Contrary to Microsoft marketing honcho David Webster's snarky recent assertion, Macs aren't "washed with unicorn tears" -- at least as far as I know. However, lots of extremely rational reasons exist to choose a Mac running OS X over a Windows PC. Macs can leave you happier and more productive than you would have been if you'd bought a Windows system, and feeling you got good value for your money even though a Mac is never the cheapest option.
I'm no hidebound advocate for the supremacy of Macs in every instance -- the last two computers I've bought have both been Windows laptops, and I cheerfully and sincerely wrote an article called "Eight reasons your next computer should be a PC to accompany this one. But when friends toss the eternal "PC or Mac?" question my way, these are the points I bring up in favor of the Mac. They're listed rough order of their positive impact on your everyday computing experience as I see it.
[ If, after reading this list you're still not convinced, check out the eight reasons your next computer should be a PC. ]
1. Macs are consistently consistent.
Windows Vista reminds me of the legendarily inexplicable Winchester Mystery House -- a place with endless wings and far-flung rooms connected by twisty staircases and secret passages. And every time Microsoft does a redecorating job (also known as an upgrade), it moves some stuff around for no apparent reason. OS X's logical, minimalist interface simply involves fewer things that must be learned and relearned, and Apple messes less with it in new releases such as Leopard. Bottom line: It's easier to get stuff done.
2. The joy of predictability.
Anyone who's ever suffered the indignity known as a Kernel Panic knows that Macs aren't bulletproof. But logging thousands of hours both on Windows PCs from multiple manufacturers and on Macs has convinced me that the average Mac is meaningfully less flaky than the average PC. In my experience Macs crash less, suffer from fewer inexplicable slowdowns, deal better with tight memory situations, and boot up and shut down quicker and more reliably. I don't pretend to have all the answers why, but it presumably doesn't hurt that Apple is the only company in the business that writes its own operating system and designs its own hardware.
3. Who needs security headaches?
If the Internet's bad guys ever decide to pummel OS X with the same intensity that they've pounded on Windows for years, the free ride for Mac fans may end. But for now, this fact is indisputable: A Mac owner who uses no security software at all runs less risk of being infected by spyware or a virus than a Windows user who obsessively protects his or her PC. In the last week alone, two Windows-using pals have been crippled by attacks; I've never heard even one real-world horror story from a friend about a Mac security meltdown.