A modest proposal: Detente between Mac and PC laptop fans

In the spirit of the holiday season, we have a proposal for peace between PC and Mac laptop users--or at least finding some middle ground both sides can agree with.

Joi Ito, via Flickr

There are a handful of topics guaranteed to get readers all ginned up and at each others' throats in the comments section of any Web site. While PS3 vs. Xbox or AT&T vs. Verizon are solid go-to choices, anything that gives Apple and Microsoft fans a chance to vent at each other is on another level entirely.

Not that we don't enjoy pouring a little lighter fluid on the fire occasionally, but in the spirit of the holiday season, we have a proposal for peace between PC and Mac laptop users--or at least finding some middle ground both sides can agree with.

With that in mind, we offer the following modest proposal for a détente in the war between Mac and PC fanboys.

>PC Makers will agree:
To adopt the large multitouch touchpad that has become so popular on MacBook laptops. Once you get the hang of using two fingers to scroll down a page or flipping four fingers up to hide all your active windows, there's really no going back.

Yes, we acknowledge that many Windows laptops now support some kind of multitouch gestures. But we have yet to find a single PC that implements them particularly well--the worst offenders being touchpads that require your fingers to be lined up on a mathematically precise plane to activate simple two-finger scrolling. Even worse, they shoehorn gestures into the same tiny touchpads we've been cramping our fingers on for years.

Additionally, when you close the lid on a MacBook, it goes into a low-power sleep state, and then wakes up in a few seconds when you open the lid. It works the same every time, like clockwork. No matter what kind of sleep, hibernate, or other lid-close function we set up on a Windows laptop, the result is always a roll of the dice--yes, even in Windows 7. We particularly like the one where the machine wakes up, but the screen doesn't, requiring us to open the close the lid repeatedly until it randomly starts working.

Therefore, PC makers will agree to work with Microsoft to come up with a sleep mode that actually works the same way every single time.

>Apple will agree:
To turn touchpad tapping and click-dragging on by default, and not make us dig around in the menus for this very basic functionality. Secondly, Apple will agree to finally acknowledge the concept of two mouse buttons once and for all. That means second buttons on all mice (although the two-finger touchpad tap really works quite well), and no more pretending to be a one-button OS while actually including right-click functions for just about everything.

Finally, Apple will agree to ditch (or augment) its mini-DVI ports with plain old HDMI. It carries HD video, plus audio, and it's built into pretty much every other AV device known to man. Heaven forbid we should want to watch HD iTunes videos on a TV by plugging our laptops directly in, instead of buying an Apple TV unit.

Remember, they finally caved in on SD card slots, so this isn't outside the realm of possibility. (We agree to table the Blu-ray issue for another day.)

>In summation:
PC makers--pump up those touchpads to XL, add multitouch gestures that actually work, and make sure we can open and close our lids without worry. Apple--embrace your inner right-mouse button, don't hide basic touchpad features like tapping, and add HDMI.

Following these simple steps will eliminate most of the thrust behind hostile Mac vs. PC arguments and usher in a new era of peace and mutual communication between tech fans of all stripes (and if you believe that, I've got some bank account information I need you to verify).

What's your peace proposal between Macs and PCs? Sound off in the comments section below!

> Need more? Follow me at twitter.com/danackerman.
> See our Holiday laptop picks in the CNET Holiday Tech Guide.

About the author

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal.

 

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