Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2

What’s the best wearable device you can get?

Microsoft Band 2

Microsoft has taken the wraps off of its latest and greatest wearable device, an updated version of the Microsoft Band. The fitness tracker/smartwatch combo looks to be even better than the hit that was the original Microsoft Band, featuring improved fitness tracking capabilities and a number of new smart wearable features.

Microsoft, however, isn’t the only company that’s been working hard in the wearable market.Samsung recently announced the Samsung Gear S2 and, but if we’re going to talk about wearables, it would be hard not to include the Apple Watch, a device with fitness features Apple doesn’t shy away from promoting (there’s even the rubbery strap for the Apple Watch Sport edition that’s suited exercise).

Of course, it’s important to mention that the Microsoft Band is positioned as a fitness tracker, while the Samsung Gear S2 and the Apple Watch are both smartwatches that have some fitness features. However, each are flagship wearables with top-notch hardware and software, which evens the playing field. If you’re having trouble deciding which device best suits your needs, read on as we compare the most important features of each against the others.

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2: Design

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2

The new Microsoft Band has an improved design with a curved display. Generally speaking, the Band offers a simple, sporty design, including a flat black strap that hooks together with a subtle clip.

The Samsung Gear S2, by comparison, looks like a real watch. It has a round face and offers a sporty design with the band itself made of plastic, a design element that helps it flow well into the main body of the device. Some would argue the Gear S2 is one of the best designed smartwatches on the market. It’s also fairly thin, coming in at 11.4mm (0.45 inches) thick.

The Apple Watch really is one of those devices that looks better in person than it does in pictures. It offers a square display, which seems to be out of fashion for wearable devices of late, however the multitude of color and band options is certainly a plus. The Apple Watch is a little thinner than the Gear S2: it measure 10.5mm (0.41 inches) thick.

It’s difficult to compare design of a device that’s clearly a fitness band with the design of a smartwatch. It’s even difficult to compare a round smartwatch with a square one. While it really comes down to personal preference here, for a subtle fitness tracker then the Band is the best option in terms of design.

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2: Display

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2

The new Microsoft Band display is 32mm x 12.8mm (1.26 x 0.5 inches), a rectangular display indeed but one that seems to work great considering the device is a fitness tracker. The display’s resolution is 320 x 128 pixels.

By comparison, the Samsung Gear S2 offers a display that’s 1.2-inches across, has a resolution of 360 x 360 pixels and a pixel density of 302 pixels-per-inch.

Finally, the Apple Watch is actually available with two display options. The first is 38mm (1.5 inches) diagonal, with a resolution of 340 x 272 pixels. The second display is 42mm (1.65inches), and has a resolution of 390 x 312 pixels.

When all’s said and done, the Samsung Gear S2 has the densest and therefore crispest display.

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2: Processor, storage and RAM

Microsoft hasn’t listed the processor, storage capacity or RAM on the Microsoft Band, so it’s impossible to judge it on those front.

Exynos processor, and the Apple Watch features an Apple S1 chip. It’s a little hard to compare the two at this point because of the fact that Apple doesn’t generally offer much information about its processors. As far as storage goes, the Samsung Gear S2 has 4GB, while the Apple Watch packs 8GB. Both devices offer 512MB of RAM.

The Samsung Gear S2, meanwhile, offers a 1GHz Exynos processor, and the Apple Watch features an Apple S1 chip. It’s a little hard to compare the two at this point because of the fact that Apple doesn’t generally offer much information about its processors. As far as storage goes, the Samsung Gear S2 has 4GB, while the Apple Watch packs 8GB. Both devices offer 512MB of RAM.

Fitness tracking

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2

This one is a no brainer. The Microsoft Band was built as a fitness tracking device, offering GPS connectivity, a heart rate monitor, calorie tracker and sleep tracker. These features are complemented by things like an accelerometer to measure altitude and a gyrometer. Not only that, it can also track VO2 Max, which is basically how much oxygen passes through the body in the span of one minute.

Microsoft also offers a pretty great dashboard, called Health, for health tracking metrics, which will help users watch and monitor of all the data the Band is collecting and storing.

