As we investigate the current state of matters between Windows and OS X, people tend to mention the same two or three differences that stand out more than others. Gamers claim that OS X is terrible for gameplay; programmers might say that Windows offers a more open-ended environment for developers, and just everyone can agree that the price of entry to the platform is less for a Windows-based PC.
Did you know that OS X actually has quite a few advantages over Windows? Depending on what you plan on doing with your computer, you might find that your job can be done easier on the Apple platform. In addition to some pretty impressive proprietary software, each Mac comes complete with a variety of programs that are easily comparable to very expensive software equivalents on the Windows platform.
Here are six reasons why OS X is better than windows.
While Microsoft Windows does come with a variety of great programs, OS X has the value-add of the iLife Suite. These apps are actually very good at doing the tasks for which they are designed. Without installing a single extra app, you can create music, manage your photo collection, enjoy a full-featured video and music store, edit videos, and more.
The email app included in OS X is extremely easy to use. In fact, I prefer it over Thunderbird, which is my absolute favorite email program for Windows. It was heartbreaking letting Thunderbird go when I made the switch, but Mail.app is actually leaps and bounds beyond many more costly email applications.
There’s something to be said about an app store that controls the flow of applications. Not only are you safe from dealing with malicious apps, but your purchases are all made through a single company. This means that if something does go wrong, you can dispute any and all purchases with the app store rather than having to chase down individual retailers and/or software makers.
Updates are extremely easy. All you need to do is check for updates through the Mac App Store and all of your associated apps are updated at once. No fussing around with each program individually. This is truly a one-stop-shop for the software installed on your computer.
Video editing on OS X versus Windows is a hot button topic among those who work in video. Macs are widely used because of the flagship editing program Final Cut Pro. Apple has gone to great lengths to make sure that Final Cut Pro is established as an industry standard for video editing. Not only is Final Cut Pro extremely efficient and capable of pushing out extraordinary content, but it’s relatively inexpensive. Not to mention, you can only get it on OS X.
As mentioned before, the iLife Suite ships with every Mac. One of these programs is iMovie, which is undoubtedly one of the best “free” video editing programs on the market today. With the right amount of patience and know-how, you can accomplish extremely complex and incredible video edit techniques including picture-in-picture and chromakey.
An often unexplained difference between OS X and Windows is how the kernel addresses video. OS X is designed very differently from Windows in this regard. While in Windows, programs will fight over CPU time and the vast array of permission barriers do little more than bog processes — including video playback — down significantly. OS X, which is based on UNIX, has a streamlined approach to how these processes work, and the result is smoother video playback and an overall more efficient editing process.
If you want proof of this, take a Core 2 Duo PC and a Mac with the same specs and try to edit 1080p video using a professional editing program. You might be surprised at how much more efficient OS X is at handling these processes.
The Apple community is renowned for its tight-knit and welcoming environment. Documentaries have explored the “Cult of the Mac” phenomenon to some detail, and there’s no question in my mind that the Mac is essentially the Volvo of the computing world.
Lessened Virus Threat
Obscurity breeds security. This is a general rule in the world of PC security as attackers generally target the larger pool of users. This isn’t to say that viruses don’t exist on OS X, but the number seen in the wild over the past 10 years can be counted on your fingers. Windows anti-virus programs are often updated daily to keep track of the latest threats.
This could also apply to Web-based exploits, malware, and spyware. While not technically viruses in their own right, these scripts can threaten the security of everyone from individual home users to enterprise-level organizations.
This doesn’t mean that OS X is more secure than Windows. It isn’t, and that’s been proven time and time again. What it does mean is that there is some added advantage to being on a platform that is still flying under the radar. This could change tomorrow.
Stability and Flexibility
OS X is a great OS, and it is arguably more stable than Windows due in part to having a predictable hardware profile. OS X is made with a specific set of hardware in mind. This allows developers to work within a predictable set of parameters as the limitations and needs of the OS are standard across the board. With Windows, you never know what odd hardware interface is interacting with what process to keep your video card from crashing your entire system. If you’ve ever seen a blue screen after loading two GPU-hungry programs at once, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
One trick that OS X does that Windows can’t is run the opposing operating system within a virtual machine. Windows has no supported method of running OS X in parallel with Windows programs. On OS X, you have the option of running Windows through programs like Parallels and VMWare Fusion. Failing that, you can use Boot Camp to run Windows natively as a primary operating system on boot-up.
On a hardware level, Macs and PCs aren’t very different from one another. It’s the software that makes up the largest degree of separation between the two platforms, and even this is only a minor difference at best. Is OS X better than Windows? That’s hard to say, as everyone has their own set of tastes and needs. While I am personally a big fan of the OS X UI, Windows is still an excellent platform for gaming and doing many of the things that I enjoy doing.
If you’re looking for a more expansive list of differences, you might want to check out Chris Pirillo’s breakdown explaining 50 reasons you should consider switching from Windows to OS X.
This article is part of a multi-post series comparing the differences between OS X, Linux, and Windows. For six reasons Windows is better than OS X, read this.