Thursday, July 23, 2009


Apple Mac OSX and Microsoft Windows are two of the most widely used desktop operating systems. Apple's Mac OS X is more commonly known as just simply: "OSX" and is developed by Apple Computer for their own line of PCs, often referred to as "Macs." Windows is developed by Microsoft for any PC (including Apple's). Comparison between Apple Mac OSX and Microsoft Windows can be divided in term of software, hardware, security and operating system.

  • Bundled Sofware
Software Type Mac OSX Windows
Web Browser Safari Internet Explorer
Media Player iTunes / QuickTime Windows Media Player
Photo Management iPhoto Windows Photo Gallery
Movie Production iMovie Windows Movie Maker
Development Tools XCode None
PDF Viewer Preview None
Calendar iCal Windows Calendar
DVD Authoring iDVD Windows DVD Maker
WYSIWYG Website Authoring iWeb None
Chat iChat Windows Messenger

  • Available Software

Mac OSX Windows

yes yes
Adobe CS3

yes yes
Microsoft Office

yes yes

yes yes
3ds Max

no yes

no yes

yes yes

yes yes

yes no
Final Cut

yes no
SoftImage XSI

no yes

  • Replacement
Macs have limited official hardware support. While external accessories (ie. mice, keyboards) and display hardware (ie. monitors, projectors) have wide support, Macs can only accept a limited range of internal hardware. The Mac OSX cannot be installed on an computer other than those created by Apple. The advantage is that Mac computers tend to have a sleeker design because they do not need to have universal support for exchangeable components.

PCs on the other hand, are manufactured by different companies using different hardware. This has the advantage that any computer part can be replaced with cheap parts. Windows can be installed on most desktop and laptop computers.

A project called Hackintosh, or OSx86, provides support for running the Mac OSX operating system on PC hardware. Although Hackintoshes are not officially supported by Apple, there have been reports of stable Hackintosh systems on both desktops and laptops, but the mac partition must be formated to the FAT32 file system and not NTFS. OSX is also able to run on computers running AMD processors.
  • Pricing
It is widely believed that Macs are more expensive than PCs with similar specs, however several price comparisons show this is not the case. You can generally buy a Windows machine at a lower price, however the specifications are not comparable to the lowest priced machine from Apple.

When considering Windows and Mac laptops, there is another item to consider. While the upfront cost of the Mac is higher, the longer term ROI can be slightly higher for a Mac. For example, your typical Windows laptop will last 2-3 years before it becomes noticeably too old. A Mac laptop typically lasts 3-4 years, before it shows similar signs of wear and lack of performance.

When contrasting Apple desktop computers and Windows desktop computers, this does not necessarily apply. Also, current Apple desktop offerings do not compare well with PC desktop offerings, with fewer options, and only two main design styles. All-in-one/small form factor (Mac Mini, iMac) and full desktop workstations (almost server grade, like the Mac Pro).

The PC's most popular operating system for end users is Windows. The latest version is Windows Vista, which was preceded by Windows XP. The Mac's most popular operating system is OS X (officially pronounced "oh ess ten", though some people say "oh ess ex"). The latest version is 10.5 (code-named "Leopard"), which followed 10.4 (code-named "Tiger").

  • Malware
Apple touts this feature as an advantage over (pre-Vista) Windows: "On a Windows PC, software (both good and evil) can change the system without your even knowing about it."

Windows Vista recently started to focus more on security by implementing a stricter user-permission policy, but many users feel that the strict policy is more annoying than useful.

Hence, there is no architectural advantage in security between Mac OSX and Vista concerning this point.
  • Viruses
Developers often capitalize on Windows' large market share and significant vulnerabilities when creating viruses and other malicious software. Some counts place the number of Windows/MS-DOS viruses at over 50,000. In the past, Microsoft's solution to this problem was insufficient.

Infection of Macs running OS X is extremely rare, and there has never been a large-scale infection of computers running OS X. The latest version of Mac OS X added sandboxing to improve protection against malware and trojans, but it cannot protect against all possible applications users can install.
  • Patches
Both Macs and Windows have patches and/or updates provided online by Apple and Microsoft, respectively. Through one simple button-click change in the System Preferences this can be on or off, to differing degrees. Ever since the release of Mac OSX 10.1 on September 25, 2001 as a 'free update' to version 10.0, Macs can download these automatically or the [owner or administrator] user has the option of accepting these downloads or not: "New software is available for your computer. If you're not ready to install now, you can use the Software Update preference to check for updates later." In Windows XP and Vista, the user has the option of turning automatic updates on or off as well.

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