That doesn’t mean the the Samsung Gear S2 and the Apple Watch don’t have fitness tracking features, though. The Gear S2 also offers an accelerometer, gyroscope and heart rate monitor. Not only that, the Samsung S Health applications is a big part of how the Gear S2 performs fitness tracking tasks. It works in much the same way as Microsoft Health to keep tabs on users’ activity and fitness goals.

The Apple Watch is similar to the Samsung Gear S2 as to what it offers when it comes to fitness tracking, including a heart rate monitor. Both the Gear S2 and the Apple Watch are good options for anyone who want a watch with some fitness tracking as part of the overall package. However, the Microsoft Band is the device for people looking specifically for a wearable that’s first and foremost a fitness tracker.

Battery life

The battery size of the Microsoft Band isn’t official, however Microsoft claims the Band lasts 48 hours, putting it square in the middle of the pack compared to other two devices’ batteries.

The Samsung Gear S2 has a battery size of 250 mAh, with the company claiming that the device will last two to three days.

The Apple Watch has a battery size of 205 mAh, however the device seems to be more battery-intense and only really lasts almost a full day (18 hours by Apple’s measurement) on a single charge.

Compatibility

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2

All of this comparison doesn’t really matter if you don’t have a smartphone that one of these a devices works with. The Apple Watch only works with the iPhone, and isn’t really meant to be a standalone device. The Android Wear-running Gear S2, by comparison, is compatible with most Android smartphones, and is available as a 3G option, which would make it a full standalone device.

Last but not least, is the Microsoft Band, which is compatible with Android phones, iOS phones, and, of course, Windows phones. As a device that works with any phone, regardless of OS, the Band has the other two beat in terms compatibility.

Price

Of course, price also plays into the decision, with the Apple Watch starting at $349 (£299, AU$499). The Microsoft Band starts at $249 (£199, about AU$347), and the Samsung Gear S2 starts at $299 (about £195, AU$410).

Conclusions

For someone looking for a dedicated fitness tracker, the Microsoft Band is the best device among the three. For someone who is looking for a good all-around device, the Apple Watch or the Samsung Gear S2 are better options. Both the Apple Watch and the Samsung Gear S2 are great smartwatches, however the Gear S2 looks a lot more like a watch than the Apple Watch.

Apple’s ad-blocking move causes big problems for retailers like Walmart

Did you download an ad-blocking app? Good luck buying stuff online.

When Apple  AAPL 1.81%  last week released a new operating system that permits ad-blocking extensions, all sorts of media publishers protested. But a much larger outcry may soon some from retailers and those who use their iPhones to make online purchases.

A Fortune investigation shows that an iPhone enabled with Crystal — the top paid iOS app right now – is unable to fully render the e-commerce sites of many major retailers, including Walmart, Sears and Lululemon.

The issue was first brought to our attention by Chris Mason, CEO of Branding Brand, a Pittsburgh-based company whose platform powers mobile commerce sites and apps.

“This upcoming holiday season… content-blockers are going to cause a lot of problems,” Mason says. “First, the experience for customers will be lessened. Lots of sites will be missing content, have broken links or customers won’t be able to add certain items to their shopping carts. They’ll probably just think the site is broken, but it’s really their content blocker. Second, retailers will be data-blind, or at least data-dark. It will really impact their ability to make quick judgments.”

Mason sent us a list of retailers with Crystal-related glitches, and we replicated them on our own iPhones. For example, check out this page for a pair of hunting boots on the Bass Pro Shops mobile website (as rendered on an iPhone 6 using iOS 9):

bass-crystaloff-520px

Now when the same page is loaded on the same device — but this time with Crystal enabled — the image of the boot disappears:

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But that’s only the tip of a giant iceberg that the USS Retail is hurtling toward.

For example, here is what happens when we went to Sears.com on mobile Safari without Crystal:

sears-crystaloff-520px

Now here is what happens when we went to Sears.com  SHLD 0.45%  with Crystal:

sears-crystalon-520px

Notice anything missing? How about everything!

Walgreens.com  WBA 0.28%  had a similar problem to Sears, when using Crystal. The homepage worked, but the Safari browser went blank after clicking the “Shop Products” link.

