Mac Windows

Apples vs. Oranges: A Long Time Windows User Meets OS X

Tina Sieber 15-05-2015

What could happen when a long-time Windows user drops their defense and uses a Mac for the first time A Quick Guide to Using a Mac for Windows Users Every Windows user should know the basics of working on a Mac. Here's a quick guide to help Mac newcomers find their way around. Read More in years? Will a superior deasign, high quality build, and intuitive interface sweep them off their feet? Or will they happily return to good old Windows?


Let’s find out as I try out OS X on a device of a friend.

Disclaimer: The following are the impressions of a long time Windows user using one particular Mac device. Much of it is subjective, some may reveal misconceptions.

First Impressions: the Hardware

A friend of mine left her 2012 MacBook Pro with me while traveling. My Windows laptop from around the same time, a Sony Vaio, is bulky and pretty beat-up. The MacBook, despite its all-metal case, isn’t quite as heavy as my Vaio and it’s in great shape. Some superficial scratches, a bit of patina from intensive use, but that’s about it.

Sony Vaio and MacBook Pro

Of course this is like comparing apples and oranges. The MacBook Pro is an expensive high end laptop from a manufacturer with very little device fragmentation. The Sony Vaio on the other hand is a mediocre model from a sea of diverse Windows devices and manufacturers. While offering comparable specs, it came at a fraction of the cost and wasn’t intended to last more than three or four years. You won’t find many Windows laptops with the same build quality as a Mac and if you do, they won’t be cheap, either.


Call it planned obsolescence Thou Shalt Consume: The Story of Consumer Electronics [Feature] Every year, exhibitions around the world present new high tech devices; expensive toys that come with many promises. They aim to make our lives easier, more fun, super connected, and of course they are status... Read More , but from an economic point of view, it doesn’t make sense to design devices that will last longer than consumers are willing to use them. Technology makes leaps every year and most people are dying to have the lastest and greatest specs, especially Apple fans. Yet Macs retain much of their value, regardless of their dated interior. Could a line of high quality Windows devices replicate this phenomenon? Once it’s time for a Mac to meet its maker, aluminum is easy to recycle. Does that make the MacBook Pro more sustainable?

Whichever way you turn it, hardware is a point for the MacBook Pro in my book: 1-0

The First Surprise: Booting the Mac

Windows 10 boots faster, even on the Vaio. As I’m waiting and typing this, I realize that even Windows 7 boots faster How To Make Windows Boot Faster Than Ever Before One… two… three… how many minutes does it take your computer to start up? Hopefully not more than three, but it wouldn’t surprise me if you said it surpassed that time. The thing is, our... Read More . After all the Mac hype, I expected more. Boot time gets Windows its first point.

Mac Booting


As I find out later, the MacBook runs OS X Yoseminte on a 2.9 GHz Intel Core i7 with 8 GB memory. The Vaio only sports an Intel Core i5. If Macs are truly superior and really don’t suffer from slowing down as much as Windows does, it should have performed a lot better! Although I do hear this isn’t common, so it might be down to issues of this particular Mac. What does that tell us? Macs aren’t perfect either.

Windows claws back a point, 1-1

Impressive Battery Performance

The first thing I noticed was the battery level. This device has been sitting on a shelf for almost two months, it’s around three years old, and without having been charged in weeks, the battery level is at nearly 50%. I could finish this article without charging, clearly outperforming the Vaio. For someone who’s experienced mediocre Windows hardware and one year old batteries draining faster than my patience, that’s a sign of quality.

Battery performance Calibrate & Maintain Your MacBook Battery For Best Performance If you correctly calibrate and maintain your MacBook battery, it's possible to improve performance and put off replacing it for as long as possible. Read More puts the Mac ahead again: 2-1


General Navigation: More Intuitive Design vs. Just Pretty

They say Macs are more intuitive than Windows, but I’m not sure that’s true. While I had no trouble finding System Preferences, Spotlight Search, Notifications, the Dock, and most importantly everything in the Go menu, I think those things can be found just as easily in Windows. Being a seasoned Windows user 7 Signs You Are a Seasoned Windows User Windows has been around for longer than a lot of you have been alive. Do you know the trivia to prove you're a long time Windows user? Let's see what you remember. Read More , it’s hard to judge this objectively of course.

Mac Go Menu

That said, even compared to the latest build of Windows 10, the interface is more stylish and I was impressed with the About This Mac screen. Windows has a System overview in the Control Panel Unlock Windows Potential: Control Panel Demystified If you want to be the master of your Windows experience, the Control Panel is where it's at. We untangle the complexity of this power tool. Read More or Settings App, but it’s not nearly as well designed.

