Both PC and MAC offer a reliable and effective platform for running a small business. Both have advantages and disadvantages, however in my humble opinion the cost is not as different as you might think. Most entrepreneurs I have talked to about buying a mac have often said, “oh they are just too expensive”. In my experience, I have not seen the price gap to be more than a few hundred dollars.

Let’s start with a basic use case of an online storefront for handbags. Kerri has recently decided to start selling handbags and various day bags online. She hosts parties at her apartment every month to showcase the new merchandise. Kerri has purchased a domain name from GoDaddy for $10 per year and is currently spending $5 per month on Google Apps for business to host her [email protected] email domain.

Her computing needs are as follows:

  • Email and text messaging
  • Facebook
  • Meeting with clients, taking orders
  • Updating her WordPress site with new inventory
  • Invoicing and book keeping
  • Keeping track of inventory
  • Meeting with vendors and taking pictures
  • Attending networking events and conferences (storing contacts she meets)

I will address each of her needs with each of the devices I see fit.

iPad

This may or may be a great solution for Kerri, and I myself have been able to go a week on just my iPad, however sometimes you just need a full OS.

iPad models:

iPad mini: starting at $399 this screen is probably too small for Kerry to run her business from, however this model is great for mobile computing and is the perfect size to hold in your hands.

iPad starting at $429, with an almost 10-inch screen, this could be used to run the business, however an additional keyboard and case would probably need to be purchased for long durations of writing.

iPad Pro 12.9 inch ranging from $899 – $999, the pro screen is great for everyday use and long writing sessions. Keyboard and case combo can be purchased for this model. (I have used this and it worked great)

Now I will step through how she would accomplish each of these tasks on her iPad. The iPad can be a challenge for those converting from a PC as this is not a full OS, this is an iOS so direct access to the file system is not as easy as using a computer. Also resizing windows is not as intuitive either. The iPad does offer a split screen function, but that only allows for 2 simultaneous windows, some people prefer more than 2.

  • Email and text messaging: this is great on the iPad if Kerri has an iPhone as she can configure her appleID on both devices and receive: texts, phone calls and email on both devices. The mac mail for the iPad is very user friendly and very easy to configure for Google Apps. Since her calendar is actually hosted by Google Apps, her calendar will automatically be synchronized between both devices. Kerri also has the option of installing the Google apps directly to her iPad to manage mail and calendar.
  • Facebook: Kerri will install the FaceBook app on her phone and iPad of just her iPad. From the app she can easily update her personal and business page.
  • Meeting with clients, taking orders: this has always been one of my “make or break” points for devices. They must have the ability to stay alive and not crash during client meetings. The iPad has excellent batter life and Kerri can easily go all day long (12 hours) from meeting to meeting using email, pages, numbers and various apps installed. I also like the ability to fully charge in the evening and take only my device with me during the day knowing my device will have enough charge to last until I get back home.
  • Updating her WordPress site with new inventory: this one is slightly tricky without a full OS. Text can easily be added to her site via the Safari browser on the iPad, however if she wants to upload images she will need to first copy them to her Google Drive or Dropbox. There are other apps that can be purchased for $5 or less that allow the user to upload from the camera roll to the WordPress media folder. For Kerri this is very important as images and new content will be updating frequently. (Blogsy: http://www.imore.com/blogsy-ipad-review)
  • Invoicing and book keeping: Kerri has some options:
    • QuickBooks ($5 – $28 mo)
    • WaveApps (free browser based software: https://www.waveapps.com
    • Numbers (spreadsheet app comes with iPad)
  • Keeping track of inventory: Kerri can do this with QuickBooks plus at $28 per month or through the spreadsheet program included with the iPad iOS (numbers). Kerri could also create a Google sheet in her G-drive to track inventory.
  • Attending networking events and conferences (storing contacts she meets): again I like the integration apple does with its own products. There are several business card scanning apps offered for the iOS, this makes capturing contacts and conferences and networking events easy. The good card scanner apps are usually about $6 – $10 dollars. I like these apps because the write directly to my contacts and those contacts are synched between all my devices.

Surface

This gives a slight advantage as this is a full OS. Users will have access to the file system and have the ability to connect a keyboard and mouse. The iPad only allows for keyboard to connect.

Surface Pro ranges from $799 – $1499: this is probably the only model for Kerri as the surface book starts at $2200.00.

  • Email and text messaging: the surface pro will run any desktop application. Since Kerri has already purchased Google Apps, she can configure the mail app that is included with Windows 10 to sync with her Google account. This app also manages her calendar for her. If she has an android phone, she can simply configure the native apps for her Google Apps account and she will have her mail and calendar syncing across both devices.
  • Facebook: Kerri will use the edge web browser to connect to her Facebook account.
  • Meeting with clients, taking orders: the surface boasts a 9-hour video playback battery life, so I must assume with the device off and on throughout the day Kerri can go a full day on a single charge.
  • Updating her WordPress site with new inventory: since she wil have access to the file explorer and the file system, this will be just as easy as updating her site from any desktop computer. The only difference is the smaller screen.
  • Invoicing and book keeping: Kerri has some options:
    • QuickBooks ($5 – $28 mo)
    • WaveApps (free browser based software: https://www.waveapps.com
    • Install LibreOffice (free and comes with a database and spreadsheet app)
    • Purchase an office 365 subscription for $8.50 per month
  • Keeping track of inventory: Kerri can do this with QuickBooks plus at $28 per month or through the spreadsheet program included with the iPad iOS (numbers). Kerri could also create a Google sheet in her G-drive to track inventory. If she chooses to install a free tool known as LibreOffice, she can create a custom database to track inventory.
  • Attending networking events and conferences (storing contacts she meets): the device should have a strong enough battery to get Kerri through an all-day conference as well as take lots of pictures of the new bags.