And, as Mason said, this issue goes far beyond just image rendering. For example, everything (mostly) loaded just fine on the mobile sites for Lululemon  LULU -0.71%  and Walmart  WMT -0.04%  with Crystal enabled. But it was impossible to add any products to the shopping cart. So if you just went to browse the pretty pictures, then there’s no problem. If you want to actually buy something, however…

Even for mobile websites that are working properly from a customer perspective, such ad-blocking technology also can strip out back-end code like Google Analytics or Adobe’s Omniture, which provide retailers with real-time insights into customer behavior. And then there is the whole matter of how retailers generate around 60% of their mobile web traffic inorganically, via online ads that Crystal and other ad-blockers are designed to eliminate.

“Retailers can work around it on the consumer side by doing a lot of recoding, but a lot of them freeze their codes on November 1, ahead of the holiday shopping season,” Branding Brand’s Mason says. “So that gives them just over a month or so to get it done. On the back-end they could use different sources of information for sales — kind of like checking the cash register instead of receipts — but it is a different process and also depends, in part, on if the sites are hosted on servers in-house or not.”

For retailers, this all presents a real and present danger. Even if only a small number of people so far have downloaded ad-blockers, there are two trends worth remembering: (1) The percentage of e-commerce being done on mobile is increasing; and (2) A disproportionate percentage of mobile purchases are made via iPhones rather than Android devices (which have allowed for ad-blocking apps for quite some time).

As for Crystal specifically, creator Dean Murphy said last night that he can remove select e-commerce sites from his app’s “blacklist,” and that he’d look into some of the examples we provided (four or five retailers already had contacted Murphy on their own, as of last night). In fact, several hours after we spoke, the Sears.com homepage was rendering properly with Crystal enabled, although we were unable to click through to many items. We also told Murphy about the Walmart shopping cart issue, and are now experiencing a similar problem as with Sears (i.e., product pages not loading at all). In short, these fixes seem to be tricky and ad hoc.

As for the back-end analytics, Murphy said that he was considering whether or not to create some sort of “tracking opt-out” functionality for users, but that he hadn’t yet made a final decision. He declined to say how many downloads Crystal has had, except that it topped 100,000 during a 12 hour promotional run in the App Store.

The trouble for retailers, of course, is that Crystal is just one ad-blocker. Another, Purify Blocker, currently sits at #5 in the App Store, and all of this is just one week after Apple unveiled its new operating system. Even if retailers reach out directly to one, they may be playing whack-a-mole. Moreover, they are entirely at the mercy of the ap

When media folks complained about ad blockers, we were called dinosaurs that had to change our business models. Does this mean, therefore, that retailers must abandon the mobile web? Or at least expect artificially deflated sales figures this holiday season? Perhaps. Or perhaps Apple will realize what it has wrought, and change its mind.

Lawsuit paid in full: Samsung pays Apple $1Billion sending 30 trucks full of 5 cent coins

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This morning more than 30 trucks filled with 5-cent coins arrived at Apple’s headquarters in California. Initially, the security company that protects the facility said the trucks were in the wrong place, but minutes later, Tim Cook (Apple CEO) received a call from Samsung CEO explaining that they will pay $1 billion dollars for the fine recently ruled against the South Korean company in this way.

The funny part is that the signed document does not specify a single payment method, so Samsung is entitled to send the creators of the iPhone their billion dollars in the way they deem best.

This dirty but genius geek troll play is a new headache to Apple executives as they will need to put in long hours counting all that money, to check if it is all there and to try to deposit it crossing fingers to hope a bank will accept all the coins.

Lee Kun-hee, Chairman of Samsung Electronics, told the media that his company is not going to be intimidated by a group of “geeks with style” and that if they want to play dirty, they also know how to do it.

You can use your coins to buy refreshments at the little machine for life or melt the coins to make computers, that’s not my problem, I already paid them and fulfilled the law.

A total of 20 billion coins, delivery hope to finish this week.

With iPhone 5, Apple Again Raises the Smartphone Bar

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook took the stage Wednesday to unveil an eagerly awaited revamping of the company’s flagship products, including the iPhone, iPod, iTunes—all the way down to its ubiquitous white earphones.

