Five Reasons Why Designers Developers are Switching to Mac

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Designers and developers have many choices to make when it comes to getting work done, from what frameworks, languages, and image editing software to use, to what platform to run. The latter is an oft debated and controversial topic and the mere mention of it risks setting off flame wars of epic proportions, so in the interest of sanity, we’ll try to avoid any direct comparisons to other operating systems.

It’s no secret that there has been a growing trend in recent years toward developers, especially of the web variety, choosing a Mac as their main dev machine. In this two-part series, we will examine some of the reasons behind this trend, look at some of the pitfalls of switching to the Mac, and go over the must-have software and configurations every switcher should be aware of.

First Reason for Switching: Mac OS X

You may have noticed the rise in the number of colleagues and fellow developers who are choosing a Mac as their next computer. If you haven’t, you’re probably either working for Microsoft or you have an MBA. So why is it so compelling?

If you were to ask a die-hard Windows user why he or she thinks people like Macs, they would almost invariably say the reasons are purely about aesthetics. If you were to ask most web developers why they have switched to a mac, however, the refrain would be loud and unanimous: OSX. To be fair to Windows, in terms of raw capability the two offerings differ very little; with enough elbow grease, both systems can be configured in pretty much any way its users wish.

When pressured to explain why they prefer OSX, Mac users often rest on qualifiable and subjective arguments such as “it feels intuitive” or “I enjoy using it more” or even “I can’t explain why I like it better, I just do.” The Windows user, when presented with these arguments, usually rolls his or her eyes and continues on their way. It isn’t until someone truly makes up their own mind to give OSX an honest chance that they can understand what all the fuss is about.

A Few Quantifiable Benefits of OS X include:

1. Open Source Friendly

As a web developer, if there’s one skill you invariably have to develop, it’s the use of a *NIX terminal. Luckily, because OSX is built on top of UNIX, the terminal is ready and waiting. Every Apple ships with a wide variety of open source programming tools and frameworks built in such as PHP, Apache, and Ruby on Rails. Linux users who have grown tired of dealing with hardware issues, especially on laptops, often choose a Mac as their portable solution because it is UNIX based.

It means that the entire world of open source software out there is pretty much guaranteed to run without much hassle. In a world where open source software is a way of life, web developers need a friendly environment to operate in.

2. Quartz Extreme

Quartz is the OpenGL powered windowing system used by OSX. Quartz extreme utilizes the graphics card exclusively, which means no processor cycles are taxed. This allows for a variety of useful features such as Exposé, which dynamically resizes every window on the screen giving you a bird’s eye view of your entire workspace.

Spaces, a feature introduced in OSX 10.5 (Leopard) takes the bird’s eye view a step further by providing a view of multiple desktops. To further illustrate the point, you can activate Exposé inside Spaces and drag these windows from desktop to desktop – any videos that are playing will continue to play and the windows will dynamically resize to accommodate the extra window. Once you get used to this sort of thing, you wonder how you ever lived without it.

3. Core Animation

Core animation provides a way for developers to produce animated user interfaces via an implicit animation model as well as an ‘explicit’ model. In other words, it means some very flashy and useful features are going to start showing up in OS X applications much like the animated menu help system shown in the graphic above. Prodiving developers with a toolset to implement these types of animated effects means software will become more intuitive.

4. Built-in Tools

There are so many useful tools that are built in to the Mac that come in handy for designers and developers that it’s easy to see OSX was built with developers and creative professionals in mind. Take the built-in screen capturing utility “Grab” for OSX, which has a wide variety of options, from selecting down to the pixel the area you want to screenshot, to providing window captures complete with the window frame, to outputting directly to the desktop as a .PNG file.

In fact, some tools were created specifically for designers because Apple has long catered to the creative professional market (indeed, it sustained Apple during their darkest times). More built in tools include:

  • The Digital Color Meter – a tool that allows you to grab the color value of any pixel on your screen.
  • Console – Useful for viewing very large log files
  • Terminal – Mentioned above, complete with many OSS tools like VIM
  • XCode Tools – The Apple development IDE
  • Zoom – easy-as-pie down-to-the-pixel zooming
  • Safari Debug Mode – Similar to Firebug for Firefox
  • Time Machine – dead simple automated backups

5. Unified User Interface

As any student of design knows, consistency is one of the most important principles to adhere to, and it is clear the OSX UI was designed with this in mind. Because of the strict user interface guidelines provided by the Apple software development tools, applications and utilities on a Mac feel like they are all part of the same system.