Mac About Screen


I’m not convinced the Mac is more intuitive to use, but I’ll give it a generous point for being prettier than Windows: 3:1

Everyday Tasks on a Mac


While my first moves on the desktop were not an issue, once I needed to take a screenshot to demonstrate what I was looking at, I had to consult Google. Hey Apple, your Command + Shift + 3 keyboard shortcut isn’t intuitive at all! Point for Windows: 3:2

That said, the native screenshots features, such as taking a screenshot of a portion of the screen and automatically saving the screenshots to the desktop, rather than storing it in the clipboard, are smart. It saved me from having to deal with an unknown Mac program and thus made my life easier.

Advanced screenshot features propitiate me: 4:2

Using the Trackpad

I could never warm up to trackpacks and have been using a mouse whenever possible. However, one of my Mac-friendly friends has been raving about the MacBook trackpad Superpower Your MacBook Trackpad Whether you want to use your trackpad as an improvised drawing tablet or control every aspect of your Mac using gestures, you can - if you know the right tools to use. Multi-touch means your... Read More . My expectations were high and the Mac didn’t score. Yes, the quality is great, but with the right drivers the Vaio supports scrolling, zoom, and it even offers a right-click. No points here.



The keyboard is of excellent quality. This is worth mentioning because typing is such an essential part of most people’s laptop experience and many don’t realize this until they downgrade from a high quality to a low quality keyboard. Typing on the MacBook Pro felt like an upgrade. That said, I can’t function without a Home and End key. Command + left / right key is too complicated.

A point for the Windows keyboard layout: 4:3


I expected this to be difficult, but it wasn’t. On the trackpad, you can use two-finger or control-click and if you attach an external mouse, the right-click will work just like it does in Windows. No points again because it’s basically a draw, but I’m acknowledging that this has either been fixed or it was a misconception.

Mac App Store

The Mac App Store 8 Tips On Getting The Most Out Of The Apple Mac App Store I've been downloading, using, and reviewing Apple software and third-party related software for over ten years, and I have to say that the new Apple Mac App Store is probably one of the most convenient... Read More is a genius invention, although not originally Apple’s. Microsoft finally realized this and included a Store with Windows 8 — but let’s not talk about that experiment gone wrong, it looks like they will get it right with Windows 10. I just want to acknowledge that this Linux feature, if done well, is much appreciated in any operating system.


I do realize that not all Mac software is distributed through the App Store.

OS X Weirdness (from a Windows perspective)

Morphing Menu Bar Options

I expected the menu bar to be steady like the Windows Taskbar, but when you mark an item, File and Edit options adapt to it. Like on Windows, all these options are also available when you control-click the item. At first this seemed redundant and counter-intuitive. But the menu does come in handy as soon as you launch an application. You’ll never have to search for menus again, they’re all right there in your familiar Mac menu bar.

I have to admire the smartness and award a final point: 5:3

Where’s the Start Menu?

Windows users love their Start Menu, so much so that Microsoft had to bring it back in Windows 10. For me, the Mac dock simply can’t replace a Start Menu. Having used third-party Windows docks, it seems more like an add-on than an alternative. I’m tempted to award a point here, but I realize it’s just a matter of preference.

Has the MacBook Pro Swayed this Windows User?

Not quite. The MacBook Pro came out as a winner with a 5:3 score because of its quality build and smart design. I didn’t look too deeply for faults with OS X that Windows solves better or Windows features lacking on the Mac, although chances are this wouldn’t change much. I’m just not convinced a Mac is worth the investment, let alone the headache of switching 4 Things About Windows That You'll Miss on a Mac Thinking about switching over to a Mac? It's easy to find faults with Windows. But are you aware of the things you'll miss? Read More .

The beauty of Windows devices is that you can find equally high quality hardware, if you’re willing to pay the price, but you don’t have to. The truth is, I’m no longer using the old Vaio, but a very slick Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro Core i7 ultrabook that will easily take it up with most Macs. I don’t know how long it will last me, but I got it for a bargain.

For an unbiased youngster, learning OS X, Windows or even Linux Hey Windows User, Should You Switch To Linux or Mac? Did you ever consider switching from Windows to Linux or Mac? The quick answer: if you're on Windows, stay on Windows—and don't worry about upgrading just yet. Here's why. Read More  isn’t a problem. Switching from one to the other isn’t tough, either. It all comes down to a matter of priorities, preferences, and affluence. The Mac is a status symbol that comes with a lot of promises, and it seems like it delivers. Meanwhile, Windows has a bad reputation. While I don’t think that’s justified, I admit I’m biased.