The centerpiece of the event, held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts in San Francisco, was the introduction of the iPhone 5, a sleek new handset that sports a larger screen but a thinner profile and is 20 percent lighter than the previous iPhone 4S. The phone runs Apple’s new iOS 6 mobile operating system and clearly raises the bar in a high-stakes, industrywide competition between Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Samsung (SSNLF), and other tech giants to dominate the most real estate in the expanding world of mobile computing. “It really does feel like a piece of jewelry,” says Tim Bajaran, an analyst at Creative Strategies, of the new phone.

Although it sports a new design to accommodate a wider and longer screen, the iPhone 5 is not a radical departure from Apple’s (AAPL) successful formula. The device still transports its users into Apple’s world of digital media and 700,000 mobile apps. Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing chief, says the phone’s screen was expanded to make it more comfortable to hold in your hand and operate with your thumb. The device is encased in glass and aluminum and, like previous models, comes in two colors, black and white, with a silver back.

Powering the latest iPhone is Apple’s homemade A6 processor, which the company said provides faster computing and graphics performance. The new phone incorporates higher-speed 4G networks, called LTE, of Sprint (S), AT&T (T), and Verizon in the U.S. The phone runs Siri, Apple’s famously temperamental voice recognition assistant, which now has expanded duties, including an ability to pull up information about sports and movies and allow the user to make dinner reservations via OpenTable.

“Apple has never been stronger,” said Tim Cook at the end of the nearly two-hour event, in which a succession of senior Apple executives took the stage, one after another, to preview the updates to their product lines. The differences between Apple products and the competition, he said, “is how well all our products work together.”

Although it initiated the wave of modern multifaceted smartphones, Apple has inevitably lost some ground in the mobile computing wars. Its iPad dominates the market for tablets, but Apple trails Google’s Android OS in overall market share. This year, says eMarketer, a data research firm, 43 percent of U.S. smartphone users will employ an Android device each month; 33 percent will use an Apple device.

Apple’s uniquely focused approach was on display at the event. Where other manufacturers enumerate the sheer number of features their phones have, Apple exercised restraint, directing attention to a few key features and emphasizing the unique tricks that distinguish the iPhone, such as a new photo feature that allows iPhone users to take a panoramic picture easily with their handset.

Apple also highlighted its legendary design prowess. The demonstration included a video interview with Apple’s chief designer, Jonathan Ive, who discussed some of the practices Apple has either used or invented to create the latest iPhone. Surfaces are finely honed, polished, and assembled with tolerances measured in microns. In this way, Apple looks to rise above the scrum of competing smartphones, positioning itself in a category that has more in common with expensive luxury goods than flimsy-feeling gadgets. “If you hold something like a Samsung Galaxy S III, you can see it right away,” said Bajarin. “They use cheap materials, and they copy.”

Among other announcements, Apple said the new iPhone 5 would integrate Facebook (FB) into its operating system. Users will be able to deliver status updates to their Facebook page using their voice, via Siri, and songs and videos in the iTunes store on the phone will have Facebook’s “like” buttons. Thus users can easily express their media tastes to their friends. Facebook stock was up nearly 7 percent, rising $1.50 to close at $20.93, on Apple’s announcement.

In addition to the iPhone, Apple announced updates to its somewhat musty line of iPod music players, whose introduction in 2001 truly started the company’s renaissance. Most significant were the changes to the iPod Touch, which now features the same 4-inch display found on the iPhone, as well as an anodized-aluminum case that measures 6.1mm thick and weighs just over three ounces. The iPod Touch has quickly established itself as a popular video, music, and gaming device and is free of the complications associated with mobile-phone contracts and providers.

With upgrades to its camera, the iPod Touch also becomes more of a competitor to traditional point-and-shoot cameras, a product category already knocked about by the rise of smartphone photography. The new iPod Touch has a 5-megapixel camera mounted on the rear, an integrated flash, autofocus capabilities, and the same Panorama feature found on the iPhone. Apple is also shipping iPod Touches with a wrist strap that attaches to the device, driving the point home even further that this is a device to be kept by your side for spontaneous events—exactly what point-and-shoot cameras have used as their selling point for years. Apple also updated the iPod Nano, adding Bluetooth, expanding the screen size, and, in a glancing nod to its past, introducing a variety of colors.

