Trendsetters Microsoft and Apple are both due to come out with the latest versions of their operating systems, with Apple probably doing so by the end of July and Microsoft following it in October. Microsoft’s Windows 8 promises to be a revolutionary new OS featuring a touch-centric interface inspired to a great extent by Windows Phone. Apple’s OS X Mountain Lion, on the other hand, continues the transition towards a more iOS-inspired functionality that it first began with OS X Lion. Both being technological giants in their own right, it is hardly surprising that their tactics greatly vary. In this post, lets take a look at which of the two operating systems are likely to be the best – Windows 8 vs Mac OS X Mountain Lion.
Windows 8 vs Mac OS X Mountain Lion
The prime focus of the new operating systems of both Microsoft and Apple seems to be the incorporation of mobile features. Portability and touch interface are the two main aspects that mark the end of the PC era and the beginning of the widespread adoption of tablets and smartphones. The near future, to a great extent, will be about the dominance of mobile devices and Ultrabooks (touted as the next generation laptops) and Microsoft and Apple will be phenomenal in bringing about this development with their respective OSs.
Microsoft has completely overhauled the look and feel of Windows 8 for the first time since Windows 95, something that is apparent from the moment you log in. Instead of the trademark start menu and taskbar you see an all new Start screen that consists of rectangular and square ‘Live Tiles’ for your applications similar to Windows Phone. You can scroll left and right to see more of these icons which you can customize and organize according to your preferences. Alternatively, the traditional Windows Explorer look is still around if you want it.
On logging into Mac OS X Mountain Lion you are greeted by the familiar menu bar at the top and a dock of commonly used icons at the bottom/side. Mac OS X also continues to have the Launchpad feature wherein you see a grid of icons for your applications, allowing easy access to them. This feature seems to have been inspired by the iPad, but on the whole the initial impression of Mountain Lion doesn’t strike as a lot different from the previous OS X Lion.
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Both Microsoft and Apple have attractive app-markets that allow easy browsing and purchasing. Although Microsoft’s Windows Marketplace isn’t as well-stocked with apps as the Mac App Store, it does have a unique feature by which apps can be tried for a limited amount of time before you have to buy them. Mountain Lion is going to introduce a new feature called Gatekeeper which by default will prevent installation of non-app store apps as a security measure.
In addition to being app icons, the Windows 8 Live Tiles double as informational widgets displaying information such as social networking updates, new e-mail, weather changes and calendar appointments, all in real time. On the other hand, OS X will now have an iOS-like Notification Centre that can be seen from anywhere with a simple swipe gesture. Mountain Lion is also going to bring in a new Messages app that will integrate with iMessage on iOS.
Microsoft has designed its Windows 8 Metro Interface keeping touch-enabled devices in mind, even planning to introduce a touch-friendly Office Suite. It can perhaps be said that Microsoft provides greater integration between the desktop, laptop and the tablet as Windows 8 will run on all three. But while Microsoft seems to be heading for a “one OS fits all” direction, Apple is more focused on introducing the many well-known and much loved iOS features to Mountain Lion. It remains to be seen whether the bolder Windows 8 proves to be as popular as its previous versions and if Mountain Lion will be as well-liked as Apple’s iOS.
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