Mountain Lion or Windows 8; Which is Best for You?
The latest desktop operating system from Apple called Mountain Lion just became available. It claims to include over 200 new features and most users agree, it's worth the $20 upgrade fee. Meanwhile a free beta version of Microsoft's Windows 8 has been available for some time and will become official on October 26th. As computing moves more toward mobile devices and both operating systems demonstrating a trend that reflect a "post-pc" era we couldn't help making some comparisons between the two contenders for your desktop (and mobile devices).
Some May Love It, Some May Hate ItBoth Windows 8 and Mountain Lion represent a merging of desktop operating systems and mobile operating systems. The tile-based Metro UI in Windows 8 and the iOS-like apps in Mountain Lion point to the general "appification" of both operating systems.
In Mountain Lion, Messages work with their iOS counterpart allowing you to send text, photos and video messages. Even files up to 100 MB can be "dropped" into messages. Reminders with Calendar integration can all be synched in Apple's "iCloud." Notes in Mountain Lion like their iOS counterparts can also be synched in the cloud. A new notification interface also shares a look and feel of iOS notifications.
Windows 8 uses tiles that look the same on a desktop or tablet as they will on a Windows 8 phone. The tiles can display active information like the current weather or stock prices. Some users find that using tiles for notifications is a more appealing technique than the new Apple notification "center."
Some users may find the merging of the desktop and mobile operating systems undesirable and long for the good old days of desktop computing while others will find the commonality of the user experience refreshing.
The Battle for the Living RoomMountain Lion gets a new version of AirPlay which includes the ability to "mirror" what is displayed on your device's screen, like a movie or an application, onto a big screen TV, using an Apple TV. Apple's Game Center is an attempt to make up for lost ground in the gaming department where Microsoft with Xbox and a popular PC gaming platform has a big lead. Apple's Game Center on Mountain Lion will allow users of Apple devices to play against each other through an Apple TV. Meanwhile Microsoft is hoping that game developers will find it easy and beneficial to port Win 8 games and apps across a similar set of devices that includes laptops, desktops, tablets, and phones.
Apple may launch a major offensive in the battle for the living room with a rumored Apple TV and we mean a "real" big screen HDTV set with the Apple touch. So far some say it makes sense and Apple will announce it while others dismiss it as "never going to happen." What do you think?
Who Will Have the Best Ecosystem?Both Mountain Lion and Windows 8 use a single sign-in to get you running on iCloud and Windows Live where you can then synch your docs, photos, contacts, calendars, music and more across all your devices. Apple's ecosystem can also save you money on phone bill with use if iMessage and FaceTime. Meanwhile Microsoft owns Skype which we're sure will figure prominently in the Microsoft ecosystem.
The Future User Interface Will Be GesturesWindows 8 and more and more Mac OS X are really meant for gesture input which in the future, will deliver best experience on a touchscreen or touchpad. Mountain Lion has added more multi-touch gestures while both operating systems move toward multi-touch gesture-based input. Is the one or two button mouse as we know it heading for extinction?
It's also just a matter of time before desktop computer monitors will be touchscreens while "hybrid" computers that combine touchscreens on laptops should continue to grow in popularity as users feel more comfortable swiping, tapping and pinching their way around the operating system.
Malware and SecurityAs the installed base of Apple products continues to grow, the malware developers may find the Apple platform a more attractive target. Some aspects of the Apple operating systems like the Unix core and Apple's tighter control on apps may help make it more difficult to breach the Apple defense. But not long ago 600,000 OS X users were reportedly affected by the Flashback Trojan that Apple was a bit slow to respond to. In Mountain Lion, Apple added a new security system called Gatekeeper that uses a Developer ID to help make sure software that you install is not malware. Meanwhile Microsoft, to the chagrin of the third party anti-virus companies, has incorporated into Windows 8, Windows Defender which includes the same protection currently in Microsoft Security Essentials. But that doesn't mean you still shouldn't consider the comprehensive protection applications from companies like McAfee and Symantec. Microsoft continues to beef up their defense against evil-doers with new features like Trusted Boot which can prevent a malicious program from starting before Windows does and should help prevent rootkit malware from working.
Whoever Has the Most Apps May WinWith over 600,000 iPhone apps 100,000 iPad apps and a growing library of Mac apps not to mention all the built-in creativity apps like iMovie, Apple has a lot to offer in the way of software and, as we always say, software sells hardware. Microsoft used to dominate the application war with a massive library of freeware, shareware and business application not to mention the mother of all apps; Microsoft Office. Time will tell if Microsoft can convince developers to continue to support the Microsoft platform. Steve Balmer knew this was important way back in 2006 and it's now more important than ever.