What’s your perspective? Are there any features in OS X or Windows that you couldn’t live without? What makes you stick to one operating system over the other? And what could make you switch?

Related topics: MacBook, OS X Yosemite.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Sudarshan Kakoty
    April 27, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Arch Linux at one,
    Elementary OS Loki at another laptop.

    Why .... ?
    Because I want..

    Why not windows ?
    Because I want to buy an OS, not rent.

    Am I an advanced user ?
    Hell, NO

    Then why Arch ?

    Because I have a disease of gaming "What in the next level, & how this shit works or worse, let's break it, and rebuild it from start"

    Don't I have a life, as I stair at a lifeless LED whole day ?
    I had a life, but no more..
    Now learning, teaching and & manipulating is my life.

    Are you wierd ?
    Yes, just like everybody can...

    Why you live such a Linux life ?
    Because I can.


    • Tina Sieber
      April 27, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your life, Sudarshan!

      What do you like most about Elementary OS and what's better in Arch Linux?

      • Sudarshan Kakoty
        April 28, 2017 at 5:05 am

        No, not better than OS X or Windows from user friendly and productivity side.

        But setting up Linux distributions? like Arch will teach you how an OS installer works, how a GUI supposed to shoot commands when you click with your mouse here and there. You can ultimately Build a complete own Linux, the way you like to use.

        Elementary OS looks like OS X , but it's made upon Ubuntu 16.04, a very basic desktop oriented OS, Loki is the current release, it's starting.. a long way to go... I am contributing bug fixes there, to make that OS better.

        When something breaks, I repair it, or rebuild it. Complaining is not much fun. xD

        • Sudarshan Kakoty
          April 28, 2017 at 5:19 am

          That Arch one takes only 80MB out of my 2.80GB RAM :D

          Call Of Duty Ghost runs better I'm Arch with Wine than my Windows 10 own graphics, because it takes 900mb at Idle where arch uses 80mb. :D

  2. Willrekt4
    January 26, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    I think Mac is great but the compatibility that windows has just rules it all out

  3. Paul Driver
    October 6, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    I love my MacBook Pro, but miss the usability of Windows. If only OSX had a start button, a task bar and a decent file manager. Without these killer features OSX will always be less than it could be.

    • Tina Sieber
      October 7, 2016 at 10:33 am

      Thank you for your comment, Paul.

      It's rare to hear a Mac user say they miss Windows. Can you replace those missing features with third party tools? This should be possible for the Taskbar and Start Button!

      • Paul Driver
        October 7, 2016 at 10:50 am

        The are apps that attempt to replicate a start button and taskbar but they are pretty clunky.

        Path Finder is a very good replacement for the woefully inadequate Finder, but OSX blocks this for in-app use. Therefore you can't reorganise folders at the same time as saving a file.

        Did I mention window management? Don't get me started !

        Macs are lovely computers, but Apple could make their software much better.

        Maybe Microsoft just got the patents first.

        • Tina Sieber
          October 7, 2016 at 11:04 am

          Thank you for sharing, Paul!

  4. Joseph
    August 19, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    I use Manjaro on my desktop, Windows on my laptop, but I get a good amount of interaction with OS X. The "walled garden" is no exaggeration. While OS X is far prettier than Windows, I find myself more at home with an OS that I can mutate to fit my needs. Windows is good because it works well with 4k and is good for notetaking, so I use it on my laptop. Manjaro Linux is fast, lightweight, extremely customizable, and with GNOME 3 looks quite good.

    I believe your OS should fit your needs. That being said, the whole "trendy hipsters use Macs" argument never made sense to me. Macs look good, but in reality suffer from throttled hardware and a complete lack of customizability. Which is fine, because of this, Macs have long battery life and just work with a lot of optimized programs. But I fail to see how the "hipster" crowd, which is supposed to support "freedom at all costs", can possibly use any sort of Apple product. At least this is my impression, I could be wrong.

    That being said, some of the smartest people I know use Macs. Some of the smartest people I know use PCs running Windows. And some of the smartest people I know run Linux on one, the other, or both.

