Windows vs. MacOS
Which is the better OS in 2019?
The debate over which is the better operating system, Windows or Mac, could continue into the next millennium. In reality, the differences are shrinking, and switching between platforms is not as big a deal as it used to be. The most popular apps will work on either system, which used to be a sticking point in the past.
There are, however, still considerations in hardware, service and security. The industry you work in might also matter, and whether you are serious about gaming. Below is an overview and some key differences.
In 2018, Windows crushed the desktop and laptop operating system market, taking 87.71 percent of the pie, while MacOS garnered only 9.61 percent, Linux got 2.09 percent Chrome OS and others less than 1 percent. Microsoft has another reason to do the happy dance- Windows 10 was named the top operating system in the world at the end of 2018, according to Net Applications.
The view is much different on the tablet front, where (Mac) iOS and Android split the market nearly equally while Windows does not even show up as a blip on the screen. All major manufacturers have pulled the plug on Windows tablets. One theory is Windows, being late to the game, could not gain market share. But on examining the offerings of big names such as Dell, Asus, HP and Acer, one might come to another conclusion: Mini laptops, two-in ones and notebooks have crowded out tablets. This theory is supported by the continued decline of tablet sales overall.
From its inception, Apple has embraced the computing needs of creative fields. Apple’s founder Steve Jobs invested heavily in a new company, Adobe, back in 1982. When Adobe Illustrator (launched in 1985) and Photoshop (launched in 1989), they were adopted as the gold standard in computer graphics, operating exclusively on MacOS. This was followed by video editing programs such as the MacOS-only Adobe Premier and Apple’s Final Cut.
Even though Adobe programs are now available for Windows, generations have built creative systems around Apple computers. Apple would very much like to keep that image alive. It’s latest Mac Pro has the tagline “Built for creativity on an epic scale.” Many jobs in design and editing will still require MacOS proficiency.
Windows PCs are made by a variety of vendors, while Macs are only made by Apple. Even though Apple offers some great computer hardware options, there is a vast amount of PC choices in comparison. There are also far more Windows peripherals available.
It is also much easier to configure a custom Windows system, including upgraded CPU, graphic cards and storage. You only have a few preset choices with Mac.
While Apple has made great strides in its processor, the latest Intel i7 will outperform the top Intel Xeon E5, primarily in speed. The Xeon E5 does have a higher memory bandwidth, but that will only benefit memory dependent programs.
Setup. Both Windows and Mac offer straightforward set up processing. You do not have to sign on to a Microsoft or Apple account for either system, but you will be able to access more features such as device syncing, app roaming, messaging and voice assistants if you do.
Interface Customization. Now that Windows has caught up with Mac on a few things, including offering dark mode as of October, 2018, both operating systems are similar in customization options. Users can change desktop backgrounds, screen item sizes, and screen savers, and there are plug and play features for devices.
File Explorer vs. Finder. With the addition of Windows Quick Access to File Explorer, the operating systems are now neck and neck as far as good file organization, previewing and retrieval.
Third-Party Software Compatibility. While there are still vastly more business applications for Windows, there is more software oriented to Macs for creative fields. So, while we can’t say one is better than the other, it does depend on your field of work.
Search. Both OS search features will let you search by voice, as well as do math, display weather, stock prices, game scores, or locate the nearest caffeine stop. Windows combines voice and typed entries, while searches on MacOS are separate.
Where Windows Dominates
Alternate Input: Touch, Pen and Dictation
If you are a fan of touch screens, Windows 10 is by far the best option, with full touch screen support. Using tablet mode on Windows 10, you can switch between using the touch screen or using the keyboard. Even though the latest MacBook Pros finally saw (very) limited touch screen technology incorporated through the Touch Bar, Apple has no plans to incorporate full touch screens into desktop or laptop models.
Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, said: “We really feel that the ergonomics of using a Mac are that your hands are rested on a surface, and that lifting your arm up to poke a screen is a pretty fatiguing thing to do,” in an interview with Wired.
Pen input for Windows is excellent, with good handwriting-to-text conversion. Even without a touch screen, you can use Windows Ink to jot down reminders, doodle away, or note your next big idea.
Both operating systems have voice input to text. It’s all set to go in Windows- just select the Windows key, then “h” for hear. On MacOS, you must first enable it in the settings menu.
AI Helpers: Cortana vs. Siri
AI assistants are a young and rapidly developing industry, so by the time you read this section, it might already be outdated. That said, Cortana arrived on Windows 10 more than a year before Siri was launched on Mac, and Cortana still has more capabilities. For example, you can connect Cortana to Amazon Alexa devices. On Apple, you can only do this through iOS via iPhone and iPad, not MacOS. There are other useful functions on Cortana, such as being able to log out of or shut down the computer.
Taskbar vs. Dock
This might be a matter of what one is used to, but clicking on a running app in a MacOS does not open a window for that program like you will see when tapping a taskbar icon in Windows.
The MacOS Dock has added features over the years, such as mouse-over magnification and displaying icons of recently viewed apps, but it feels like catch-up to the more functional Windows taskbar.
Desktop and Window Management
MacOS certainly has keyboard shortcuts and other tools for desktop organization and windows management. There just seems to be many more Windows features for organizing screen views. Snapping is an easy way to arrange windows on the screen, sticking them to the right or left side or in any of the corners. Shake is a little-known PC feature that is really fun to use. Just grab the top of a tab you want to keep visible (hover cursor over it and hold down left mouse key) then literally shake it to minimize all the other windows. Shake again and the windows will come back.
3D and VR Support
Windows includes at least two apps that let you enter the world of 3D and VR and the most popular VR headsets only work with Windows. While Apple has made some headway into the market, including ability to edit 360-degree video content in Final Cut Pro X, Windows is still far ahead.
You would think that a platform built for creative types would excel at gaming. Initially, gaming was associated with the Apple brand. However, when businesses expressed concerns that employees would play games at work, Apple separated themselves from computer games, and PCs quickly filled the gap.
Today, there are far more games for Windows. Also, as mentioned in the hardware section, PCs can easily be souped up for gaming, while Mac’s internal component options are limited.
Where MacOS Shines
Integrated Device Sharing
Though desktops and laptops use the MacOS while iPad tablets, iPhones and Apple Watch uses iOS, they are becoming more cross compatible. MacOS makes sharing photos seamless, texts can be synced with from the notification panel, and file transfers are a breeze with AirDrop. Video calls across devices with FaceTime are far less clunky than third-party apps. And new this year, iOS apps are being integrated to run on MacOS.
Windows still comes in a close second, having vastly improved integration of their OS with mobile devices using both iOS and Android. This allows things like continuing an email or message from one device to another, sharing documents or sending a web page from your phone to your desktop browser.
Security, Service and Stability
It used to be that Macs were considered virtually virus proof. This was largely because of the limited number of third-party apps and drivers. But Macs are not immune to vulnerabilities. They can and do get infected. Windows PCs, on the other hand, have succumbed to far more malware, including ransomware, spyware, botnets and viruses. Both systems should be aided by good anti-virus and anti-malware software.
On the stability front, Macs come out ahead because they tightly control their own hardware ecosystem and provide a quality product.
There are tons of independent and corporate repair options for PCs, with varying degrees of proficiency. With Apple, you have one consistent, quality resource.
There are vastly more resources available for Windows, from hardware and software to customization and peripherals. But sometimes more is not better, at least in the case of fighting malware and system stability. If you are in a creative field, Macs are still a strong choice, while for other business applications Windows might be the way to go.