The menu bar, which for some switchers can be a difficult feature to get used to, adheres to this unification by standardizing the location and layout of the menu options. Drag-and-drop functionality is ubiquitous. Being able to do things like drag an image off your web browser directly into your Photoshop project are a boon to productivity. If it feels as though you should be able to drag-and-drop something, you probably can.

6. Security

Now before you crack your knuckles and start composing your diatribe about why Macs aren’t any more secure than PCs, let me point out a trite but undebatable fact: there’s simply less malware out there for Macs than PCs – a LOT less (partly because Unix is inherently more secure than Windows and partly because Windows is just more wide-spread and Mac users aren’t targeted that often – read more in the article Is The Mac Really More Secure Than Windows?1). If you are on a Mac, at least for the next few more years, you can pretty much rest assured your days of worrying about virus and spyware scans are a thing of the past.

7. Textmate, Growl, Quicksilver, and more

There is no shortage of text editors available to developers, but one that seems to keep coming up in recommendation after recommendation is Textmate, the lightweight GUI text editor for OSX. The project management drawer makes it easy to keep track of folders, which for monolithic MVC frameworks like Ruby on Rails and CakePHP is a godsend.

Nested scopes allow users to create their own syntax highlighting which is important in the ever changing world of web development. To speed up the development process, one can utilize “snippets” or pieces of reusable code that can be inserted with a few key strokes. While there aren’t any features that are revolutionary, they are combined in a way that makes for a very unobtrusive coding experience that seems very in tune with the overall feel of a Mac.

In addition to Textmate, there is a whole host of other beloved applications that seem to have been created by people who truly understand and want to emulate the Mac experience, like the quick-launch solution Quicksilver, the system notifications app Growl, and the chat client Adium. These are pieces of software of a caliber that is sometimes difficult to find on Windows. It seems that quality, not quantity, is the best way to describe the Mac software library.

8. Quick Look

OS X not only has icons that display an actual miniature version of the file they are representing, but it’s possible to view the contents of the file in their full glory without having to launch the program they are associated with simply by hitting the space bar. Furthermore, if a group of icons are highlighted, they can be expanded into a gallery view.

9. Virtualization

OSX is the only OS you can get that can virtualize all three major operating systems out of the box. This is a must have for checking browser compatibility. To make life even easier, you can do it right from within OSX using programs like Parallels, Virtualbox, and VMWare Fusion. And if you think web browsers render websites exactly the same regardless of the operating system they’re running on you are sorely mistaken.

Second Reason for Switching: Intel Inside

When Apple made the switch to Intel chips, it upset a lot of Mac fans out there who liked the fact that Apple wasn’t the same as any other X86 box on the market. With the rise in mobile computing, however, Apple was forced to face the fact that the PowerPC wasn’t offering as good a solution as Intel.

They also knew that by offering a system that could run Windows in addition to OS X they would put to rest any compatibility arguments. It turned out to be a good strategical move, and droves of would-be switchers were finally able to take the plunge without being forced to give up their entire libraries of Windows-based software.

OSX can virtualize all three major operating systems out of the box. This is a must have for checking browser compatibility. To make life even easier, you can do it right from within OSX using programs like Parallels, Virtualbox, and VMWare Fusion. And if you think web browsers render websites exactly the same regardless of the operating system they’re running on you are sorely mistaken.

Third Reason for Switching: Less Hassle

Opinionated Software

Some people like hassle. In fact, developers typically love getting their hands dirty customizing, maintaining, and tweaking their operating systems. If you fall under this category, Linux is probably your best fit, followed by Windows. OS X is more opinionated than other platforms. It’s more difficult to customize its look and feel, there’s no easy way to get it to run on anything but Apple hardware, and OS X can be very particular about the way certain things are done.

Opionated software, however, can have its benefits. While it may be more difficult to customize and hack every last aspect of your OS, sometimes it can be nice to have a system where a good many of these choices have already been made for you. Because Apple provides a complete solution, from the operating system to the hardware to a lot of the software that’s bundled in, they have an easier go of making sure the experience is seemless and well tested. Opinionated software can be a very polarizing concept, however.

