it well. However Android, much like Windows, is plagued with segmentation. People have one bad experience with a piece of hardware, and associate the entire ecosystem with that bad experience. I’ve heard plenty of people have troubles with Android in the past, but rarely have I heard troubles with the Samsung Galaxy line of phones…which is the flagship of Android devices.

      For me, I’m a free market guy, and will use the system that has the best user experience for me. I try not to remain loyal to brands whatsoever, and since I moved to Android devices a couple years ago, I’ve been happy with what they’re capable of doing. That said, I still have an iPad, as Apple still leads in that field by a margin.

    • G Annett

      I don’t get it, I’ve yet to find any driver problem with any device I’ve ever attached over 5 PCs of varying ages, types and components. I plug in the printer, it goes online, finds and installs. Same with every other device.

      • Sam Bourne

        Then you are very lucky. I don’t actually personally know anyone who has NOT had driver device issues. It’s very prevalent and even discussed at length in Windows forums. Maybe you’re just the one person who’s got it made in the shade. Or maybe you can come to my house and show me the magic because I haven’t had 24 hours of bug free operation on my Surface Book using multiple monitors, hard drives, etc. Like I said – I am sure this can be fixed and I hear some of these issues have been ironed out for some users. Windows has always suffered from this reputation so if it’s new to you – you must be new to Windows.

      • ScottBourne

        Sorry it doesn’t work that way for me. Wish it did. Have you ever actually hooked anything up to a Surface dock???

        • G Annett

          No, I don’t own a dock for it. I would have thought the dock would just be a pass through for what’s inside the surface but I don’t actually know. I do know some of Microsofts stuff is a bit iffy hardware wise, the Surface 3 is still glitchy as a piece of hardware but that’s a different issue. I hope you can get your problems resolved as that sucks.

    • dslrforever

      Wait what? We have 6 year old Printers that still work fine out of the box with Windows 10. If you have a device that’s so old that you can’t find a Windows driver for it, surely you can’t find one that’s compatible with OS X .

      • ScottBourne

        Sorry I didn’t realize I’d have to wade through Windows fan boys to leave a comment here. Your comment does illustrate precisely some of the problems. First of all my devices are all new. Windows 10 on a Surface Book using the dock is just that bad. And the notion that I would have to SEARCH for drivers is part of the problem. While I am sick to death of my Mac the fact is anything I hook up to it (including Windows devices) works. Defending stuff that doesn’t work doesn’t help your cause. I am trying to say here that I like the new stuff from Microsoft – I just want it to actually work.

        • G Annett

          Yeah, Windows is supposed to do that itself but like a lot of things, reality is that things rarely go as desired. They are slowly getting the bugs out but it’ll be a while due to the major rebuilding going on. Some of us are obviously luckier than others with these things and I know many are having a lot of issues. I’m not going to defend MS on this, they should be doing better.

  • Jerry Klein

    Since when was Windows Unix-based?! They were all Windows-NT based, weren’t they? And when you say that I can make a Hackintosh, can I do that on the laptop I’m running? Now that I think of it, can I upgrade my Acer S7’s processor and RAM? I want to run OSX on it.

    I’m sure there are viruses on OSX, and when you say that PC malware has dropped, I would say that is a misrepresentation–“So why the big drop? Enigma Software believes it’s partly down to users becoming more aware of how infections happen, and essentially learning better security practices. In particular, more folks are becoming wary of installing apps, toolbars and so forth which are bundled with software downloads.” Malware hasn’t become less prominent, people have become smarter.. but you’re still uneducated, you’re still going get malware on both OSX and Windows. So, safety is still of concern.

    And my friend asks, “Why would you need to plug in your phone to your macbook that’s new?” and says, “Everything is cloud and wireless based. If you really want to complain about plugging in your phone to charge it, more power to you.” For me, I don’t use any cloud based things. But I guess if I wanted to plug it in, I guess the fact is that I’d need a $3 adapter off Amazon.

