User friendliness, intuitivism
Hardware and software compatibility
Included and add on applications
Editions and Costs
• Mac OS X and Windows XP have similar
interfaces and tools. We’ll be comparing:
–Access to Applications
Mac OS X Desktop
at top of
Windows XP Desktop
Windows XP desktop with taskbar and Start Menu at bottom of screen ↓
The Windows Start Menu offers access to
nearly every application installed, and to
multiple versions of each application.
However, unless the menu is kept
organized, it has the tendency to become
cluttered and any one application is hard to
find among the many.
The Mac OS X Dock is much more streamlined, and contains fewer items.
However, it can hold fewer items before becoming cluttered. It also doubles as
a task bar, with active applications indicated with small black triangles and
Finding Your Files
The Mac OS X Finder allows the
user to start browsing from several
The Windows Explorer shows the exact
location of any folder that you are browsing
using the compact Folder view in the
leftmost panel, referred to as the “Explorer
Bar.” Other Explorer Bar views include
Search, Favorites, and History.
Better Browsing Buttons
^ The Windows XP Toolbar is not as easily
customizable and only includes basic browsing
options. Advanced features can be accessed
from the menu bar.
Another new feature of Mac OS X is the
Spotlight. This feature is a more advanced
version of the Google Desktop search and is
integrated into the OS. It allows you to search
your computer and the Internet from your desktop
with instant results.
The Mac OS X
Toolbar can be
customized with any
of dozens of
Customizing Your Computer
The Windows XP Control Panel offers
categories the user can browse to, to
The OS X System Preferences folder
offers an organized view of the icons,
with less browsing required to access
In either operating system, the settings windows’ appearance
can be changed to suit the user’s preferences.
Users and Usability
There are several differences to get used to
in the area of usability and convenience:
Positioning of window buttons
Most Apple shortcuts are similar to Windows
Use Command () key instead of Control
-C, -X, -V for Copy, Cut, Paste
“Option” Key replaces Alt.
Control Key is used less.
Building a Better Mouse
• Macs used to come with a one-button mouse
• Instead of right-clicking, Control-click brought
up a context menu
• Now ships with new four-button “Mighty
• USB Windows Mice also work on Macs
Wacky Window Whatsits
^The classic Windows title bar has received few structural changes, though a few
cosmetic changes (red “Close” button, gradients, etc.) have been made. Thus, the
basic structure is: A menu icon at the far left, the title, and, at the far right, the
“Minimize,” “Maximize” and “Close” buttons, from left to right.
^ To someone used to the Windows title bar, the Mac title bar may seem a bit
strange, and vice versa. The Title, centered, goes between the control buttons at
the left of the bar, (“Close,” “Minimize”, and “Shrink to Fit” from left to right), and
the Finder’s Toolbar button at the far right.
Microsoft does not make much
hardware: mainly joysticks, mice,
Therefore Windows XP has to work no
matter what hardware is thrown at it,
with just device driver changes.
Mac OS X is designed to just work on
Apple Computer systems.
Up! Up! And Upgrade!
PCs can consist of any combination of
hardware: therefore upgrades are easy
to carry out.
The main difficulty is if the hardware
changes enough to make XP think it’s a
different computer. This is unlikely
Apple Computers are very hard to
upgrade: generally only the HDD and
RAM can be upgraded easily.
Windows XP supports the FAT file system
and the NTFS file system.
FAT is more compatible, especially with other
versions of Windows.
NTFS can only be written to from Windows
Mac OS X uses HFS+ by default, but also
supports HFS, UFS, AFP, ISO 9660, FAT, UDF,
NFS, SMBFS and NTFS (read only).
All Work and No Play…
Windows is the main non-console platform
used for developing games.
Many console games are developed for use
on PCs running Windows as well.
However, there is a growing trend to make
games compatible with Mac OS X as well.
Due to non-upgradeability, Macs cannot
keep up with gaming tech though (without
• Mac Windows Equivalent
• iTunes Windows Media Player (Audio and video playback)
• iMovie Windows Movie maker
• iPhoto Includes a photo import from digital camera or scanner
Downloadable or can be bought from 3rd party
• Mail Outlook Express
• DVD Player Windows Media Player (with decompressor)
• Xcode MS Visual Studio Suite (purchased separately)
• Dictionary Online or via 3rd party application
• iCal Outlook Express (built in calendar viewer), or 3rd party
• iChat Windows Messenger, MSN Messenger, NetMeeting,
• Safari Internet Explorer or alternative browser
• Preview (PDF) Adobe Acrobat Reader
Windows XP and Mac OS X Costs
• Windows XP Home costs about $129 for
the upgrade version or $199 for the full
version, and Windows XP Professional
costs $199 to $250 for the upgrade, and
$299 for the full version. The Tablet
Edition and Media Center Edition only
come in an OEM package with a
compatible configuration such as a
Media Center PC or a tablet PC.
• Mac OS X costs $129 for the single user
license or $199 for the 5-user license.
• All new Macs now
include FrontRow, a
piece of software
similar to Windows
Media Center Edition
• It does not include a
TV tuner and record
feature since the
graphic cards don’t
• It includes a wireless
remote similar MCE’s
remote but tailored to
Windows Media Center Edition
• Windows XP Media
Center Edition includes
every thing from
FrontRow but also
includes TV viewing
and recording plus
ability to listen to the
• It too includes a remote
that controls most of its
• This is the best media
package for Windows
XP and is being used
as the main
entertainment center in
more and more homes.
For professions such as graphic art, music
and video editing, or Web designing or
anyone interested in any media arts, whether
as a job or a hobby, a Mac is probably the
Mac users tend to be very loyal and articulate
about the benefits of Mac OS X, proclaiming,
“Once you go Mac, you never go back.”
For businesses, people who like to upgrade
their computer’s capabilities, or average
computer users who simply don’t need that
much power and are looking to save money,
then a PC with Windows would probably be
the better option.
One group of people, though, who will
definitely need PCs are the hardcore gamers,
since many games aren’t available for Macs.
Overall, Mac OS X and Windows XP are
both great operating systems and any
one is neither good nor bad. It’s just
that one of them may be better at
something the other is not, that is,
certain applications and functions.
Both are highly recommended by the
major companies and vendors and, of
course, by their users.