  5. D.Harris
    June 22, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Are you kidding me? In order to gain a fair perspective, you need to interview someone who is equally familiar with both platforms. Not a user who has been using Windows for the last 20 years, then suddenly decides to jump on a Mac. It isn't any different than driving your own car and then suddenly finding yourself in a much newer, higher quality rental vehicle. It may be a much faster and better car, but until you have time to acclimate yourself with the differences, your old car still "feels" better.

    That said, I'll keep this short by saying, I'm an IT professional and have been using Windows PCs and Corporate servers since 1995 and Macs for the last 16 years (well before the iPhone revolution), and I can tell you this much, at the end of my day, the last thing I want to do is log on to a Windows PC at home! Macs are certainly not perfect, but they are far superior to Windows based machines on EVERY level. From privacy to productivity, they just work. And as for the age old argument of Macs being a closed system, allow me to present the car analogy just one more time... If your car ran reliably without requiring you to do anything more than supply it with the proper fuel and place to park, would you really need to open the hood?

    And finally, for all the criticism Apple receives for being too expensive, too closed, too trendy, etc., explain to me why every company out there is trying to duplicate the same user experience that Apple affords its users. If Windows is truly superior, then stop trying to imitate your competition.

    • Tina Sieber
      June 22, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      When you expect a comparison, it's true that it should be written by someone who knows both platforms well. However, a fair comparison wasn't the aim of this article.

      As stated in the introduction, this article is the highly subjective documentation of the experience a long time Windows user had when using a Mac for the first time.

      I totally expected this article to reveal common misconceptions from Windows users. I'm grateful if people point these out in the comments because this "experiment" was a learning experience for me.

      Anyway, based on your defensive comment, it sounds like you didn't read the article. I thought my conclusion was pretty neutral. The Mac actually came out as a winner in my "first experience" comparison, but you made it sound like I ripped the Mac apart. I didn't.

    • Gaurav Pandey
      October 7, 2016 at 5:06 am

      "...they are far superior to Windows based machines on EVERY level" , not every level.
      Both has it's own -/+ and like you said, it largely depends on upon how comfortable are you with both OS. Certain issues I am facing with macOS, read and write NTFS support, not all videos can be played inside some apps like Telegram. CAN'T OPEN two apps at the same time like I do it for Chome, Maya, Mudbox (maybe this will solved with tab option with macOS Sierra). Tons of FREE apps or alternatives apps for Windows than Mac.

  6. Michael
    June 21, 2016 at 12:33 am

    I'm a long time Windows user (since 3.11) who has also been using a Mac for the past 10 years. They both certainly have their pros and cons. The one thing that still sways me in the Windows direction is that my Dell Precision, which was actually $150 cheaper than the 15" MacBook Pro, blows away the Mac as far as power goes, and some of the parts in the Precision laptop are still user upgradeable which doesn't seem to be the case with the new Macbook Pros (2013 and on)

    I'm typing this comment on the MacBook Pro. The Dell Precision is sitting also sitting on the desk exporing video from Adobe Premiere.

  7. Ben-El
    May 14, 2016 at 11:55 am

    For me, it's Windows all the way! Wouldn't you rather pride yourself in freedom than formalism and conformism? Windows wins that every single time!

    • Tina Sieber
      May 16, 2016 at 11:47 am

      I'm surprised you're saying this about Windows, not Linux!

      And I agree, I appreciate Windows, too. I'm just concerned that Windows 10 is becoming too much like OS X. Have you upgraded?

  8. Anonymous
    November 8, 2015 at 2:52 am

    I was a seasoned user of Windows, from windows 3.11 to Windows (ugh) 8, I left the Microsoft ecosystem due to four errors, no media centre, (the death of my HTPC), no home server (the death of my server) no tech net (death of my cheap software) and that metro.My friends have had mix responses with Windows 10. I have to say that that the whole OSX experience was fairly easy for me, perhaps because I have dabbled with Linux. For me a computer is a tool although I have to say I love using my Mac for my computing needs. I have fully bought into the the Apple ecosystem, and what never fails is the way all the devices interact, from my iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and iMac. Today it doesn't boil down to OS, but to what ecosystem you use. Nowadays the OS is a way to navigate around the computer or device, so its really down to personal preference.

  9. Anonymous
    August 21, 2015 at 1:16 am

    You can configure the trackpad to reserve a section of it |(like the right hand side) to perform a right click. No need to use two-finger clicking to perform a right click. it's all there in the Trackpad settings.