    • The comment on Windows being a Unix-based system was an editor error, and has been fixed. That said, UNIX shell is available within Windows through the installation of a Linux Bash Shell – something I considered posting about, but didn’t want to convolute the article further.

      As for ‘Hackintosh’, the aforementioned link in the article gives detailed instructions as to building a hackintosh from the ground up. However, in short, you’re only able to use components that are already in Apple machines (which still gives you a variety of options). Hackintoshes have been a way for many to transition back into the PC world, allowing for dual booting of operating systems – both Windows and OSX.

      Malware protection is far more common in the PC ecosphere, because PCs were plagued with that for years. So much of the software has been built directly into Windows systems, with Windows Defender. OSX has malware on the rise, as developers for that software are always going to go with the path of the least resistance…and with limited protection options, that sides with OSX. Certainly, hopefully, people have learned to not download anything suspicious off the internet, as it may have affects to your computer’s health and your privacy…but if people always knew better, malware wouldn’t exist in the first place.

      The biggest argument for plugging your phone into your new MacBook Pro comes with security. Dropbox is only a month removed from leaking 60 million account names and passwords. iCloud was hacked in the recent future, and people are learning quite quickly that cloud services is a sacrifice of security for convenience. Sure, many will take the stance that you don’t need to plug one into the other….but if that was the case, Apple wouldn’t even bother making a $20 dongle allowing you to plug them into each other – a dongle that they’ll sell millions of.

  • coldspring22 .

    Odd google pixel is included in this article about windows. Yes Pixel is an option for Apple iphone user to consider due to it’s strong resemblance to iphone, but it would not appeal to many Android fans exactly for same reason. Pixel is an Android phone which is made for iphone users who is a bit more open minded than ifanboys.

    • Google Pixel is announced in a single sentence out of 1200 words. An image is pulled simply because there isn’t much, image wise, to pull for this article. But if this is the best criticism you’ve got, then it’s doing pretty well 😀

  • dslrforever

    Windows 7 was a solid OS that gave me no issues. Windows 10 is also solid though I’m not a fan of them pushing OneDrive. If you can’t figure out how to use either then that’s on you because if my 80 year old mother can use Windows Vista without any issues, then surely you “Tech Bros” can figure out how to use Windows 10 without picking up a virus or getting on facebook (or whatever it is you do).

  • Skeptic Spartan

    Windows is dead, all hail Android/Andromeda.

  • goldielox

    Actually, you don’t need to buy a dongle to attach your three week old iPhone to your brand new MacBook Pro. It is a bit disingenuous for you to characterize it as such and I think you are (or at least should be) aware that there will inevitably be a USB-C to Lightning cable to replace your USB 3 to Lightning cable, no dongle needed. Is it really a burden to replace a USB cable? As for “when did Apple last come out with something to inspire us?”, well … that new connector you are complaining about just gave us Thunderbolt 3 with twice the throughput of the previous iteration and the ability to connect 2-4K external monitors (or 2-5K models with the speced out 15″ model). Apple also gives us the Touchbar which relocates many of your application tools, freeing up screen real estate. And the new MacBook is also about 17% thinner that the previous model. Honestly, that looks pretty revolutionary to me. What did you want? Although I do not have not have experience with a Windows 10 system, I somewhat doubt that it is as bug-free as you imply. Although the Surface Studio looks like it may offer something new to the market, I certainly will not plunk down my cash for it just yet. Much safer to see what kind of a reception it gets and what flaws need to be worked out. The puck (Dial) looks cool on first glance, but after reflecting on it for a bit, is it really practical … or a bit of a gimmick? I’m not totally sure. And how do you feel about what may be a need to constantly wipe the smudges from the images you are working on? I do think the Surface Studio looks very cool. But I’ll let Microsoft work the kinks out first and see what others’ reactions are to it before I’m willing to jump ship again. BTW, check out Adam Ottke’s comments here:
    https://fstoppers.com/originals/why-apple-still-rules-microsoft-ok-and-everyone-needs-chill-out-152017