I came across this post on Smashing Magazine yesterday, and while it offers some fine reasons for web developers to use a PC, I thought it missed a few too. Most of these venture into web designer territory somewhat, but I wanted to mention them nontheless.
What you see is what 95% gets
In my opinion, the main reason to at least have a PC around when doing anything for the web is that it’s the platform most of your end users will use. It allows you to test your products in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Chrome without the need for tricks or virtual machines.
Another thing (for designers) is gamma. Macs use a different gamma setting that makes everything look slightly brighter. While this looks nice, it’s not what the majority your audience will see. I’ve had countless discussion with Apple users about tricks to overcome this, but the easiest solution by far is to use a PC. Simply disable all color management options in Photoshop and your work will be displayed exactly as it will be to most users. This is also why in most cases a virtual machine with Windows won’t do. The gamma will still be ‘wrong’.
There’s plenty of great software on the Mac, but there’s no denying that Windows is the dominant platform in the software market. For every great OSX application there are at least ten on Windows. And usually a couple of those are pretty good. And in most cases some of those good ones are free. I’ve never come across a Mac application that I wished I could use on my PC. There’s always been a similar program for Windows that was either equal or better.
The post on Smashing Magazine highlights some of these tools, but what it comes down to is that software just isn’t a reason to use a Mac. There’s an abundance of great software. No other platform has this much choice, and choice is good.
About that ‘The best parts of Mac’ bit
Yeah sure, you can install RocketDock if you like a bunch of icons at the bottom of your screen overlapping your windows. And Launchy if you were used to Quicksilver. But I’d encourage anyone to try Vista before trying to fix it. I love how you can press the Windows key, type a few letters and launch the app you’re looking for. I like things like the quick launch tray. Vista’s own user interface isn’t so bad. It’s adequate for launching the apps you need, and once you’re inside Photoshop it doesn’t matter what OS you’re on.
If you’re so attached to OSX’s icon dock you should probably just stick with a Mac. On the other hand, if you’re a little more pragmatic about what you need your OS to do, consider using a PC. It’s not as bad as Apple zealots will have you believe. Nor is it perfect.