Apple even updated its iconic white earphones. The globular and gratuitously named EarPods are more comfortable and don’t create an awkward seal in the ear, the company said. Apple says it spent three years working out the new dimensions. The EarPods also have a unibody design, which will avoid removable inserts that separate from the rest of the earphone assembly.

Apple said that customers can order the iPhone 5 on Sept. 14 and will ship it on Sept. 21. Prices for the new phone, with a contract, start at $199 and remain the same as existing iPhones. The iPhone 4S goes on sale for $99, and the iPhone 4 is now free with a two-year contract.

At the conclusion of the announcement, the Foo Fighters took the stage and performed several of their hits, including My Hero and Walk, songs whose wistful lyrics seemed easily interpretable as an implicit nod to the passing of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs nearly a year ago.

MacDefender: No, Macs are not suddenly susceptible to viruses

MacDefender: No, Macs are not suddenly susceptible to viruses

The tech community is in a frenzy over malicious software called MacDefender that targets Mac users. While this is a new phenomenon, it has nothing to do with the security of Mac OS X. Macs are still not susceptible to viruses.

Ever since Mac OS X was introduced over ten years ago, Mac owners have watched from afar as Windows users have suffered through viruses and spyware. There are always bugs and holes in any kind of software, but Mac OS X has remained free of self-installing viruses for a decade. In light of the recent MacDefender outbreak, many people are declaring the end of Apple’s virus-free reign. The problem with these claims is that Mac OS X’s security has not actually been breached. In fact, users themselves are giving explicit permission for this software to install.

For those who are unaware of the MacDefender issue, many people with Macs have been coming across malicious webpages that trigger a download of unwanted, fake antivirus software. Many times, these webpages fraudulently claim that a security scan has found malware on the user’s Mac. The solution, they say, is to install their software, pay for it with a credit card, and run it to clean out the system. Obviously, this is all a big scam to get money and credit card numbers. The MacDefender program does absolutely nothing but pester people for payment and open adult sites if they don’t comply. While this sounds bad, there’s not much Mac OS X could have done to prevent it from happening.

MacDefender trojan for Mac OS X

Unlike Windows malware and viruses that install themselves with no interaction from the user, this new Mac trojan requires the user to do most of the work. Here’s what must happen for MacDefender to be installed on a Mac:

  1. The user must go to an infected website. Many people have come across these through Google Image searches, so it could happen to anyone.
  2. The infected page runs a script that downloads the MacDefender installer file. Most of the time, this is the end of the line. Nothing has been installed and the Mac has not been infected. Just drag the file to the Trash – no harm, no foul. However, if Safari is set to “Open ‘safe’ files after downloading,” the process moves to stage 3.
  3. When Safari is configured to automatically open downloaded files, the MacDefender file will launch the application installer. Even still at this point, nothing harmful has occurred. If the user wisely realizes this is not a trusted or desired installation, they can quit the installer. Again, the file can then be trashed and the whole thing can be forgotten. On the other hand, if the user chooses to click the buttons to select a destination disk and continue the installation, they move to stage 4.
  4. Mac OS X, as a built-in layer of security, will then ask for an Administrator password. The user must willingly enter this password to complete the installation, otherwise it will fail and MacDefender won’t infect the system. Some new variants of the MacDefender malware don’t require a password if an Administrator account is being used, though. But Apple has always recommended people create Standard user accounts for day-to-day use, which would still require a password. Regardless of the type of account, the user must still manually click through the installer to get to this point.
  5. Assuming the user has completed all of the previous stages and is using an Administrator account and/or has entered their password, the MacDefender trojan will finally be installed. At this point, adult sites and security scare tactics will try to persuade the user to provide their credit card information.

As you can see, the process a user must go through to infect their Mac with MacDefender requires a number of poor decisions. Specifically, decisions where the user explicitly circumvents Mac OS X’s built-in security measures and their own best judgement. This method is called social engineering – manipulating a person (by scaring them into thinking they are infected with a virus) into doing something they don’t want to do (installing malicious software that poses as something else). Social engineered malware differs from the majority of traditional Windows malware, which can install itself without the user doing a thing. MacDefender doesn’t take advantage of a weakness in Mac OS X, but rather a weakness in the user. That’s why Macs continue to be virus-free and third-party security software still isn’t needed for most folks.

