With the new release of Microsoft’s Vista operating system, many are considering their upgrade path. Is it time for a new PC? Should I wait for Vista? What’s this Mac stuff all about? In this article I’m going to put forth a very simple argument, which essentially boils down to this:
For anyone wanting to perform basic computer tasks such as browsing the Internet, checking mail, writing papers, and working with photos and movies, you should strongly consider what Apple’s OS X has to offer before making a move toward Vista.
When someone talks about how much they enjoy their “computer”, they’re mostly talking about how well their operating system handles these core activities. It’s also important not just be able to perform these functions, but to be able to do them in a consistent, worry-free fashion. In this article I’m going to give a few reasons why I believe OS X accomplishes this better than Vista.
** By the way, I am an MCSE and happen to respect and enjoy a number of Microsoft’s products.
While the Vista interface has definitely seen some improvements over XP, they are mostly in the realm of visual enhancements. They didn’t seem to focus on making things more intuitive — but rather more on making the same basic workflow in XP look better.
Apple’s approach to designing a desktop is very different. They take user interface quite seriously, and the focus with OS X is to create an experience that people instantly feel comfortable with. Have you noticed how passionate people are about OS X? They often can’t resist telling others about how much they love their computers, and this is in large part due to the intangible connection you develop with the OS itself.
Quite simply, OS X gets out of your way and lets you work. The difference between this and Windows is very hard to describe to someone who’s not experienced it, but trust me — you’ll love it.
2. Fewer Security Issues
Debates have raged on for years over why OS X hasn’t been attacked as successfully as Windows. The arguments basically break down into two categories: design, and marketshare. Those in the design camp feel that OS X is designed better, which provides a smaller attack surface to hackers. The marketshare group thinks it’s just because there are fewer Macs, which makes it a less desireable target.
Since I’m an information security consultant who uses both OS X and various flavors of Windows on a daily basis, I’ve dedicated a bit of thought to the matter. The answer in a nutshell is that both views are correct.
I believe OS X to be more secure overall for a number of design-oriented reasons (not the least of which is being based on FreeBSD), but an ever larger percentage of its excellent record comes from not being much of a target compared to Windows.
The bottom line, however, is that it doesn’t matter what the reason is. As it stands now, if you use a Mac you’re simply not going to have to worry about being plagued by viruses and spyware like in Windows. This means you spend more time doing what you want to do and less time fixing your computer.
Stability is one of OS X’s absolute strengths. If you use Windows regularly, how often do you have to restart your computer? Quite often, I know. On a Mac you will hardly ever have to compared to on your Windows system, and this isn’t likely to change much with Vista (now with ~50 Million lines of code).
OS X is designed beautifully, with much of the system being protected from tampering by both malicious software and well-meaning but ill-informed users. Mac owners can go for months without needing to restart their systems. And this is with hundreds of applications being opened and closed, being put to sleep and awaken repeatedly, etc. Again, the credit here goes to the Unix core of OS X.
The time of the Mac and OS X is upon us. Vista took 5 years to make and ended up being little more than a collection of graphical enhancements to XP that require most to buy a whole new PC. In fact, many of Vista’s features were obvious copies of Apple’s ideas (watch the video). Even the current version of OS X is arguably more advanced than Vista, but the next version is going to be absolutely amazing. Here’s a short list of features coming soon in Leopard.
(I also think Apple is about to reveal a number of secret features now that Vista has been released)
Seriously. I made the change to OS X two years ago, and I’ve never been happier with a computer. Plus, if you go buy one as a result of this article, I’ll give you some free email help to get you on your way.: