MacMost Now 543: Mac Misconceptions

Many new Mac users have some common misconceptions about their Macs and how they work. See if you are operating under any incorrect assumptions. Add to the list of common misconceptions below.

Video Transcript
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's look at some common Mac misconceptions. New mac user's sometimes have misconceptions about what their Mac can do and how it works. Let's take a look at some of those. One very common misconception is made by switchers, they've been using Windows and perhaps Microsoft Office software, you know, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. And then they switch to Mac and they feel well now they have to use iWork because they're on a Mac but that's not true at all. If you've been using Office software you can use Microsoft Office for Mac. Office for Mac has been out just about as long as Office for Windows has as a matter a face Excel on the Mac actually predates Excel on Windows. So if you're used to using Microsoft Office on Windows and you switch to Mac just simply go and get yourself Microsoft Office for Mac. It's almost exactly the same as the one you've been using on Windows. And it's probably the most powerful Office software for Mac. But I think the most common misconception for new Mac users is about Apple care. So Apple care is something that's offered to you when you buy your Mac. It basically extends your warranty. You see when you buy a new Mac you get a one year warranty or Apple care on your Mac. You can extend that up to three years by buying Apple Care. Now Apple care is simply a warranty with some benefits but it's still basically a warranty. So misconception number one is you don't have Apple care if you don't buy it when in fact you do have a one year warranty on anything you buy from Apple. The other thing is that Apple care will protect your Mac if you break it. And that's not true at all, it's a warranty. Think of a warranty like your car warranty, if you get into a car accident you don't use your warranty to fix the car you use insurance. So if you buy a new Macbook and you want to protect yourself in case you drop it Apple care is not going to do it. You may want to look in to computer insurance for that but Apple care is not something that's going to protect you if you break your Mac. Another misconception is that Mac's need Mac hardware. In other words a Mac mouse a Mac keyboard, Mac Screen, it's not true at all. Macs use USB mice and keyboards and Bluetooth keyboards and mice. So you can use just about any brand, you can even use a Windows branded keyboard for instance. Some of the keys may not match exactly and you kind of have to figure out that the Windows key maps to something else on a Mac keyboard, but you can use anything. So if you feel very comfortable typing on a specialized USB keyboard for instance, go ahead and buy that. It will work with your Mac the same with all sorts of different mice or any other device like trackball, trackpads things like that. And in addition monitors as well. If you've got a MacMini or a MacPro then you can use just about any LCD monitor out there. You many need an adapter because newer Macs have the mini display port or thunderbolt port and you're going to have to have an adapter to go to say DVI if you use another monitor but you can use any monitor you want with your Mac. Another common misconception is that there's not very much software available for Mac. And while it's true that for a long period of time Windows software greatly outnumbered Mac software. Now, it's a bit debatable. Yet, there's still more Windows software out there but a lot it is old and now you can clearly see how much Mac software there is with the Mac Appstore. So for instance if we go into Mac Appstore, we go into categories, we go into some category like business, and you look at all business Apps you can just scroll through it and just see there's tons and tons of software and this is just the stuff that's available in the Mac Appstore. A lot of software is available outside the MacStore directly from developers. Another misconception is about games, that games are only on Windows there's not really many games on the Mac. That is not true at all. Most big titles from companies like electronic arts have been released recently for the Mac at the same time as for the PC. And for instance, companies like VAL had been releasing MAC and PC titles side by side for a while now. So most of the big stuff is available for the Mac. It's true that there more things available for Windows but there's many more games for the Mac available, more games than you have time to play. So, this is by no means a complete list, I want to hear what common Mac misconceptions you've heard. Just leave them as a comment to this post at MacMost.com at this URL right here.
Until next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 27 Responses to “MacMost Now 543: Mac Misconceptions”

    MacMoar
    4/20/11 @ 1:37 pm

    I think the most common misconception I always get about macs is “there is only a one button mouse”.

    Michael
    4/20/11 @ 5:28 pm

    Yea I would agree with that. I have a co worker that is pretty computer savvy and of course a windows user and he too thought Macs did not have a right click

    Michael
    4/20/11 @ 5:43 pm

    Also I like to point out just the opposite with Office for the Mac. Example: I have witnessed (partly due to my help;)) many people switch to Mac and usually one of the first things they do when getting Apps is go find the “Mac version” of their windows software that they used. I like to tell then to instead do research (I do help them) and find “Mac Specific” Apps. Since I have moved to Mac, I am blown away of how many “Mac Only” apps that are available and awesome apps at that! The Mac Developers are a talented bunch and are “true” Mac users themselves. And many times these “mac only” Apps are a fraction of the cost of their Windows competitors! But back to Office suits, I tell most new users that all they will ever need is iWorks which is cheaper. Most people I know choose not to get iWorks afraid that it will not open their Window files! I tell them “not true”. In fact they can not only open those files, but create files in iWorks that can be saved as Word,Exel,Power Point files and usually they are blown away. Not to mention I think iWorks is a more user friendly suit:)

    andrew susay A
    4/21/11 @ 5:39 am

    Love my iMac but what about system tools? when I tried to create a boot camp for my windows, it was not possible as i needed to defrag it first!

    Harry
    4/21/11 @ 7:19 am

    You mention that Applecare is nothing more than a warrantee…stating that the first year of warrantee is identical to Applecare. Not true, not true! The 1 year warrantee that comes with a new Mac is HARDWARE only after the first 90 days. To discuss software and hardware after the initial 90 days, one needs to purchase an Applecare plan.

    Having had two Macs replaced under Applecare, I can’t stress the importance of having this. One Powermac was replaced within 4 months of purchase. My last 2007 iMac was replaced the night before my Applecare policy expired!! 3 years in,with a brand new iMac. I had had 4 months worth of problems that couldn’t be resolved prior to this, so a polite Canadian Applecare engineer made the decision, as I say, the night prior to Applecare expiring, to replace my ’07 iMac with a brand new ’10 iMac.

    Now THAT’S customer service! I’ve owned Apple for years, after having a career in Windows troubleshooting….one can’t beat it for anything.

    Pardon the fanboy attitude, but I’ve been convinced for years…and Windows did it.

      4/21/11 @ 7:22 am

      I describe it as “a warranty with benefits.” Without going into a several-minute detour on AppleCare, I think that sums it up pretty well.

      MichaelAngelo
      4/22/11 @ 8:47 am

      I do have an Applecare plan, but now I’m concerned about how long my new Mac Pro will last. You have replaced TWO? YIKES!

        4/22/11 @ 9:55 am

        On the other hand, I just sold an old G5 “tower” — the precursor to the Mac Pro. I think I bought it in 2003 or 2004. Still worked as good as the day I bought it.

    John F.
    4/21/11 @ 10:08 am

    Great post, great site. Thanks for all the valuable info. On the Office for Mac thing, I run into that a lot too… but as a heavy user of word processors (I write for a living), I would just want to mention that the non-Office options can be as good or better on the Mac. A program called Scrivener, for instance, is my latest favorite. And Pages, while not as meaty with features as Office (and that’s not necc. a bad thing), is both very stable and solid and also can export and import virtually anything done by an MS Office user on a PC. I do a lot of my work in the iWorks programs and export it for Windows users, simply because I’m a lot less likely to lose anything to program freezes or crashes that way.

    As for myths, I hear a lot that Macs can’t hook up to office networks, can’t use outlook, can’t use the same printers that Windows printers use, etc. All of which, of course, is untrue.

    John F.
    4/21/11 @ 10:11 am

    A favorite moment: A hired office tech came in to install a printer on the network and wrestled for 2-3 hours to get five Windows machines and their drivers to cooperate. I walked in, saw the new printer, and said “Oh great… the new printer is here.” Yeah, said the tech, but it’s not working yet. I walked over to my Macbook, hit print, and out came my page. He was awestruck. “How’d you do that?” he said. “Ha,” I said, “It’s a Mac.”

      4/21/11 @ 10:27 am

      I have a similar story. In 1998 I was one of the first people to get DSL in Denver. The guy installed it the wiring and box. He told me it was going to take a while to figure out how to get my computer connected. Then he saw I was on a Mac. He then said: Oh, a Mac. That might take even longer. I’m not sure it will even work.
      But before he could make his way around my desk to take a look, I simply clicked a few things in a control panel and was up and running.

    Joe W
    4/21/11 @ 1:38 pm

    Discovering and setting up wireless networks, WAY easier on a Mac. On family vacations, my old iBook always connects without issue whereas my Father-In-Law’s pc laptop, forget it!

    Alan
    4/21/11 @ 1:51 pm

    I never miss any of your great newsletters. Too bad on the mac I can’t get yahoo gin fonts large enough to play on line,I have to go back to my pc in order to do this,any suggestions.The apple store could not help.
    Thanks for your time
    Alan

      4/21/11 @ 2:09 pm

      What are Yahoo gin fonts?