  10. Anonymous
    June 7, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    There is one very important criteria missing from this comparison.
    It is the quality of customer service/support, where Apple excels by a large margin over all computer hardware/software manufacturers.
    That alone is worth not only one, but three points.
    Historically speaking, how many garbage operating systems did Apple have in the last ten-fifteen years. None.
    What about Microsoft? Windows 95; Windows 98, Windows Millennium, Windows XP until Service Pack 2, Windows Vista, all of them were garbage.
    Two years after Windows Vista came out I was still using Windows XP, Service Pack 2, but I needed a new piece of hardware. Then I decided to part with Windows and switch to Apple.
    As an advanced (not quite expert) computer user the switch was the best thing I've ever done in computers.
    I am pretty sure any long time Apple computer user doing a similar comparison would give Apple a much better advantage, probably a 7:1 score compared with the 5:3 score given by the long time Windows user.

  11. George Barna
    June 1, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    Where is the Start Menu? Maybe the LaunchPad was overlooked.

  12. Ya
    May 18, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    I've been computing on about every platform for the past 50 years. I use a rich-man's linux box (macbook pro) because it does cmd line geeky stuff, and it's the fastest, most solid multi-tasking 64-bit operating system. To say that a Mac can't multitask is the most ignorant statement I've seen on this site.

    • Jeff Beam
      May 18, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      Yeah I'm not sure what he meant by that - is he talking about an iPad or something? Either way, I think his cred is shot in this discussion.

  13. Denis Fras
    May 16, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    My GF has a MacBook Pro and while the hardware is really nice, I just can't get used to OS X. Windows is SO much more intuitive to work with and faster, too. Basically, I think OS X is for "fun" only - you can't really multitask on it, it's like using a tablet.

    Also, if you ever watch Formula 1 engineers, NASA, army, or whoever else who does some serious stuff, most of them sport Lenovo ThinkPad's with Windows.

  14. dragonmouth
    May 16, 2015 at 12:28 am

    You never touched on security of Windows versus that of the Mac. Or is that also a toss up?

  15. Rick
    May 15, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    I second the reply by cmcollins001 - "There is truly no right or wrong choice, as long as what you use best meets your goals." I started with Windows and find it more intuitive and easier to use than Mac, though Macs always have nice hardware and perhaps seem to be less buggy in general - at least that is my perception.

    I learned my way around Windows pretty quickly and soon realized that anything I wanted or needed to do on a computer, I could probably figure out how to do it in Windows and could find whatever software I needed. And it was fairly easy to customize to boot. But I also found it increasingly frustrating as time went on - long bootups, regular crashes and errors, slow response, update frustrations, etc. I started dabbling with Linux and found it anything but intuitive, but it still intrigued me and I stayed with it.

    Eventually, I got to the point where I was able to do all but one or two things I needed to on Linux and started finding it much more rewarding and enjoyable to use than Windows, eventually getting to the point where I needed to boot Windows up maybe once a year to use some very specific gps related software that I so far haven't found a replacement for in Linux. This has now mostly been supplanted by the replacement of my gps with a newer model that is less dependent on external software.

    Now, the progression has moved another step, and for the last year I have been able to do virtually everything I need to with Chrome OS and Android. It's hard to beat the former for simplicity and being ready to use in mere seconds. Of course, both these are based on Linux - and I still use my regular Linux machines on occasion - as well as just to play around on for fun.

  16. cmcollins001
    May 15, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    As you said, this is a completely and totally biased article, and having said that, I totally agree with you.

    I've been using Windows from pretty much since the birth of Windows. I've tried a Mac a couple of times (borrowed ones, never bought one), and personally, I find Windows the easiest to use. There was nothing "intuitive" about a Mac that made me just wish I had one. Now, if I've been using Apple products from the beginning, then this opinion would be the reverse, but the primary comfort of Windows is the fact that it's been my OS for more years than I care to admit so this is nothing against Mac/Apple, it's just personal preference.

    I'm not a novice when it comes to switching an OS or trying some new/different tech, so it's not that I'm not capable of making the switch work, I just don't want to do it. I can, will, and have rooted and flashed new ROMs on my Android phones for years, I've picked up a used iPhone every now and again to jailbreak and play with, I've tried several different Linux distros and a few other fly by night OS builds from time to time. I've even downloaded and ran an Android desktop for a little bit back in the day, but in the end, I kept going back to Windows.