Of course, that isn’t to say Apple can’t make some improvements. For one, the “Open ‘safe’ files after downloading” setting in Safari should not exist. It’s highly recommended that every Safari user go to the program’s Preferences menu and uncheck this option right now. Second, Apple should modify Mac OS X setup process to create a Standard user account by default. This is more secure because a password is required for all software installations under a Standard account. Administrator accounts should remain hidden so unknowing users don’t log into them for everyday use. Nonetheless, these are relatively minor gripes. The major issue here is training users so they are better prepared not to fall for social engineering scams.

To sum everything up, this is a human attack, not a computer attack. How can a Mac – or any piece of technology, for that matter – protect users from themselves? Aside from turning Mac OS X into a curated platform like iOS where every piece of software must be approved by Apple through the App Store, there is no way to do this. Users must stay aware of what’s going on and use their best judgement. If you don’t have antivirus software installed and you get a warning that a scan has revealed security issues, don’t believe them. If an installation starts and you don’t know what program it is or why it’s there, quit it. Most importantly, if something is asking for your Mac’s Administrator password and you don’t know why, don’t give it.

11 common myths that keep people from switching to Macs

Although Apple’s Mac computers are selling in record numbers, there is still a ton of misinformation being spread about them. You have to believe Mac sales would skyrocket even more if the average person figured out those myths aren’t so true after all.

As Mac users, it’s frustrating to listen to mistruths and unfair prejudices about our computers of choice. Unfortunately, attempting to set the record straight only gives people more reason to call us crazy. At some point we’ve all fought the myths and been accused of being blind cultish followers of Steve Jobs, right? No matter how much we try to debunk outdated anti-Mac talking points, some just never go away.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “Oh, Macs are nice but I could never get one.” Naturally, when I’ve asked why that is, the same set of excuses come up. The realization I’ve come to over time is that the general public is simply uneducated about the benefits and limitations of Apple’s computers. They develop assumptions based on what they’ve heard in casual conversation from friends & family, mainstream publications, and the super-geek down the street who builds his own gaming rigs. Gathering information from a variety of sources is good, but figuring out who is uninformed or biased is just as important.

Before we get into debunking the common myths surrounding Macs, let me just clarify this article is targeted to the Average Joe who buys a Windows computer for home, school, and casual business use from Dell, HP, or Acer every 3-7 years. Technology enthusiasts and folks who like to tinker with their machines – especially Linux users – are never going to find the plug-and-play nature of Macs appealing. For just about everyone else, though, Macs are a viable and attractive option for their next computer.

Myth #1: Macs aren’t compatible with Microsoft Office

People who work from home or have kids in school need Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It’s a sad truth, but still a truth nonetheless. Another truth is that Macs can indeed run these programs. Microsoft makes a Mac version of Office that is fully compatible with its Windows counterpart. It doesn’t matter what kind of computer they’re created on, Office files will open on both Macs and Windows-based PCs.

Myth #2: There isn’t a lot of software for Macs

When I first switched to a Mac I was amazed at how much software was available for it. First, all Macs come pre-loaded with way more quality applications than any Windows computer. Programs like Mail, Address Book, iCal, Safari, iChat, iTunes, QuickTime, Preview, TextEdit, Time Machine, the entire iLife suite, and many more are usable right out of the box. The amount of software available from third party developers isn’t lacking either. A good portion of it is actually free, and most of the paid ones are reasonably priced. Bottom line: If a consumer application exists for Windows, there is either a Mac version or a comparable Mac alternative.

Myth #3: Macs won’t play nice with my network & other Windows PCs

Not only are Macs compatible with nearly any type of network out there, it’s extremely easy to connect them too. The internet will work just fine, as will file sharing between the Mac and Windows computers. That’s right, the Mac can see shared files on a Windows machine and a Windows machine can see shared files on a Mac. What else is there to say?

