The Truth of Mac OS X
Mac OS X is Apple’s desktop operating system and shares a number of similarities with Windows – as well as being fundamentally different in other areas. Many believe OS X to be better than Windows, but the truth is there are definitely sacrifices to be made. While it’s a contentious and entirely subjective issue, the gap appears to be closing as OS X becomes a more prevalent operating system around the world.
• Perceived increased stability over Windows systems: While this was almost certainly once true in the days of XP and Vista, the truth is OS X and Windows co-exist today as two very stable operating systems. Regardless of which is the better OS, Mac systems enjoy a stable UNIX foundation as well as arguably better sleep/wake functions than Windows PCs.
• “It Just Works”: A common belief stemming from the fact that Apple builds both the hardware and software, which means that Mac users do not experience many of the issues associated with hardware that occur on Windows systems. This is due to a fundamental difference in the way Microsoft and Apple approach their computers.
• Simple to operate, hard to break: Many believe that OS X is simply a nicer and less-complicated operating system to use than Windows.
• (Mostly) Virus and malware free: Due to the massive popularity in Windows systems in the 90s and throughout the following decade, malware and viruses were rife. This bred a culture of virus scanners and malware removal that Mac users have never had to worry about. That’s not to say viruses and malware don’t exist, but it is noticeably harder to infect OS X than a Windows machine.
• The price: Certain Mac models, like the MacBook Air, are now fairly competitive in terms of specs compared to similar Windows laptops.
• Build quality and service: Macs are often perceived to be of a higher build quality, and regardless of whether this is true or not, there is an incredible support network thanks to Apple Care and Apple retail stores which facilitate the fixing of problems face-to-face with a human being.
• Cheap, regular OS X upgrades: OS X gets a new release every year, and the price has been slowly dropping over the past few releases. A copy of Mountain Lion is $19.99 full price, whereas Windows 8 costs $199.99 (the limited upgrade price was set at $39.99).
• Limitations and freedom: You can’t simply build your own Mac computer or install OS X on a Windows PC (at least, not without a lot of hassle and violation of Apple’s terms of service). This means if you want a Mac you have to buy it from Apple, and you have to pay the price they set.
• “The Walled Garden”: Certain users believe that Apple exercises too much control over OS X, locking down certain features and increasingly limiting what users can do. While this is partly true, and is in fact a signature move for the company, OS X is still a desktop OS that allows for
a lot of user customisation. Unlike the iPhone, you can install whatever third party software you want.
• Upgradeability: Certain systems are more upgradeable than others, but for many it’s impossible
to upgrade RAM, storage and even replace the battery without getting Apple involved. This also involves the price Apple sets.
• Compatibility and gaming: Many Mac computers might have the specifications to match PCs built with gaming in mind, but OS X is not an operating system built with gamers in mind. Steam exists for the platform, albeit with limited titles, and there are an increasing number of games on the Mac App Store. On the whole though, Windows is the gamer’s choice – that’s where you’ll find the latest and greatest games.
• The price: Despite certain machines being competitively priced compared to similar Windows laptops, some aren’t, and for those you will need to pay Apple’s premium pricing.
The Truth of Mac OS X