7. Give me a sign
Does anyone want to tell us when the next Mac OS X software updates will hit? What security vulnerabilities Apple is working on fixing? In April, Apple released a patch that plugged more than two dozen vulnerabilities -- with absolutely zero advance notice. Mac users were wide open to attacks, and they never knew it. Even Microsoft (usually) tells people when to expect patches, and often tells you how to protect yourself until the patches are ready.
8. No good for gaming
Browse the Apple Store's games selection -- go on, we'll wait. Oh, back so soon?
That's understandable, because sorting the store's games selection by the newest available produces titles that were introduced two or more years ago on Windows. Games have always been scarce on the Mac, and Apple still can't convince many developers to make their titles compatible with its computers. Apple does equip some of its systems with high-end graphics cards, but with slim pickings to play on them, they're a waste of money for most people.
True, Apple's Boot Camp will let you run Windows games on a Mac, but we still don't know many hardcore gamers who choose to go that route.
9. Limited selection
Apple offers just three desktop computer systems these days -- and one of them is the Mac Mini, with its aging processor, piddly 512MB of RAM, and tiny 60GB hard drive. Neither the Mac Mini nor the iMac accepts internal upgrades beyond more memory, so to get a system that will accept additional components later, you'll have to spring for a dual-processor Mac Pro, which starts at a steep US$2,200.
You can buy a starter Windows system for less than a fourth the cost of the Mac Pro; later on, if you decide you need a speed boost, you can buy a new motherboard and CPU and probably install them yourself. If you want a speed boost on the Mac, you have to buy a whole new Mac.
In the portable realm, MacBooks and MacBook Pros are nice machines. But again, you get only three choices. Opt for Windows, and you can choose anything from palm-sized micro-PCs like the OQO Model 2 to huge, honkin' laptops that are more powerful than any mobile Mac.
10. Doesn't play well with others
Give Apple credit for (finally) allowing Windows to run on the Mac. But the company still maintains a closed-door policy on many aspects of its technology. For example, iPods play only a couple of transportable audio file formats (AAC and MP3); they won't play files in Microsoft's WMA format, used by much of the rest of the world. Even the much-derided Microsoft Zune plays all three formats. And if you import WMA files into iTunes, you must wait while the application converts them to its favored AAC format.
Okay, we understand that DRM has been a necessity to get music companies to release music for sale on the iTunes Music Store. But our bigger gripe is that you can't play music purchased from the iTunes Music Store on anything but an iPod or the upcoming iPhone, because Apple won't license its FairPlay digital rights management technology to makers of other audio players. Even if those players recognize AAC files, they can't decrypt them, so they won't play. Even when Apple begins selling music without DRM, you'll pay extra for it; most tracks will still have the DRM restrictions.
Read the companion piece to this story, .