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I've tried very hard to understand what benefits a MacBook has over Windows/Linux.

I've boiled it down to- it can compile iOS apps, and you can use Unix commands. The first is Apple intentionally being anti competitive, the later is a genuine benefit that I nearly am unaffected by being a Windows/Linux user.

However the strangest thing came up in my research, the number of SWE that said they liked the way it looks. It's shinny.

I genuinely don't know what to think about Apple users decision making.

This seems to be a genuine question so I will answer it. I run Windows, Linux, and Mac. The reasons I prefer my Mac:

1. The most important reason is that the Mac UI is generally consistent and powerful: both the appearance but also keyboard shortcuts, modifier key behavior, etc. Neither Linux nor Windows has both of these. Linux has never had a consistent UI and Windows is just a mess (e.g. two control panels in Win10).

2. Compared to Windows, vastly less of the advertising and key-logging nonsense. No Candy Crush ads for example.

3. Compared to Linux, better software availability and quality. There's the obvious big players (Photoshop, Office, etc), but Apple's own apps are quite good. I'll take Keynote over Google Slides any day. In general Linux software is also available on the Mac (VLC, Gimp, etc) but the reverse is not true.

4. iOS integration is sweet: Reminders, Notes, Messages, etc. It's awesome when a 2FA text message arrives on my phone, get forwarded to Messages on my Mac, and then Safari offers it in the text field. (Can I do this anywhere else? Honest question.)

5. For me, Linux and Windows upgrades have been more problematic than my Macs. For example, Ubuntu 16 upgrade left a broken glibc and I had to reinstall.

I believe that Apple's software quality is trending the wrong way, and am very suspicious of Catalyst, so there's cause for worry. But I still very much prefer to use a Mac today.

Aesthetics aren’t valid? Much of the fields of architecture, art, design, and even engineering would disagree.

It also doesn’t seem that you have “tried very hard” to understand the benefits of a Mac. “you can use Unix commands”? That’s the big benefit you discovered?

Feel free to correct or add.

I'm genuinely trying to figure out where I'm wrong.

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