I recently commented on an article questioning whether Apple is focusing on style at the cost of engineering in its' more recent products. This got me thinking about what is the best platform for a small business or consumer, Apple or Windows PC? As is often the case the short answer is it depends because we are comparing apples and oranges. Both platforms have strengths, but for some people it just comes down to personal preference. 

Apple products have a reputation for better security, although as Apple has become more popular its' software has also become more of a target. Apple also has a reputation for better ease of use and reliability, but this at least in part is due to less choice of software and peripherals, with the exception of specific markets such as publishing. For a  given level  of performance PCs and Windows software is normally cheaper to buy, but if you have to spend more time or money on support the total cost of ownership may be more even. The PC is a more open platform in terms of the ease with which software developers and hardware suppliers can integrate their products. The iPhone and iPad are completely closed systems which are tightly controlled by Apple, and there are some who think Apple may follow suit with the iMac and iBook. But there are also signs Microsoft will do the same too, if they think they can get away with it. Sadly this reminds me of the supplier lock in scenarios which triggered the birth of the PC and Apple in the first place.

So assuming you have an open mind the choice comes down to what features are most important to you. The cost conscious, or those needing the widest choice of business software may find the Windows PC is better for them. But the style conscious, or those working in markets where Apple has a strong presence may be happier with an Apple. If everything else is equal perhaps go with what you know best and avoid having to learn a new environment.