Speaking as someone who dislikes both operating systems, I think I’m in a better position to be objective than most. I have used Windows for years, while using OS X off and on for the same. Admittedly, my exposure to OS X is much less than Windows, however, I actually have two Macs in our home offices. Having used both platforms less these days, my exposure to each as is about the same now. What’s comical is that what I have discovered about each platform really surprised me. Remember, I am not a Mac fan at all. And no, owning an iPhone doesn’t mean I love OS X.
Windows never really seems to evolve
Ever feel like Windows is just the same OS with a new wrapper? On the Linux platform, we expect this with the various distributions. Then again, I am not asked to pay through the nose for license fees, either. But the thing that really struck me is that with each Windows release, since XP, there really hasn’t been anything all that compelling about using Windows. Wait a second, what about the “cloud?” Well honestly, while I still believe the best commercial Microsoft ever aired was with the little girl who brilliantly edited a photo in less than a minute, it seems that we’ve skipped over that and are using cloud computing to solve all of life’s issues. Fair enough; kudos to Microsoft there. But short of this, does anyone really get excited at the prospect of the next Windows release anymore? Sure, Windows 7 is “okay” and offers some decent features if you climb up the payment ladder far enough to pay licensing costs. But at the end of the day, is anyone really squealing at the prospect of Windows 8? How about someone not getting the checks from Redmond? Boring…
Apple sells an experience
As previously mentioned, in addition to Windows 7 machines and Linux boxes, we own two Macs. While I find the UI painful to deal with most of the time, I will admit that the way it blends in experiences such as photo/movie editing, music/movie management, among other things at which Microsoft failed miserably, I cannot help but wonder how Apple figured out how to make things so seamless. Starting off on a BSD core was a good point to begin with, I think. Even as a Linux user, I am first to admit that BSD has maturity over Linux and Windows in many areas. It’s stable, well designed, and keeps the hot side hot with the cold side cold. In other words, the software and the OS core are kept neatly separated. I like that.
My gripes, however, come into play in that OS X is a desktop with limited options on how it looks. I’m sure I’m alone in this, however, I would enjoy using OS X more if I could just theme the hell out of it! Another factor I’ve never been a fan of is the Mac experience with regard to hardware. Yes, you’re buying into a solid package. But maybe I want more choices running this great OS. I realize that’s not how this works, but boy it would have me doing double takes if I had more choices from which to choose. OS X has a lot going for it, but I cannot stand the iMac form factor and I am not running up credit card debt just to buy a Mac Pro. Would it be worth it? Absolutely, money well spent. But it’s simply not something I’m willing to drop that much money on right now.
Macs vs. Windows machines
Macs win with a birth to death experience. Apple Care and the protection you can get from Apple here is untouched by anyone. Sorry, but this is true. If the form factor, software, and OS are already a fit, the rest of the “simply works” experience is promised with an Apple Care protection plan. Overall, good experiences have been had in my house there. That said, Windows means that I can choose the type of computer I want to have. While it’s not going to be as sexy, perhaps, I can at least enjoy the freedom to run with a machine that’s as quirky as I am. To me, that’s a freedom kind of deal.
Both platforms are very solid in 2011. Windows 7 is, despite being rather predictable, solid. And to that end, so is OS X. But if you’re someone who likes to tinker with config files over a hived out registry just waiting to be messed up with a single edit, I reluctantly think that OS X provides the better experience over all. Sorry, blame my love of BSD for my choice if you like.