Take Ruby on Rails for instance, a web development framework where many decisions are made for the developer based on the core contributors’ opinions about best practices. Rails has a preferred javascript framework, database ORM, templating system, and more. You can choose other configurations if you want to, but it shines brightest when you do things the “Rails Way.”

You spend less time customizing and more time actually developing. This hands-off approach can be a major turn off for some developers, but for others it removes a lot of the hassle and reinventing of the wheel. The high rate of Mac ownership among Rails developers could be directly attributed to the analogous nature of Apple and Rails. The analogy is made more apt by any number of PHP vs Ruby on Rails flame wars you can find out there.

Support

Because Apple provides the whole solution, they are obligated to provide support for the whole solution as well. Most developers are perfectly willing to trouble shoot their own computers, but when deadlines need to be met it can be nice knowing that you can offload some of that hassle to people who already know the system inside and out.

Apple has impressive customer service specifically because they support the entire system, rather than just one aspect of the system. It’s also handy to be able to take your machine into an actual brick-and-mortar store rather than deal with outsourced phone support.

Let’s face it, when it comes to a non-technical spouse or family member, we can expect to do a lot of troubleshooting. Just like its nice not to have to worry about troubleshooting your own computer, it’s even nicer not to have to worry as much about other people’s computers. It is reasonable to assume that because Macs typically have less security issues (at least for now), there’s less time spent trying to explain how to avoid malware and actually removing it.

Fourth Reason for Switching: Microsoft

If you like it or not: a big reason why developers have been flocking to Apple is in part due to the fact that it isn’t the big M. When personal computing was still in its infancy, the reverse was true. Microsoft understood that it was the developers (developers developers) that would make their OS successful while Apple’s closed model ended up being a huge mistake.

Once Microsoft started dominating the marketplace, however, the pungent stench of monopoly sparked the open source movement, and more and more developers were starting to wonder if there were better options out there.

Linux is of course the golden child of the open source movement, but despite the efforts of Ubuntu it is still a ways off in terms of being a turnkey solution for most people. Enter Apple: a Unix based system that despite being every bit as closed as Microsoft, is in large part the antithesis of Microsoft.

Microsoft software has the unfortunate feeling of having been designed by committee. Features are packed in with little regard to their usefulness, and aesthetics are seemingly an afterthought. When Vista first launched, the Aero user interface was so flashy it required higher end machines to even run it, somewhat defeating the argument Microsoft was making about the affordability of PCs. OSX was designed to run as well on the most expensive Mac Pro as it would an eight year old Powerbook because they control the solution from hardware to software.

Unfortunately, Windows doesn’t come bundled with PHP, Rails, or any other open-source web development frameworks or languages any time soon. More and more of what we do is in the cloud these days anyways and it is almost starting to feel quaint when you come across new software that runs solely as a desktop client. Microsoft has painted themselves into a corner – they rely on closed formats and standards in a world where open source software, open formats, and open standards are king.

Fifth Reason For Switching: Design and Minimalism

Good design gets out of the way. It doesn’t demand to be seen or appreciated. Most of all, good design is something you don’t even notice at first. Bang & Olufsen understands this, and Apple understands this. As of this writing, there are only two styles of Apple notebook: silver and white, and white is only available in the cheapest configuration. Apple notebooks are free of stickers, screws, vents, buttons, switches, and graphics.

What this leaves is a system with little to look at other than the screen in front of you, which is as it should be. The benefit of the entire product development cycle being done under one house is that Apple creates a system that truly feels as though it was created by one person.

At the heart of Apple’s design philosophy is the concept of minimalism. It is a concept that has worked well for companies such as Google. We all remember the gratuitous placement of links and ads on most search engines before Google came around with its simple search bar. After all, it was the search that was the important part, not the content the provider was hoping we would want. Apple figures if not including a feature angers 1% of their consumer base but makes things easier for the other 99% it’s probably worth doing.

Take, for instance, the lack of a second mouse buttom. It may seem like a glaring omission on Apple’s part, but it has had some unintended consequences: because developers can’t simple throw commands into a bloated right-click menu they are forced to think more about the one-click usability of their applications.

Minimalist design has its downsides too, however. Macs lack card readers, often have 2-3 less USB ports than even low end machines, and are typically difficult to customize. For those of you who value a product that gives you many choices, Apple is going to fall short. It is often pointed out that upgrading a Mac is easy: “Just throw it away and buy a new one.”

Humor aside, this isn’t too far from the truth but the good news is that Macs hold their value better than any computer on the market. Instead of throwing it away, sell it on Ebay for healthy head-start on a new machine.

Mac’s Pitfalls

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows for everyone who switches to a Mac. There are the inevitable bumps in the road that everyone experiences when making a major platform change, and for some people these bumps are outright road blocks. Here’s what to be aware of:

1. Control is now Command

Breaking the habit of using control as the main modifier key on your system can take a bit of time and some people never quite get the hang of it. Old habits die hard and muscle memory dies harder. This is a problem that can be solved by re-mapping command to the control key, but when you are using a system that assumes a certain configuration you may run into confusion later on.

2. No Second Mouse Button

Unless you use an external mouse with your Apple laptop you will have to get used to the lack of a second mouse button. The truth is there is no optimal number of mouse buttons. Luckily, you can enable right-clicking in a number of ways on a mac, such as tapping the track pad with two fingers simultaneously or holding ctrl when clicking.

3. No Maximizing of Windows

This is actually starting to become less true as time goes on as ex-Windows users who develop software for the Mac include the feature (for instance, maximize on firefox for the Mac works as expected). But the typical maximize you are used to in Windows cannot be found on the Mac, and for some this can be extremely frustrating. In fact, the whole “stop-light” window controls can at times feel stale and unintuitive.

4. Lack of an “affordable” Mac

Perhaps the most popular sticking point of non-Mac users, price is always at the heart of the debate. Under $1200 or so, there is no question that byte for byte, ghz for ghz, you can get a better raw value by avoiding Apple. Apple has chosen not to enter the sub $1000 PC not because it doesn’t want to grow sales, but because it wants to avoid the dogfight that Sony, HP, and other brands are in for the lower end market.

Profit margins are razor thin in that range, after all. Apple is certainly catering to the botique style consumer. If you are pinching pennies these days the price issue may just be the one pitfall you can’t bring yourself to overcome.

5. Much Smaller Software Library

While this is somewhat mediated by the fact that you can virtualize Windows on a Mac, it is a far cry from being able to run your favorite programs natively on your system. If you are using software on a regular basis that only runs in the Windows environment, you may want to think hard about whether moving to a Mac is worth the trouble.

6. You Can’t Build a Mac (Easily)

Part of the success of Windows was the fact that they licensed it to run on any PC, anywhere. Apple has been closed since the word go, save a brief period where they allowed Mac clones to exist in what turned out to be a devastatingly bad idea. If you’re the type who loves building your own PC from scratch, a Mac is not going to offer much for you.

In general, even the most jaded Windows user is inevitably going to miss at least a few features or aspects of Windows during their switch to a Mac. The best policy to follow is to keep an open mind during the learning process. Try doing things “the Mac way” for a week and keep your skepticism to a minimum.

Above all, ask questions before you make assumptions. There’s a fervent Apple community out there (in case you haven’t noticed) that have solutions for every issue you find, thanks in part to the fact that most of them are switchers themselves. Remember, if you’re having the issue, chances are good some other switcher experienced it before you and created or found a solution.

Conclusion

While not the right solution for everyone, it’s clear that many people are switching to a Mac these days for a good many reasons. Nevertheless, Macs are expensive and require user’s patience and willingness to adapt his or her behavior to a compltely different interface. Mac is certainly not an option for every user, but it is definitely an option worth considering – particularly for designers or developers.

Join us in Part 2 of this series where we examine some of the must have software, configurations, and tricks that every new Mac user should know about. Please feel free to subscribe to our RSS-feed2 Subscribe to our RSS-feed3 and follow us on Twitter4 Follow us on Twitter5.

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.esecurityplanet.com/views/article.php/3658121/Is-the-Mac-Really-More-Secure-than-Windows.htm
  2. 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-rss.php
  3. 3 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-rss.php
  4. 4 http://twitter.com/smashingmag
  5. 5 http://twitter.com/smashingmag

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Mark Nutter runs a web development shop in Minnesota. You can follow him on Twitter where he occasionally says something worthwhile.

