Take Two Tablets and Call Me in the Morning

Take a look at Mac OS X Lion for Macintosh computers and iOS, Apple's operating system for mobile devices, and you'll notice some similarities. But Windows 8 will be Microsoft's attempt to create a unified operating system for tablets and personal computers... Soon, customer choice will include not only desktops, laptops and netbooks -- tablets could become the next PC form factor.    

Perhaps the most obvious difference between a Mac and a PC is the number of configurations available for each brand. Currently, Apple offers just five computer lines: the MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro, the Mac mini, the iMac and the Mac Pro. Even if each configuration of these models is counted individually, as of this writing Apple only offers a total of 18 unique computers. This limited selection is not a sign of weakness, but a part of the company's "less is more" approach to marketing.

PCs, on the other hand, come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Consumer Reports reviews 11 distinct brands of Windows-based computers, including Acer, Asus, Compaq, Dell, eMachines, Gateway, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba, each offering numerous configurations of desktop and laptop models. Many consumers see this large selection as a benefit because they're more likely to find a computer that meets their exact needs.