A PC generally refers to a computer that runs on the Windows operating system. It is also defined as an IBM-compatible computer, thereby meaning that its architecture is based on the IBM microprocessor. A number of different operating systems are compatible with PCs; the most popular of which is Microsoft Windows. Some others are the UNIX variants, such as Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris.
On the other hand Macintosh, commonly known as Mac, is a brand name which covers several lines of personal computers designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. The Mac is the only computer in the world that can run all the major operating systems, including Mac OS X, Windows XP, and Vista. With software like Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion they can be run; side by side.
Macs and PCs both have dedicated followers, and each type of computer has its own strengths and weaknesses.
edit Operating System
Mac operating system has traditionally been more stable than Windows. The main reason for this is that Apple used to produce both the hardware (Mac computer) and the software (Mac operating system); they had better control over the integration of the entire system. Now Apple uses the same architecture as a PC, but is selective about the components within the system to ensure stability. Since the Windows operating system can run on hundreds of different types of computers, variations in hardware configurations within those computers can cause stability problems. Another reason for this is also that since PCs are the more popular choice in the Desktop market so most hackers and virus writers always target PCs making the MAC OS not a common target for virus attacks. Thereby making it more stable. As the popularity for MAC computers increase, it can be expected that the incidence of hacker and virus attacks will increase
Macs now ship with the Mac OS X operating system. Since Apple Macs now run on Intel processors, they can run Windows. Apple has also released a software kit called Bootcamp for running Windows on the Mac.
edit User Interface
The most noticeable difference between Macs and PCs is in the user interfaces. While many computer users will proclaim one or the other “superior” or “best,” this is ultimately a matter of personal preference. Highlights of the UI in Mac OS X include Launchpad (a screen full of app icons for easily launching your favorite apps), hot corners that can be customized for various types of views, a "dock" that has icons for your favorite apps, full screen mode for apps, and "spaces" that create as many desktops as you like so you can minimize clutter. With Windows 8 UI highlights include a touch-friendly "metro" interface that contains "live tiles", rectangular boxes of varying sizes on the screen that represent an app and get refreshed with the latest content from the app. Several apps utilizing the "metro" interface are full screen apps like in tablet computers.
Mac computers are most widely used in the creative professional market, including in journalism and desktop publishing, video editing and audio editing, but have also made inroads into the educative and scientific research sectors. PCs are also used with some of the video and audio editing and research purposes but are found largely as the Home or Office Computer. PCs are also widely used in gaming due to a wider variety of games available for the Windows platform.
edit Market share
Apple's share of the U.S. personal-computer market nearly tripled from 2004 to 2008 but hasn't gone up significantly since then, and stands at around 8.5 percent in August 2009, according to IDC. (Source: Associated Press)
In Q1 2008, worldwide PC shipments were around 70 million (up from 61 million in Q1 2007) whereas worldwide Mac shipments were around 2.3 million (up from 1.5 million in Q1 2007). Historical charts for PC vs. Mac shipments are available at http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/microsoft/archives/137350.asp
The market share of Mac for the July-Sept 2007 quarter was estimated at 3.2% for worldwide sales. While of PCs ( including major companies like HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer and Toshiba) was a total of around 56%.(Refer: http://www.systemshootouts.org/mac_sales.html)
PCs and Macs can usually share peripherals if they connect via USB, FireWire, or Bluetooth, three industry standards available on every Mac. Most popular applications for Mac and PC use the same file formats, making it simple to exchange documents with friends and coworkers or move existing files from a PC to a Mac.
Macs major applications include Ilife and Time Machine while the PCs most widely used application includes MS Office. Some popular games provided on a Mac are Mac Crack Attack, 3D Klondike while on PC are Solitaire and Virtual Pool.
There is a variety of software available for PCs, which are better than a Mac machine for use as gaming machines since most high-end games are created for the general PC. PCs and Macs can usually share peripherals if they connect via USB, [], or Bluetooth, three industry standards available on every Mac. Most popular applications for Mac and PC use the same file formats, making it simple to exchange documents with friends and coworkers or move existing files from a PC to a Mac.
Traditionally PCs have had the upper hand when it comes to gaming because more publishers developed games for the PC platform. Dollar for dollar, PCs have also provided more powerful processors and speed is an important criterion when it comes to gaming. Some popular games that are available only on PCs are Age of Empires III and Crysis. Games that have both Mac and PC versions include Call of Duty 4: Modern warfare, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, Lego Star Wars II , Starcraft and World of Warcraft.
edit Productivity Software
Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite & Cloud are available for both Windows and Mac platforms. Other productivity software like OpenOffice and StarOffice is also available for all platforms. Apple's iWork office suite, which includes Pages (word processor), Numbers (spreadsheets) and Keynote (presentation maker) are only available on the Mac and iOS platforms.
edit Mac PC war
Macs were hugely popular when the Macintosh was introduced in the mid-80s. They pioneered the GUI and the mouse. With Windows 3.1 and the wildly popular Windows 95, Microsoft gained a large market share. In the 1990s, Windows grew by leaps and bounds and Apple went downhill. After Steve Jobs was brought back to Apple, he introduced the iMac and revived Mac sales. Microsoft bought a 5% stake in Apple with a $150mn investment in non-voting shares in 1997.
Apple's Macs have always had a small but passionate fan base. In 2007, Apple released Mac vs PC ads showcasing the “cool” factor of Macs. These have been parodied online, often with a 3rd character (a woman) for Linux.
The Mac vs. PC ads (15)
In September 2008, Microsoft responded to the Apple campaign with a campaign of their own to break the PC stereotype.
edit A MAC into a PC (and vice versa)
By installing software like Boot Camp, or a virtualization solution, such as Parallels Desktop, a Mac can function like a PC machine. In other words, a MAC can run Windows on it.
Apple does not allow the use of its operating system on non-Apple hardware. So a Windows PC cannot run Mac OS X. However, the Hackintosh project allows users to run Mac OS on any supported Intel-based PC.
Attractive colors and curvy looks make the MAC aesthetically more appealing than the PC. PCs have also come a long way in changing their looks from the old white color computers but the look of a PC ultimately depends upon the manufacturer. Some PCs are more visually appealing than others.
The MacBook Air starts at $999, whereas the MacBook Pro costs $1,199 and up, depending on the model. See MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro
PCs usually cost significantly less than Macs with comparable hardware. This is mostly because PCs are manufactured by a large number of hardware manufacturers, resulting in increased competition and lower prices. A wide selection of PCs with varying costs is available on Amazon.com.