Apple Cant Rely on
Windows "Switchers."> Certainly, Leopard cant match up with Vista in bulkthe sheer mass of change when compared with its predecessor. Vista is a huge change for Windows, on almost every level. The comparable change for the Mac platform came with the arrival of Mac OS X 1.0 in 2001; everything since has been evolutionary.
This doesnt downplay the significance of the changes in the past string of cat-named upgrades. Mac OS X Tiger, v10.4, is much more refined and improved over the raw, initial release, but the change hasnt been a revamp of the core foundations and UI.At the same time, Microsoft plans to bring a range of content creation applications into the base technology offered by Windows. This is similar to Apples current approach with its iLife applications. Apple must wonder if the perspective of the "switcher" may change as Windows gains a new interface and more graphical power. Such a change wont happen this year and for this holiday buying season; but it could have an impact after Windows Vista is released and users see it in action. Interestingly, now that the hardware for each OS is directly comparable, the discussion around the merits of each platform by partisans seems to boil down to a few talking points of interfacewhich OS does this or that task better or worse. At this time, the OS X versus Vista interface dispute centers on graphical navigation as expressed in Expose and Flip 3D in OS X and Windows Vista respectively. There are side arguments over the value of translucent windows, menus and other elements in an interface. In Vistas Aero environment, users will have a number of ways to navigate to a particular document: moving the mouse over a Taskbar item will present a thumbnail view of the document, even presenting a moving image for a video; Windows Flip, the replaced Alt-Tab command, will present a parade of live thumbnails instead of the generic icon and name in Windows XP; and Windows Flip 3D, which will stack the open windows in the middle of the desktop and let users flip through them with the scroll-wheel. What machines in the Mac installed base will make the cut for Apples Mac OS X Leopard? Click here to read more. This feature will only be available to users of the top Aero version of Vista. By moving the cursor to a user-defined corner of the screen, Mac OS X users can invoke Expose, which presents all the open windows scattered around the screen or just the windows of a particular application. Users can identify the window they are looking for or one associated with the application, which can then reveal the window with another cursor move. After using both, I found Expose more practical and useful. It provides more targets for users to eyeball. But then again, Im very used to Expose. With Flip3D, finding the right window is a gamble. The scroll-wheel may uncover the window sooner, or later. But users will still need to go through some amount of round robin. What business features should arrive in Mac OS X 10.5? Heres a wish list for enterprise and small business users. Click here to read more. Will this be the level of discussion when comparing the two operating systems? Maybe so. And maybe thats what its really all aboutour day-in and day-out computing experience and personal feeling of productivity. For some, better here and there in the interface will be enough to sway a Leopard purchase. Others may need a more compelling pitch, like better security or a continued push towards software, services and hardware integration, i.e. "solutions." Or maybe the cool cachet that Apple enjoys right now with the public will be enough. Perhaps we will hear some of that at WWDC. David Morgenstern is Storage Center editor for eWeek.com and also has long experience with the Mac. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on Apple in the enterprise.
This doesnt downplay the significance of the changes in the past string of cat-named upgrades. Mac OS X Tiger, v10.4, is much more refined and improved over the raw, initial release, but the change hasnt been a revamp of the core foundations and UI.