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  1. 1

    what a bunch of crap

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  2. 152

    Aw, how cute! Another one of “these”… For all things you say it sounds that really we don’t understand why they do or don’t go to this or that platform.

    1. Status Quo, Macs have always been associated with design… That’s it.
    2. …

    The same things could be said about going to Linux, or changing Laptop Brands…

    It’s more of a “i like this one better” thing rather than a conscious decision. With “humid screens” desktops and “melt my lap” laptops, and those awesome “Why should I pay extra for this memory just because it comes from Apple” moments, many don’t really go all conscious about this.

    I’ll say this once and leave this topic all along: You buy whatever it is you like. If you love it, then continue using it. If you don’t, try something else. It really is that simple.

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  3. 303

    To Angie: you should recheck the list, as Apple is more environmental friendly than Dell and HP -> http://www.greenpeace.org/international/campaigns/toxics/electronics/how-the-companies-line-up

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  4. 454

    1 reason why people will switch back from Mac: their stuff breaks. Easily. All the time. Continuously. Sadly their hardware is complete failure, and for the price you’re paying …

    And I for one hate the “design consistency”, but that’s just because I don’t like the Mac design much. So basically, everything looks consistently ugly.

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  5. 605

    There are two reasons why you might not switch.
    1. It is pricy.
    2. Not a system for gamers. ( Activition, id and ea are the only large ones who deliver games for mac )

    Other than that, you will get a better, faster and less noisy system by switching. More than you pay for – pc vs mac.

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  6. 756

    A Mac is a computer, not directly an operating system,.. i see no reason to switch a type of computer directly… there are many reasons why you should choose a pc over a mac as well.
    Outside that,… taken into account that Windows 7 is on the way, which its performance doesn’t do under for a Mac OSX. Especially not price-wise.

    From the comments, being a designer and not use a Mac, is a shit comment. Weren’t designers suppose to NOT do the same always? As long as you got a proper screen.

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  7. 907

    REALLY LAME ARTICLE.

    i´m very disappointed about smashing magazine!!!!

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  8. 1058

    Quite frankly, Macs are for people who just don’t really know how to use computers – no matter what the “artistes” say. And if something breaks, you need to replace the whole computer. I wanted to make my gaming faster on my PC, so rather than chucking it away and getting a new one, I simply purchased a new video card, swapped it out and away I went. And you cannot get into the operating system to tweak it up like you can on a PC. The Microsoft haters are to be expected, but in all honesty, all they do is make Mac users look like sheep.
    “Twice the price, half the power, a quarter of the applications. But who cares, it’s a Mac!” – so the saying goes.

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  9. 1209

    I totally agree with the last reason.. But I think this isn’t a good article, sorry.. Choosing one of them is just a personal thing, just like smarthphones for example. I’ve used both, but I returned to Windows, but that’s just my opinion!

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  10. 1360

    This must be the most unhelpful article SmashingMag published in a very long time. No real news, instead a more-or-less biased approach of the beaten-to-dead mac vs pc-discussion.

    I’m not against Apple, I’m not against PC, it’s the tools that do the trick, and for me (and most people here I guess) any machine that can run a browser, a text-editor (notepad++) and the Adobe Creative Suite will do. And if I knew how to run all that stable on Linux (preserving more resources), I would switch immediately.

    At this moment our multimedia dept. is run on pc, while graphics use mac. They both have their problems…

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  11. 1511

    Excellent article. As a hardcore Windows-user, It really make me think abou my next desktop solution.

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  12. 1662

    @Brian: Wow, all designers in your small little town using a mac? great :)
    Anyway, there are some very good reasons why designers should not switch to Mac:
    -> It’s quite expensive
    -> The difference in performing graphical issues between a MAC and a PC is not that big anymore
    -> PC’s are still faster in rendering 3d work
    -> Staying with your PC system doesn’t force you to also buy new software
    -> Most of your clients won’t experience your website as you do, because they don’ t use the Safari Browser…, because they don’ t use a Mac.
    For German readers visit my article on this subject @ http://www.pixel-kingdom.com/top_news/warum-dann-doch-kein-apple/

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  13. 1813

    I love my Mac and i would never go back to Windows…

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  14. 1964

    I can tell you 200 reasons why designers stay with windows.
    apple is like a high-class whore. nice to look at but way too expensive for the performance ;)

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  15. 2115

    I’m a designer and a gamer too, when I want to game I just boot my 24″ iMac into Windows XP through BootCamp and play Games, I have windows just set up for this reason alone.
    Therefore I get the best of both worlds, a workable well thought out environment for designing and a hack ‘n slash environment for games
    Believe me 24″ rampaging Zombies in Left4Dead look and play as good as any PC!

