The Mac App Store
The Mac App Store
The biggest advantage Apple has over Microsoft in the companies operating system battle is the Mac App Store. Unlike Microsoft, Apple offers Mac OS X users the chance to download both simple and sophisticated applications right from the platform. Speculation abounds that Windows 8 will come with that feature. But Windows 7 lacks it, putting that OS at a disadvantage.
The Built-In Browser Is Better
Internet Explorer has been getting better over the years, but so far, Safari is still a better option for users. Not only does it have a sleeker design, but it loads Web pages more quickly than just about every version of Internet Explorer. In the end, neither of the options can stand up to Googles Chrome, but if one had to pick between Safari and Internet Explorer, they would choose Apples option every time.
One of the key additions to Mac OS X Lion is support for a full range of multitouch gestures. Apple is convinced that the future of the computing space will revolve around multitouch. Thus, the company is doing everything it can to get Mac OS X ready for that. Windows 7, however, falls short in that area.
Windows 7 is undeniably more secure than any previous version of Windows, and Microsoft should earn kudos for that. But when it comes to the average persons chances of facing security problems, Lion owners can feel safer. Of course, part of that is due to the fact that more malware is created for Windows 7. But that doesnt matter. If the security of each platform is taken into account, Lion must get the nod.
Resume Is a Great Addition
Apples decision to include a Resume feature with Mac OS X Lion was a good one. With Resume running, Lion users can pick up where they left off after restarting their computers or applications. A Versions feature helps users go back to different versions of a file to find the desired one. Those features easily trump anything Microsoft is offering in Windows 7.
Mission Control Is a Welcome Feature
Mission Control might not be the most useful application in Mac OS X Lion, but its certainly the best way in the desktop-OS space to determine whats running on a computer at any given time. With the help of Mission Control, users can see all the programs running, and quickly choose any of those windows. There are similar features in Windows 7 that allow users to scroll through open programs, but nothing is as efficient or useful as Mission Control.
Windows 7 is undoubtedly a more-refined version of Microsofts operating system than Vista or XP, but it still has a long way to go. In many ways, Windows 7 still features the same, basic design as previous versions of the platform and most would agree that that has to change. Mac OS X Lion, on the other hand, comes with a level of refinement that puts it a step ahead of Windows 7. In Mail, for example, users will see new animations that add a sense of flair and refinement to the platform. Multitouch gestures make using the operating system more intuitive. When it comes to polish, Mac OS X Lion wins out.
If users want to get their hands on Windows 7, theyll need to drop more than $100, if not more, depending on the version of the platform theyre looking for. Mac OS X Lion, on the other hand, is far more affordable at $29.99. Granted, Windows 7 was a much bigger improvement than Lion, but should that matter? With the economy the way it is, pricing matters more than ever. And Apple seems to understand that better than Microsoft.
Apple could have very well started a new trend in the way in which users are able to buy Mac OS X Lion. Rather than following Microsoft, which sells physical copies of Windows 7, Apple instead decided to make Mac OS X Lion available digitally through its Mac App Store. And although a USB stick with Lion will be on sale next week for those who dont have a broadband connection, Apples digital strategy adds a level of convenience that Windows 7 lacks.
Microsoft offers a wide array of Windows 7 versions, ranging from Starter to Home Premium and Professional to Ultimate. But unless a consumer understands the differences between them, that could be extremely confusing. Apple, on the other hand, sells just one version of Mac OS X Lion. Its a simple, all-in-one solution. And its something that Microsoft could learn from.