    Currently, however, I use a Chromebook for personal use about 99% of the time. This was something I tested a little more than a year ago and I've stuck with it for the price point and I find it very easy and pain free to use. I pretty much live in a Chrome browser, even when using Windows, so when I tested the Chromebook a couple of years ago, I found it was very comfortable as it was an environment that I was used to using already, and in this day and age a large portion of my work and personal life is web-based. I still use Windows for work and there's only really one thing I can't do on a Chromebook (for personal use) due to having to run a non-web-based program as opposed to doing it web-based, but I can Chrome Remote Desktop into my Windows box to do that one thing. *I am not a gamer, I don't do a whole lot of photo manipulation, or video editing...most of which can be done on a Chromebook, but is best done on a Mac or Windows machine from my that makes the Chromebook a very natural choice for me. It's not for everyone and I don't expect it to be for everyone. *

    Recently I've been playing with Windows 10 on an old Dell I had laying around, and I have to say, I'm really liking the route they are going. It's been fun to play around and test, the fast start up has been a big plus. I still use Chrome for most things, but I'm giving Project Spartan/Edge (whatever name we're going with these days) a workout to see if it lives up to the hype they are throwing out, and I'll give it props as well, it's not bad.

    Microsoft seems to be trying really hard to find the balance between it's mobile users and it's desktop users and I think they've come up with something that just might work. Going from one platform to another can be annoying and finding a platform that performs well across all the devices is tricky. I'm going to have to give Microsoft some props for putting forth the effort this round.

    One thing about computing, whether it be desktop, laptop, mobile, whether it be OS or brand, it's all going to be personal preference. The best product is the one you feel comfortable using, the one that performs the functions you need it to perform, and the one you will use. There is truly no right or wrong choice, as long as what you use best meets your goals.

  17. Mordalo
    May 15, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Since I work with all three (on a custom-built PC running 8.1 with two flavors of Linux available in VMWare, and a Mac Mini to my right), I find your observations fairly spot-on, but I was surprised you didn't touch on one of OSX's biggest annoyances (IMHO...YMMV): Exiting a program.

    I realize in this day and age of memory management and systems closing programs as needed that it's sometimes unnecessary to manually exit a program (or an app, depending on how long you've been at this), but I've always found Macs annoying that clicking the red X doesn't exit the've got to go click "Quit xxx" to exit the program.

    That, to me, is a major disadvantage Macs have.

    • Cosmo
      May 16, 2015 at 6:44 am

      what's wrong with command-Q?

    • Jeff Beam
      May 17, 2015 at 5:16 am

      Ok, here's the thing about Cmd+Q, but most Mac users don't realize it because they've lived with it so long and have a sub-conscious bit of overhead running 24/7 to prevent disaster, but it still happens from time to time. If you're a Windows user new to Mac, it happens much more often until you build up your own sub-conscious routine, because it's straight up bad design:

      The Apple UI gods in their infinite wisdom placed the "kill" command - Cmd+Q - one key away from perhaps the most universally used commands in any operating system - Cmd+Tab. Ask any Chrome user who's had 30+ tabs open and lost them all because they accidentally hit the quit command when they meant to simply switch to a different program. This is why most Chrome on Mac users I know (me included) change the default tab settings to re-open all the tabs from the last session at launch. Don't believe me? Just check the "Chrome" application menu for the "Warn Before Quitting" item, which requires you to quickly hit "Q" again to close Chrome. The Chrome team, I'm sure, added this out sheer frustration. The option doesn't exist in Windows, because it's not necessary.

      There are a multitude of little annoyances like this that I encountered when growing accustomed to Mac, and that still frustrate me because I use both systems daily. For example - speaking of Chrome - when you download a file, Chrome displays a "download" bar at the bottom of the window with a button representing your download(s). I find this bar distracting and usually close it manually at some point. Since I typically maximize whatever window I'm working with in Windows, closing the bar is easy - I shoot my mouse to the bottom right corner of my screen (I keep my taskbar vertically along the left side of the monitor) and click the little "x" close button. Because Chrome is maximized I never have to look or aim for the "close", which makes this a simple unconscious task, and then I forget temporarily when I switch to my Mac that Mac has never truly understood the concept of maximized windows. I have an app that lets me maximize my windows in Mac, but shooting the pointer to the bottom right corner still misses the close button. Small thing, but annoying, and there are a lot of things like this.

      This is not to say that the reverse isn't true as well - switching from Mac to Windows I'm sure has its own little hells - but I feel like we're defending Windows here (yet again).

