“Software is the lifeblood of a computer. Without it, it's just an extremely inefficient room heater. There is much less choice of software titles available for Macs compared to the Windows platform, so obviously, the Mac is the less viable computing platform...
So, there's less software for Macs then?
Okay, yes, it's true... sort of. Although a more pertinent question ought to be, "Is there insufficient software for Macs?" and that's where it all gets rather subjective.
Cut the crap, gimme a number!
Estimates suggest there are approximately 20,000 applications available for Mac OS XOf course it's all relative, but in anyone's book, that's hardly a small number. Does having a million dollars in the bank makes you a pauper because someone else has got 4 million?
Do not read too much into the fact that your local supermarket or PC superstore may not have much or even any Mac software on their shelves. You may just have to go to a store that is more specific towards Macs. Or of course, buy or download via the Internet. There is Mac software out there; you just may have to look for it.
When is a PC not a PC? When it's a Mac!
This of course is all only looking at software native to Mac OS, and perhaps software for its UNIX underpinnings. But it should also be considered that while OS X is the standard pre-installed OS on a Mac, it isn't the only OS it can run.
A Macintosh can run any OS a 'normal' PC can, including Windows either instead of or as well as. So actually, with a Macintosh computer, you can not only run every piece of OS X software, you can run every piece of Windows software too! So you could say that theoretically, for all practical purposes, a Macintosh computer is capable of running more applications that any other brand of PC!
Maybe a little of a tenuous stretch, but a fact nether the less.
Seefor more on this ability.
Yeah, but... but... there's still more for Windows, yes?
Indeed. And the raw numbers don't tell the whole story either. There may be tens of thousands of Mac applications, but there are gaps, particularly in specialist areas where Windows is the platform of choice.
See reason 20 and reason 9 for a few prominent examples.
More choice better than less choice... right?
Even in mainstream software genres where Macs are actively supported, there will usually be more choices with Windows. However, it is worth asking here, is choice for the sake of choice, by definition, always better?
Say computer platform 'A' has got 3 choices of a particular type of software, yet only one is any good. Then say platform 'B' has only got one choice, but it's a good one. Which computer platform has the better range of software?
That's just a hypothetical illustration to highlight that quantity doesn't tell the whole story. Granted, choice is good in the right circumstance, but is having the choice to choose crap software really something you can't live without? Is having a huge choice when only a few are worth considering, such an advantage? Or is it a confusing hindrance?
Consider that only a tiny minority of software is used by the vast majority of people. Now consider that if that software is available for Macs too which if it's a mainstream genre, it probably will be then is it so imperative that you must have Windows? You may believe you must run Windows so you could have access to this vast array of available software much more that you could ever need but in all likelihood, you'll only end up using the same good pieces of software as everyone else.
More often than not with a few notable exceptions you will find that of the software worth having, there will be a Mac version or a viable alternative.
So in summary...
...back to the question of, "Is there insufficient software for Macs?"
That's entirely subjective. And I'm sure for some people in specialist areas of business, or serious gamers for instance, the smaller range of software available for OS X, may render it not a viable permanent choice. But for us 'ordinary' folk, probably not nearly as much of an issue as it's commonly assumed to be.
Page content last updated 30 July 2009