Myth #4: Macs are more expensive because you’re just paying for the brand name

The high starting price of Apple’s computers scares the pants off the average consumer who sees an eMachine at Walmart for $399. Heck, even the $699 Compaq at Best Buy seems like nothing compared to the $999 entry level MacBook or $1199 MacBook Pro. The problem with merely comparing sticker prices, though, is that the true value of each machine is not considered. In other words, you get what you pay for. Macs are built out of more durable materials, they’re more energy efficient, they tend to have higher quality components, and the software is far and away better than what Windows offers. Mac OS X is the reason to buy a Mac. The hardware is great too, but it’s the software that offers the real value. Lower long-term maintenance costs don’t hurt either. For more information about Mac pricing and why the “Apple tax” doesn’t exist, check out “Are Macs really worth it? Selling points for choosing Mac vs. PC

Myth #5: Macs are only more secure because they don’t have any market share

Zero viruses (that is, self-replicating and spreading viruses) have affected Mac OS X in the wild since its introduction a decade ago. This is hard for naysayers to grasp, but it is a fact – not a single virus. Windows, on the other hand, has been hit with hundreds of thousands of viruses. Many believe this is because Mac OS X doesn’t run on 90% of the world’s computers like Windows. If that is the case, how do viruses exist for versions of Linux which have even smaller market share than Macs? How were viruses introduced specifically for Windows 7 when it was still in limited beta testing? Nobody can claim Macs are 100% immune to all security threats, but “security via obscurity” is – for lack of a better term – hogwash. The Mac operating system was built on a more stable and reliable core, which gave it more security from the start. In the end, less popular platforms have been compromised in the past while Mac OS X is still virus-free.

Myth #6: Macs are just for graphics and animation professionals

It’s true that graphic designers and other creative people prefer to use Macs, but it’s not because Macs have some magical ability that makes it possible to do that kind of work. After all, Adobe’s Creative Suite is available for Windows too. The reason designers like Macs so much is because they “make sense.” They’re quality machines and Mac OS X is organized in a way that makes it easy and even pleasurable to use. In that kind of environment, users can fully immerse themselves in the work to be done rather than worry about the computer itself. When you think about it, that’s something everybody should want.

Myth #7: Macs don’t right-click because they only have one mouse button

Back in the day, the one-button mouse was indeed a limitation of Macs. Today, however, this is no longer true. Both the Mighty Mouse and the brand new Magic Mouse have touch-sensitive shells that can be configured to click on the left and right sides, among other things. The same thing can be done for Apple’s MacBook trackpads. This approach actually gives users a level of customization that traditional two-button mice cannot offer.

Myth #8: Macs aren’t expandable or upgradable

When you buy a laptop from Dell or HP, just about the only things you can upgrade are the RAM and hard drive. The same components can be upgraded on Apple’s line of MacBooks and iMacs as well. And, no, you do not have to buy special Apple memory or drives – standard brands will work. In most cases, this is as far as the average user would go anyway. People talk a lot about upgradability, but when 3-5 years pass it’s usually a better idea to go for a whole new computer rather than pump a lot of money into an older one. The great thing about Macs is they have excellent resell value to help pay for the new one.

Myth #9: Macs can’t run Windows applications

As long as you have a legal copy of Windows (which can be taken from the PC that your Mac replaced), you can run any Windows program on your Mac. You can use Mac OS X’s free Boot Camp to natively run Windows or use a virtualization program like Parallels ($79), Fusion ($79), or Virtualbox (free) to run Windows within OS X. Consider this: Apple’s computers can run both Mac and Windows software flawlessly, while other PCs are limited to only run Windows software.

Myth #10: A lot of websites don’t work on a Mac

A few years ago, it was common to come across websites that only worked in Internet Explorer. Of course, this was before Firefox, Safari, and other browsers took away significant market share from Microsoft’s offering. As a result, this isn’t much of an issue anymore – either Safari or Firefox will get the job done. If not, Internet Explorer is still available when you run Windows on your Mac.

Myth #11: Macs are different and will be hard to learn

The beauty of Mac OS X is that it’s so much easier to learn and understand than Windows. The main reason is because it’s more intuitive. For people who have never used a computer before, it works just the way they would expect it to. For Windows switchers, it’s going to seem weird at first. It will require unlearning old Windows habits. Constantly saying “That’s not how I’m used to doing this…” is going to sour the exciting Mac experience. The best advice to give anybody who is thinking about switching to a Mac is simply “have an open mind.” In the end, it will all work out.

What are some of the other Mac myths you’ve heard over the years? How do you tell people the truth about Macs to clear up the confusion?  Leave a comment.