  18. Jeff Beam
    May 15, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    As a daily user user of both a MacBook Pro and several Windows laptops I found this article interesting and was compelled to weigh in on each point, so this is a big post :-)

    I'm surprised at the points the author gave to the Mac for superior hardware when she herself described her Vaio as a low end, cheap laptop that "wasn’t intended to last more than three or four years". Comparing the hardware is kind of moot then isn't it? Compare a higher end Windows laptop, maybe even the Surface Pro, that costs around the same if you want to deliver points one way or the other.

    I can say my experience bears this out - both my Mac and my PC laptops have SSDs and fast processors, but even though my Mac has 8 gigs of RAM compared to the 4 gigs on my PC, the PC has consistently booted faster ever since Windows 7 came out (currently running Windows 8.1). That said, boot times aren't a problem on the Mac, just take a little longer than the PC.

    Battery performance
    Again, she's comparing cheap hardware to expensive hardware - why?? Get a higher end PC laptop with the same battery specs as the Mac and then compare.

    General Nav: Intuitive vs just pretty
    Although I like my Mac and have used it everyday for the last five years, I have always felt Windows is more intuitive, and in many ways "prettier". It's hard to stay objective, but over the last few years I have helped a couple friends switch from PC to Mac and ceratin areas of confusion remain consistent - for example, the menu bar morphing depending on what you click can be disorienting at first - you're working in a program window that's not maximized and accidentally click the desktop background, and then you can't find the menu item you need because the bar now applies to the Finder instead of the program that's sitting front and center staring you in the face. In Windows there's no ambiguity about which menu bar applies to which program. Also, it often happens that, when installing some third party application that doesn't automatically put an icon in the Dock, especially for a user that's not into using Spotlight or Alfred to launch things, it's completely unintuitive that you have to just "know" to open the hard drive icon, click on the Applications folder (most newbies don't even know of the existence of this folder) and then scroll through the giant list of apps until they find the program they want. Windows has always handled this better since '95.

    Generally speaking though it is comparing apples to oranges, and subjective. There are things about the Mac interface I like, and things I find ugly and frustrating, and the same goes for Windows.

    There are more screenshot options on the Mac, but like the author, I have to look up the keyboard shortcuts every time (I've since bypassed all that by installing Skitch). Having a dedicated Print Screen key in Windows is easier (with modifiers - ex. ALT + Print Screen will grab just the active window). However, the author seems to indicate that saving a screenshot to the clipboard is the only option in Windows, which implies that she doesn't know about Windows key + Print Screen, which will save the screenshot to a file in Pictures/Screenshots.

    IMO this is subjective but skews Mac. The Mac trackpad is a miracle, and even though most PC trackpads (especially the higher end ones) have caught up in many ways, the Mac trackpad is still superior overall. That said, I prefer my Logitech Trackball mouse over any other solution, especially when trying to place the pointer or a screen element precisely in my design work. Also, the lack of window controls in the Mac is frustrating - since all the way back to Windows 3.1, you've been able to move and resize windows with pixel perfect accuracy using only the keyboard, which, once you get used to having it, is something that I am frequently frustrated by on my Mac.

    I was a long time Windows user before I got my Mac, and I tend to prefer having Home/End keys. However, as someone who switches between my two laptops constantly, I think I'm finding that the CMD + arrow keys paradigm may be easier - it's certainly easier to reach, which I think is more of a problem for a Mac user switching to Windows rather than Windows to Mac. But I think most Windows users, including me, agree that if you're used to the Home/End keys, the lack of them on the Mac is frustrating.

    Agree with the author here - there was a time when right-click context menus were clearly an area where Windows was superior, and in some ways I think the Mac still doesn't get it - for example I would love to be able to create a new text file by simply right-clicking the desktop - but right-click options are otherwise generally on par, and using a two-finger tap to trigger a right-click is genius (think the Mac came up with this first).

    Mac App Store
    No opinion here really - I install apps from the Mac and Windows App stores all the time.

    Morphing menu bar options
    I think if you're used to it this is fine, but as I described above, in my experience, long time, non-tech savvy Windows users tend to find this confusing, and I feel like it violates various usability rules - having a consistently located UI element morph silently seems odd. I prefer Windows menus.

    Start menu
    Nope - Windows definitely wins here. The Start menu has famously been one of the biggest UX wins for Windows over Mac. The Mac has always had a problem with allowing casual users to locate and launch apps quickly and easily. The Dock mitigated this somewhat, but in my experience, for apps that aren't on the Dock, non-savvy users just don't use Spotlight or Alfred (don't know why, I depend on them). EVERYBODY understands the Start menu right away.