        Alan
        6/2/11 @ 10:40 am

        Not sure what you are asking,I can play yahoo gin on old xp just fine.However when I try on the mac its so small no way to play it.
        Alan

          6/2/11 @ 10:47 am

          I see what you mean. Looks like that old game (and I think it is very old) just doesn’t work on something modern like Snow Leopard. Looks like they have some font issues. You’d have to contact Yahoo for support on that. They need to update the game.

            Alan
            6/6/11 @ 2:33 pm

            Gary thanks for your reply on yahoo gin.Yahoo won’t do anything about it.I enjoy your newsletters very much thanks for letting me see them. I also purchased your book on mac.
            Alan

    Ralph
    4/21/11 @ 4:48 pm

    A couple other myths for Gary the mythbuster:
    macs are more expensive than PC’s
    the learning curve for a switcher is steep
    macs are impervious to virus/malware attacks

      Greg
      4/21/11 @ 6:12 pm

      actually Ralph, Macs *are* more expensive than PC’s – My HP i7 laptop cost me $1800. I bought them 2 months apart. My Macbook Pro i5 cost me $2600.

      No myth there, more like fact.

        Pat J
        4/26/11 @ 8:44 am

        And your MBP will last a lot longer than the PC! My oldest is 4-5 years old and is as fast as the day I bought it. Gee, no viruses, no scandisk or defragging to do either. Much friendlier and more stable OS. Makes training a breeze!

    Greg
    4/21/11 @ 6:10 pm

    I love my mac !! :-) I bought this one in August 2010, and an HP i7 lappy in March 07. Since buying the mac, that’s all I’ve used, and the HP is effectively going to waste.

    As for misconceptions, a few things love about my mac are:
    1) they just work – no mucking around trying to find your wireless network, they find my linux box running samba with no help, and find network printers just as easily. – try that with winblows.
    2) When replacing the internal h/d, put the old one in a usb case and plug it in. Once the O/S boots on the new h/d, it finds the old h/d via usb, says “hey, i’ve found this hard drive, with all this stuff on it – apps, users, settings, data, (about 5 things from memory)…which ones do you want to restore to your new hard drive?”…and then just restores them to your new h/d without a hitch….try that with windows !!!
    The things I dislike about macs are: 1) over priced compared to non mac laptops 2) few interfaces – 2 usb ports, no hdmi, etc.

      Pat J
      4/26/11 @ 8:45 am

      I have 3 USB ports on my 17″ MBP. I have an HDMI port too. Maybe you have a smaller model than mine.

    jviquez
    4/22/11 @ 6:55 am

    They aren’t overpriced please! quality costs!! do you want a Mercedes Benz for the cost of a Toyota??? its not logical.

    Dawn
    4/22/11 @ 8:49 am

    Why can’t imovie or Final Cut read common MPEG files?

      4/22/11 @ 9:51 am

      It can. It can read the most common .mp4 file formats. But “MPEG files” can mean a lot of things. An MPEG file can contain video compressed into a lot of different formats. iMovie can handle standard “mpeg” compression, h264 and probably some others. But there are also many formats — some proprietary — that it cannot.
      See this episode: http://macmost.com/importing-incompatible-video-into-imovie.html

    Pat J
    4/26/11 @ 8:42 am

    I teach school district personnel in almost 50 districts on both the Mac & PC platform. One of my courses is ‘Switching from the PC to the Mac” so I am quite familiar with the misconceptions and poking holes in them.

    A Mac may cost you a bit more, but you don’t get all those junky programs like on a PC, no viruses (as of yet), and all the programs that come with your Mac are of great quality and stability. You get over 60 programs!

    Everything works, support is fantastic (and in ENGLISH..based in TX and CA), they do NOT slow down, no blue screens of death, etc.

    Jay Sorenson
    5/10/11 @ 2:01 am

    I was at a friends house today helping them with a second hand windows machine (always fun). I needed to use their other computer, an HP win7 box. My friend was telling me about all the problems they had with the HP. They spent hours on the phone with HP (India) and finally gave up and took it to the Geek Squad and $500.00 later they had a working computer! Let’s see new HP desktop with Norton from Costco $800.00 plus $500.00 at Best Buy to make it work. I told them that they could have got an iMac and 3 years of Applecare for about the same price and no problems! Please don’t tell me that Macs are too much money!

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