PC World Looks At Bluetooth On Macs And PCs

When Apple introduced the first iMac a few years back, people werenit sure what to make of the little blue gumball of a computer; it didnit have a separate screen, it had no 3.5" floppy drive (You remember 3.5" floppy drives, right?), and it didnit have the vast variety of ports that covered the rears of PCs in those days. Apple opted to use an existing technology standard for connecting computer peripherals, and the new iMac sported USB ports that are now so commonplace that youid be hard pressed to find any modern computer without them.

While it took a while for PC makers to climb on the USB bandwagon, it took them longer to get USB to work properly. On the Mac, the worse you had to do when connecting a new USB device was to install a driver, and that was typically painless. On a PC, even with drivers installed, it was a coin toss whether the computer would properly recognize the USB device without a reboot, hence the term, iPlug-n-Prayi.

Fortunately for PC users, Windows has largely caught up with Apple in the USB arena, but time never stands still, and new technologies have emerged. One such technology is Bluetooth, the wireless standard that promises to sever all of the peripheral wiring to your computer.

How do the Mac and PC compare when dealing with Bluetooth? The Mac Skeptic, Rebecca Freed, over at PC World asked that very question, and pitted a Logitech DiNovo Media Desktop setup and a Compaq Presario against Appleis new Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and an iBook. Ms. Freed posted the results of her comparison in a PC World article, Is Bluetooth Better on the Mac?. Hereis an excerpt:

Although I tend to be a late adopter of technology, I began to think that Bluetooth might be worth the hassle when I saw my first demonstration of it--on a Mac. And late last year Apple added an elegant wireless mouse and keyboard to the growing number of Bluetooth-capable devices cropping up in the landscape.

So you could say that when I decided to try Bluetooth myself, I harbored a pro-Mac bias. But being the Mac Skeptic, I intended to root out that predisposition and replace it with, er, informed opinion. My hunch starting out was that using Bluetooth on a Mac would be much easier than on a Windows PC since Bluetooth support is built into Mac OS X, whereas on Windows you buy your Bluetooth software along with Bluetooth hardware.

I reasoned that, on the Mac, you could expect to have a Mac-like experience with Bluetooth, whereas with a PC youid have whatever experience the hardware maker felt like giving you. When Appleis people demonstrated their wireless Bluetooth keyboard and mouse for me on a PowerBook, it did look really simple. So I put my bias to the test by setting up Bluetooth peripherals on my iBook and my Compaq Presario with Windows XP Home.

The article goes to discuss in detail the experiences Ms. Freed had with connecting the Bluetooth devices, including a Sony Ericsson T610 Blue Tooth enabled phone. She concludes:

When it comes down to it, there are still too many seams showing in Bluetooth on Windows. Sure, if youire a savvy user you can make it work. But unless youire really phobic about a few cables, why spend the time? And in this case, the Mac mystique has some substance behind it. Setting up my whole Bluetooth network on the Mac was quick and painless from start to finish--and truly wireless, unlike the Logitech DiNovo set.

Thereis more in the complete article at PC Worldis Web site, and we recommend it as a good read.