I purchased by first Mac in 2008, which at the time ran the brand new OS X Leopard operating system. I had up until that point always been a Windows user and had actually no intention of officially switching from Windows to the Mac. My intention was to help my video editing career by purchasing an iMac so that I could use Final Cut Pro, a video editing tool only available for the Mac.
I planned on having my PC function as my primary computer and also my gaming machine, while my brand new 24-inch iMac would serve as my serious work machine. However within just a few days I found myself taken by the uniqueness of the interface and how well everything seemed to run.
Unlike Windows then and even now, I wasn’t being nagged about important system updates that required restarts. I also found that the cleaner and more graphical UI made it easier and quicker to complete the same tasks in Windows. While I certainly missed many features from Windows, OS X reignited my interest in computing again because it was a refreshing alternative take on how an operating system should function.
For example, it was the little things like finally having a genuinely good place to put my photographs that organised and showcased them aesthetically as opposed to just throwing them into a disorganised folder on Windows.
The calendar app that came included in OS X was actually a genuinely useful organiser, as opposed to having to own Office in Windows in order to have one. Front Row, which now no longer exists in OS X, made for a far more impressive and immersive entertainment hub than Windows Media Player did at the time. Features like folder stacks, Finder, Time Machine and the iLife suite just made everyday computing tasks more fun and Safari as a web browser was miles quicker and more reliable than Internet Explorer.
The great thing about all of these features was that they were all produced by Apple and designed to run within the OS natively. This was in contrast to Windows, which only came with a handful of similar applications and relied on third-parties to produce their own versions of the rest. That was another bugbear in Windows, third-party applications were often clunky, visually and functionally inconsistent with the rest of the OS and occasionally suffered from reliability issues because they weren’t developed by Microsoft.
I found Final Cut Pro 6 at the time to be a dream of an editing application when compared to Adobe Premiere Pro, although recently Final Cut Pro X has lost significant ground to it. Nevertheless it was again another example of software that was made by the maker of the OS.
Furthermore, OS X doesn’t slow down over time like Windows, which suffers from the notorious Windows creep, caused by system updates and having lots of applications installed. OS X runs its hard drive and system optimisation utility functions in the background, as opposed to Windows, which requires user intervention to do things like defrag the disk.
So the honeymoon period with the Mac was a surprising one. The novelty lasted quite some time before I got used to it. As the years went by, Windows matched and even exceeded many of the features OS X had first developed and we’re now at a point where Windows 10 has many genuine advantages over Apple’s famed Mac operating system. Although it’s important to say that Windows has always had a significant leg up in the gaming department. There’s no comparison, OS X is a poor gaming platform.
Still, despite how I’ve clearly seen the gap narrow between the two operating systems to the point where deciding which one is best has become more difficult than ever, I’m not about to switch back to Windows any time soon. While I might use Windows as a secondary OS by dual booting via Bootcamp, it won’t become my daily driver. I would certainly maintain that with the fantastic developments that Microsoft has made with Windows in Windows 7, 8 and 10 that there’s now less of a reason to switch to OS X, there’s also less of a reason to switch back from OS X.
I will admit that Apple have been slow to innovate in recent years and I’ve criticised some of their hardware decisions, but they haven’t done much wrong when it comes to OS X. It’s remained pretty consistent and secure; security updates are unobtrusive, the system has always been stable and despite the odd Final Cut Pro crash and graphic glitch in Finder, it’s relatively bug free.
I think we’re living at a golden age for desktop operating systems. Linux users have significant distros to choose from and Microsoft and Apple’s rivalry has forced them to raise the standards of their software significantly. Add to that the fact that modern desktop computing hardware has finally caught up with the software to the point where system performance has never been faster, and whether you choose to use one OS daily or a combination of one or more, today’s users have never had it so good.
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