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  16. 2266

    Also a user of both worlds and still not convinced of OSX for any reason beyond aesthetics.

    Those of you, who want to use Textmate on Windows have to checkout e – Texteditor, which offers a lot of the same features, supports Textmate-bundles, is highly customizable and also is ridiculously cheap.

    Software should really be the last reason for people to switch, for there is a much larger software-base available on Windows, except a few applications that have been made exclusively available through Apple (e.g. Logic, Shake, etc.).

    The only thing I truly love about MACs is their visual appeal.

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  17. 2417

    Ugh. Some people HAVE given Macs an honest try and either don’t care for them or simply don’t care. Also, as an early poster stated, what designers are NOT already on a Mac? They’ve been brow-beaten into submission years ago.

    I thought Smashing was above comment-baiting with a low-grade topic like this? But here I am, baited… ;)

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  18. 2568

    A really interesting article that has arrived in my Google reader at a time that I am fighting to put cash towards my “I want to switch to mac” fund! It was nice to see a list of negatives as well although they didn’t have any impact on my desire to move my design/development needs and uses across to Mac.

    The article seems to have sparked an incredible number of replies, but it’s the good old Mac vs. PC debate so it was always going to! :) I have bookmarked this one so I can come back and make use of the comments to aide my decision to move further…

    Great article, thanks!

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  19. 2719

    I was a Windows user for around 10 years before I switched to the Mac 4 years ago. I am not a Mac user because the hardware is sexy or because I am an Apple fanboy, I am a Mac user for a very simple reason – it makes me more productive. I open my laptop lid and it’s on, instantly, ready for me to start work. I have everything organized in Spaces and the drag-and-drop interface makes things very quick.

    P.S. To the person above who said Macs are only used by people who don’t know anything about computers – I spent 2 years working in tech support. I fixed computers all day – I didn’t want to then have to fix more when I got home. Part of the reason I am more productive on the Mac is that it is very low-maintenance. It is a tool that works for me and I shouldn’t have to work for it.

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  20. 2870

    I find this article completly useless. I work on both, and the question between Mac or PC is only a matter of personal taste or experience. This is subjective. This article is not an information with objective arguments, it’s just a point of view I don’t find interesting. Sorry.

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  21. 3021

    I’m in Paris and all designers i know loves Mac!

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  22. 3172

    Ok, Apple is sexy but ¿can you know if a design is made with apple or windows? No
    I want to buy a MAC for my desktop but is toooooo expensive.
    With 2500 € you can buy an basic Mac for design.
    With 2500 € you can buy the mother of all PC’s

    Maybe in the next life….

    Congratulations for the blog.

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  23. 3323

    In my opinion there’s no specific reason for “Designers” to use a Mac.

    If I could afford one I would buy a Mac, but rather for leisure than for work.

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  24. 3474

    A computer is a tool. Nothing more. Focus should be on what you achieve with it, not on the machine. OSX, Windows or Linux, you can do everything in any of them with a little knowledge. Be creative and achieve with what you have rather than get drawn into the marketing, they all want to sell you a new computer when most of the time you really don’t need one.

    For everything you’ll ever need, you need a tool. Not a Mac. Not a PC. Not a pointed stick. (Well sometimes)

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  25. 3625

    This is silly. Designers have always used Macs.

    Anyway it’s about the result, not what you use to get there.

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  26. 3776

    I am a designer and I use both PC and Mac. I hate Macitude and Mactax though. I like a proper mouse. I can not and probably never will forgive Apple for designing a round mouse, that turns in your hand as you are working.

    Having said all that. If Adobe ever do linux versions of Photoshop, flash etc. I will jump ship to Ubuntu.

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  27. 3927

    I’ve been a Mac user since 1992 and I have never even thought about switching to Windows, eventhough most of the jobs I’ve held actually required me to work on a PC (running Windows).

    The number one reason for preferring Macs, to me, is OS X. Maintenancing Windows is a total nightmare, and just about every application that is Windows only sucks (in terms of UI design, usability etc.).

