Mac vs. PC: Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7

There’s lots of talk comparing Snow Leopard to Windows 7, but all I’ve seen so far is heavily biased toward the Mac side. I’m a Mac user myself, but this still strikes me as being quite unfair. So I’ll point out here the things that important details that others are omitting.

Some people don’t like the fact that you can’t directly upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7: you need to do a custom install (a clean install).

Compare this to the Mac side: if you don’t have an Intel Mac (there are still millions of PowerPC Macs in active use today), you cannot use Snow Leopard at all. No upgrade. No custom or clean install. Snow Leopard will only run on an Intel Mac.

All new Macs are Intel Macs, you say. Well, all new PCs come with Windows Vista, and for ones purchased recently, they’ll get a free copy of Windows 7.

Claim: Snow Leopard does a better job of recognizing system hardware. (Link)

True, but very misleading. Apple makes the software and the hardware. I would hope that their own OS can recognize their own hardware. Microsoft didn’t make your video card, and they have to support thousands of different ones. A much more impressive feat. On the Mac side, you’re locked into Apple’s limited hardware options. For Windows 7, you can use literally any hardware you want.

Claim: Windows 7 only has better app compatibility for now. “In relatively short order, Snow Leopard may have its compatibility problems worked out.” (Link)

Those compatibility problems will only be “worked out” by the app developers, not by Apple. It’s typical for Apple to leave old functionality behind when they upgrade. Adobe Creative Suite 3 may not run on Snow Leopard, and it’s unlikely Adobe is going to go back and update it, since CS4 runs without problems.

Claim: Snow Leopard is “as intuitive and as aesthetically pleasing an operating system as you can find.”

That depends on what you mean by “intuitive”, and it should go without saying that aesthetics are subjective.

It’s intuitive to me to have the ability to resize a window from any corner or edge. You can’t do this on a Mac.

It’s intuitive to me for the + button to maximize the window, or at least always make the window bigger. Not so on a Mac.

The keyboard shortcuts in Windows are much more intuitive than on the Mac. On the Mac side, some things don’t even have keyboard shortcuts.

It’s intuitive to me to have the ability to drag the “save” dialog away from the document I’m working on, so I can refer to its contents while I’m deciding what to name the file. You can’t do this on a Mac.

It’s intuitive to me to be able to rename files in the open or save dialogs. This requires 3rd party software on a Mac.

Claim: It’s a good thing that Snow Leopard ships with lots of extras.

“Snow Leopard is more than just an operating system — it comes with a full suite of applications, notably iLife with iMovie for making movies, GarageBand for recording and editing music, iWeb for making Web pages and more.”

It makes things easier for users, yes, but one of the reasons Windows doesn’t do this is because people complained when it did! Doesn’t anyone remember how Internet Explorer grew to 95% market share? When anti-virus companies started kicking and screaming when Microsoft created their own anti-virus solution? When something gets included with Windows, the 3rd party vendors die.

That’s why you won’t see many decent alternatives to iLife, Time Machine, etc. Few people would use them. Apple has included lots of extras, but at the cost of killing off some 3rd party developers. Is it any wonder that there’s a lot more Windows software than Mac?

5 Responses to “Mac vs. PC: Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7”

  1. andrew247 says:

    Good blog post.

  2. asdf says:

    should probably do some more research…windows is definitely more secure they just have a bigger market share = bigger target

  3. MacLover says:

    Mac rules because they just do.

  4. Because Microsoft and Apple released their new operating systems almost simultaneously, it is not surprising for computer enthusiasts to compare Microsoft’s Windows 7 with Apple’s Snow Leopard to see which is better. But while hardcore fans on both sides will always refuse to give in to the other on the issue of which operating system is better, it may be a better idea simply to compare the differences of the two.
    Windows 7 vs. Snow Leopard: Five Main Differences

  5. […] a year ago, I complained on this blog that Mac OS X doesn’t allow users to resize browser windows from any side or […]

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