Microsoft is about to release Windows 8 for public – which is a change that not only affects the Windows OS, but literally every Microsoft product, i.e. it’s a full blown change for the company. On the other hand, Apple has lately introduced OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, attempting to add more iPhone-like features to Mac.
So how do these both compare? Read on.
Note: Just to be clear, here I’m comparing Windows 8 Release Preview (which will be largely similar to the RTM version) and OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.1.
Ease of use
Like any other Apple product, Mac boasts a minimal and a simple interface, that’s something which has been there since years. Basics like app installation is very streamlined in Mac, simply dragging a .app file into the Application folder will install the app.
Windows 8 brings a mobile-focused interface to desktop – nope, it’s no more called Metro. There are two problems here – one, Windows Phone is not a popular OS and people hardly know anything about it. So it’ll be a real test for them to get adapt to something totally new.
Secondly. the mobile-inspired interface doesn’t go so well on a desktop – for example, there are so many invisible interface elements (on edges of screen), multi-tasking with apps seems to be more time consuming, etc. Heck, shutting down your system is a 4-step process.
Firstly, Mountain Lion has Notification center, a great addition to the OS. Next up, there’s Dictation built into literally every Mac app, just press the fn key twice and start speaking. There’s also built in sharing – integrating with Twitter and Facebook.
Though not specific to Mountain Lion, there are many unique OS X features like Mission control (for better multitasking), Writer tools (dictionary, grammer check, text substitution), customizing system-wide keyboard shortcuts, turning your Mac into a WiFi Hotspot (on Windows, you need Connectify), numerous trackpad gestures, setup hot corners, remapping keyboard keys and lot more. There is also Bootcamp which lets you install Windows on it, and this single feature can matter a lot if you’re someone who uses Multiple OSes.
On the other hand, Windows 8 does have some handy features like in-app search that lets you search content of any app from the charms bar. Then comes the Share feature allowing you to share to your social networks through Metro apps which are installed on your PC. In short, this works a bit like Android share intents. The downside? It only works in the Metro environment. So you got to use Google Chrome’s Metro version if you want to share.
Windows To Go is one of those unique features which lets you boot into your WIndows from a USB, though the feature is only available in Windows 8 Pro. Syncing Windows settings to your Microsoft account is also a nifty feature.
While many of you might think Mac isn’t for power users (in fact I was one of them), the fact is Mac balances very well between interface and features.
I ran Lion for over 10 days on my new MBP, it was pretty fast, but Mountain Lion just ruined it. Be it booting or opening apps or shutting down – all these take more time. Apple seriously needs to release a fix for this.
Speed is one of the major pros of Windows 8, it boots really fast and the OS is very responsive. As you’ve guessed, Metro apps are fluid and don’t lag at all. If you’ve got a Netbook, just blindly get this OS.
I won’t say much here, because it’s all about taste, which varies. But the reason I prefer Mac’s interface to that of Windows 8 is, here Apple isn’t shoving down your throat with a completely new thing which you’re not sure if you will adapt to. And if you want that ‘prettiness’, go to the Mac appstore and randomly checkout a few apps – most of them are very well designed.
Metro is beautiful, smooth and fast – that’s all the positive part of it. But there are many annoyances too, like – full screen apps, while I need a simple and small Twitter client, something like MetroTwit just won’t cut it for me. To close an app, you got to drag it from top and push it to bottom, I will prefer a simple exit button instead. Horizontal scrolling just feels weird.
There is a reason why most of the designers, photographers, musicians use Mac. It’s the wide range of exclusive apps available for the OS – like, you have Coda for web design, Aperture for photos, Garageband for music, Cloudapp for sharing, etc. Especially, there are so many apps which come under Productivity category.
This is a part where WIndows 8 gets a big blow, simply put, the apps aren’t ready.The Windows store hardly gets updated, it is the same apps getting featured since months. Another valid question is, will developers come forward to write Metro apps or do they stick to desktop apps? This is all messy and can annoy the customers.
Of course, I’m not including Games here. If you’re a Gamer, then you should get a PC, but don’t forget that you can run Windows on a Mac (in fact, I use Windows on Bootcamp for gaming).
Choice of Hardware
With OS X, you’re restricted to a set of laptops and desktops, but with Windows you have hundreds of them to choose from. Apparently, you can even build your own PC with the hardware of your choice, if you’re a bit geeky. Freedom matters, so Windows wins.
I’ve been using Windows for years and just recently switched to Mac – I love the OS and do prefer it to Windows. At the end of the day, it’s about choosing what works for you than anything.
Final Winner: Mac
Do you use a Mac? Or have you given Windows 8 a try? Hit up in the comments.