    Though I have recently thought about giving Ubuntu a try (due to financial constraints), I really want to (and need to) run PS, Illustrator and InDesign etc. natively.

    I actually used GIMP at my last job, but honestly, it doesn’t even come close to Photoshop.

    I just like the user experience I get out of apps like Safari, iTunes, iPhoto, NewsFire, Things, Transmit, Textmate etc.

    The G4 Powerbook I’m writing this post on has been in use since 2004 – not one OS re-install. Not one single crash.

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  28. 4078

    Okay:
    1. “OSX is built on top of UNIX” No it isn’t it is built on top of BSD, which looks similar, but is even better

    2. “Lack of Software”
    The Mac has plenty of software built exclusively for it.
    Almost anything that will run on Linux will also run on OSX
    Anything that will run on BSD will run on OSX
    With the move to Intel processors, anything exclusive to windows can be run via Boot Camp, or Parrallels, or ….
    In other words, the Mac has a larger software base than any other platform.

    3. The Command Key/Control Key thing.
    That is silly – these commands were copied from the Mac in the first place, so it is the PC that is doing things wrong.

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  29. 4229

    Siddharth Menon

    April 27, 2009 1:24 am

    I think its a wrong to say that using Mac would earn u good design… The OS before OSX etc had no great revolution to it. Yes switch to Vista was a big leap for me atleast.

    But I use PhotoShop, dreamweaver and no matter what platform I use it works and responds the same. At time I think vista has a better memory management be that if ur working on 2-4Gb or 8GB ram.

    This artical is kinda trying to push sales of MAC for wrong reasons. And yes I don’t say MAC is bad at all.

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  30. 4380

    Most designers I know are currently unemployed, or have second jobs. And they have macs as well. Food for thought people…

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  31. 4531

    I’m a designer and I won’t ever switch to Mac as it is now.

    It has to have a hefty price reduction, a sleeker, less demanding OS visually, more compatibility with games and other programs and more horsepower for me to switch to it.

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  32. 4682

    well, SM … you choose a controversal topic here… but I agree with it for the most of your arguments :) I have to say that I work every day in a web agency since 3 years now on PC, Vista for more then a year and there is nothing to compare with the Macs I have. The only good news about PCs is that Vista is not running that bad overall, but it’s just not as good as Mac OS X, and by far!!! After some month of uses, Vista like Xp is going slower every week: for example Illustrator and Photoshop take the double of time to open, you may have time for format and re install but I don’t… It is THE reason you have to choose Mac for design work, productivity ! The fact that Macs are pretty is a nice bonus…

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  33. 4833

    Kailash Gyawali

    April 27, 2009 1:59 am

    I love my MacBook Pro and I am BIG fan of OSX, I have never experienced any problem on my mac since I have been using it, I just love apple

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  34. 4984

    Macbook pro’s hidden feature – it can also cook egg!!

    Please follow the link to view the cooking egg on Mac Book Pro.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/prakaz/3395237918/

    Read what Apple says ):
    The bottom surface and some areas between the keyboard and LCD hinge of your Apple portable computer can become very warm after extended periods of use.

    This is normal operating behavior.

    The bottom of your Apple portable may become very warm during normal use. If the computer is on your lap and gets uncomfortably warm, remove it from your lap and place it on a stable surface.
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1778#

    Solution to over the heat problem:

    I bought “USB Notebook Cool Pad” having three fans on it to keep cool my MacBook Pro.

    Now I am using this and got 95% heat away… I almost use my mac book pro 8 to 10 hours daily.

    Follow the link to see Pad video:
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1920621/usb_notebook_cool_pad/

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  35. 5135

    I love to read and get inspired by Smashing Magazine. But this “article” is the worst, unnecessariest and worst researched ever. If the author really meant what he wrotes, go back under your stone and buy a mac. Who cares? I don’t.

    Next time: Five reasons why designers buy at Edeka food store.

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  36. 5286

    Mac, i love it.但我相信视窗会做的越来越好。

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  37. 5437

    wtf is this article? lots of bullshit.

    0
  38. 5588

    PC = crash, viruses, frustration.
    Mac = smooth running, reliable, stable

    PC Users = angry, jealous, argumentative
    Mac users = relaxed, successful, happy.

