I had to help a friend buy a macbook the other day. My well-informed advice was pretty simple: “You don’t need that or that or even that. Buy the cheapest one in the shop, and, by the way, have you thought of a mac mini instead?” but this got me poking around my own mac mini to see what she was getting into, and that, in turn reminded me of why I had advised her to buy one, and not a PC. It’s not just security or reliability. A properly maintained Windows system has those things, too.
I don’t find macs particularly intuitive, either. If you don’t want to do anything particularly obvious, they hide their unix-ish bits much too well. I needed to set up a small web server on mine, and so wanted to replace Apache with the much more lightweight and easy to configure Abyss Web Server. It took ages to work out how to switch bloody Apache off and then, since the firewall rule is helpfully linked into the services menu, how to open the firewall for a non-Apache web server. I suppose that the sort of user who wants to do that will be able to work out how to in the end, but documentation doesn’t actually harm things.
What Macs do have and Windows doesn’t is a real market in software Almost everything on Windows is either free or compulsory. Because Mac software is seldom free, people make their livings at it, and are able to build things that are impressive and individual. If I were ever to switch, it would be because of programs like Mellel, Yojimbo, Tinderbox, and Textwrangler: stuff made for people who actually work and aren’t given outlook for free.