    0
  39. 5739

    Colormanagment is the big thing!

    The most successful designers are Mac users, and the ones that use Windows, by their very nature will fail.

    I have never seen a designer that´s good and uses windows.

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  40. 5890

    PC=diverse, creative, powerful
    Mac=un-inspiring, boring, slow

    PC Users=Defensive (with every right to be), Clever, Entrepreneurs
    Mac Users=Dull, Anal, Have rich daddies

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  41. 6041

    a lot of developers developers are also gamers gamers!!!

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  42. 6192

    As a long-time Windows user, being handed a Macbook Pro on starting my latest job was a little daunting. I have to say that I really don’t see what the world seems to in OS X. “Windows is always crashing, OS X, solid as a rock.” Well, this is anecdotal of course, but in my experience over the last few years, my XP machine has maybe died two or three times, once a driver conflict, once a rather disasterous hard drive failure and one other was an unexplained crash. In the 6 months I’ve had this Mac it’s ground to a complete halt 10 or 15 times–you know the kind where the spinning mouse cursor sits there and you are unable to do anything. I’m a web developer. Occasionally I’ll crack open Photoshop but usually I’ll just have Eclipse open, perhaps mail, sometimes an FTP client. And, given that, how come this dual core, 2GB machine feels like swimming in treacle? It’s not VERY unresponsive and it’s hard to put into words but it just … JUST feels slightly slow to react to what I do, scrolling slightly behind my movements, click response taking fractions of a second longer than feels right. It’s tiny, but again on XP, it feels instantaneous, and the cumulative effect makes the system feel much less responsive. I don’t care what my machine looks like.. I like the Macbook’s trackpad.. that feels awesome, but otherwise it’s just the OS I care about, and how quickly and easily I feel I can work.

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  43. 6343

    Disapointing article realy. Smashing what happened this time. I realy don’t know. In the article it was no mentioned that 80% of final user on internet are windows user. Nobody cares ha ha ha. Outch BIG mistake. That’s all folks.

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  44. 6494

    I can advertise too

    April 27, 2009 3:14 am
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  45. 6645

    ** Bahh removed my comment, I shouldn’t rise to flamebait like this article **

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  46. 6796

    Not a smashing-quality article, to say the least…

    0
  47. 6947

    Article title should be “developers” not “designers.” Even the second paragraph references “developers.” The fact that the majority of designers and design firms use Macs has been well established for many years.

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  48. 7098

    You have indeed forgot one big Reason FOR switching to the mac: The Joy of Use!

    I was forced to switch to mac after more than 10 years on windows by my last company.
    First I was confused and a bit frustrated, ’cause some things just are different and “my workflow” was gone, but after 2 month I was as quick as before, later even quicker and the work just makes much more fun on OSX!

    The joy of use is just great on apples products! MS will never reach that level, they are feature-driven and design by committee …

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  49. 7249

    To end this: I met lot’s of Mac Users that are just silent and happy their pc is working despite the fact that they don’t understand computers much and lot’s of Win Users that don’t understand their computer and think it’s a hard thing to understand and maintain. Some are very competitive and commenting all over the web that Mac sucks.

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  50. 7400

    I run a network with almost 30% Mac’s and 70% PCs, and our web design team refuses to go Mac. Our graphics department has an awesome Mac Pro with 4GB of RAM and dual quad-core xeon’s, which rocks… but she wishes she had a decent PC instead.

    We do have an all-Mac video department and some office users that prefer Apple, but I think this article does paint with a broad brush.

    I loved the article, very well written, but I believe it is looking at a smaller sample than the author realizes. What is most important for a graphic designer is to understand how art works, regardless of the brush they are holding.

    As for me, I use Windows, Mac, and Ubuntu on a regular basis and enjoy them all. (Although setting up a good web-dev environment with the specific version of Apache, MySQL, and PHP that I prefer is by far hardest on the Mac… and Inkscape requires X-11 which always causes me issues…) I still love my MacBook, but I don’t see all the benefits I was told would be there.

    (No seriously, good article…. I’m not ranting, just letting people know I don’t work for Microsoft, nor am I an MBA, but myself, the web development team at work, and our graphics department at work all prefer Windows for the same reason most designers prefer Mac: because they are comfortable with it and can get their work done faster in an environment they are familiar with.)

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