    Like the author, I feel Windows' bad reputation is unjustified in most cases - the result of very vocal critics combined with incredibly overhyped positive marketing of the Mac, especially on Apple's part - 50% of the Mac's appeal is due entirely to marketing IMO - and I frequently hear criticisms of Windows in the media that simply aren't true.

    • bironology
      January 15, 2017 at 12:25 am

      bingo on all fronts.

      I have used both PCs/Windows and Macs since the 90s, pretty much equally. I've thought that Windows has been more intuitive since Windows 95/NT4.

      Finger is a joke.

      The menu bar system you described reminded me how much I hate that.

      As elsewhere described, the weird approach to (or not) maximizing windows.

      Customizability of the look and feel is far superior, especially since Win7.

      As a developer though, I hate tht I have to install loads of "make my windows machine pretend to be POSIX" tools like Cygwin.

      MacBooks win on hardware.
      OSX wins on terminal.

      Windows wins everywhere else, IMHO.

  19. Ed Skinner
    May 15, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    You are measuring the Mac against a Windows ruler and, thereby omitting many Mac-only superior features. I love multiple desktops. I reboot rarely - maybe once a month? I commonly have 5-6 apps not just launched but actually doing things simultaneously. For Linux-savvy command lines geeks, the Mac is pure Heaven and productivity is many times Windows. But it's true, most Windows users won't appreciate these features because they don't know how or don't need a fully capable system. Mediocre is more than they can hanrle.

    • dragonmouth
      May 16, 2015 at 12:31 am

      "For Linux-savvy command lines geeks, the Mac is pure Heaven"
      Linux-savvy command line geeks use Linux, not OS/X. :-)

    • Ed Skinner
      May 16, 2015 at 12:52 am

      Add "fink" (free) to OS/X and you've got it.

    • Bikas
      May 20, 2015 at 10:56 am

      Isn't it very very old concept that what Linux can do is not done by Windows, especially when Vim, gun4Win, Cygwin like tools availabel for Windows. In fact reverse is true, though Linux world doesn't care as Windows / Linux world don't care for OS only development.

  20. bebar
    May 15, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    I believe when you buy a laptop you have to see it as a tool for doing some tasks which require portability.
    Personaly i dont care if the device is pretty or ugly, nore if the software's GUI is prety or ugly.
    All that matters is if the laptop is fast and does the job.

    So, i would never pay 2000 euros for an apple laptop that does the same job, as a 600 euros laptop from another manufacturer, just to be proud that it is an apple device.

    I have the same opinion for all apple products. You pay much for the trademark and less for the product

    Its like buying an Armani suit for 4000 euros, while going to a tailor with half money you can obtain a suit far more better. But you can NEVER say that it is Armani.

    *** sorry for my bad english

  21. kt
    May 15, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    I agree with the author on this one. We have all 3 (doze, Linux, Mac) and the Linux gets most of our time. It's unlimited openness and customization makes it our favorite. The Mac does what you tell it, but with limited upgrades and locked down restrictions keep us from going all in. We keep Doze for gaming. I'm just glad we still have choices.

  22. likefunbuntot
    May 15, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    I split my time between OSX and Windows for client machines. Just like Windows, almost all Navigation can be done from the search tool. Option-Space should be your best friend while you're sitting at a Mac. I also find that adding the file path to the top of Finder with this command, added at a Terminal prompt:

    defaults write _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool YES && killall Finder

    to be very helpful for me since more or less every other window manager and file management tool besides Finder puts something at the top of the window.

    Also, you know what's pretty? Enlightenment. If I cared about pretty, that's where I'd spend my time.

    I don't like Apple's keyboard or pointing devices either, though I will say that I appreciate its high quality displays. On an MBP, there's a hard corner on the palmrest that makes typing particularly uncomfortable. My beloved Thinkpads aren't nearly as pretty, but they're much more comfortable to use in that respect.

    Macbook Pros are decent all around notebooks. They have good battery life. They're relatively light. They have decent mid-range discrete GPUs. For a $1500+ device, I don't think they have bad hardware aside from the human factors associated with the input devices. On the other hand, the lack of upgradable RAM and limited storage options meant that the last time my developers got new machines, I had to omit the MBP from the available options because there's no way to get a 32GB RAM Apple notebook. Between that and the hassle of Apple's retail-centric support ("just bring it to an Apple store" doesn't work nearly as well when the nearest one is 90 minutes away), I don't hold the devices in particularly high regard. They are definitely better machines than $400 vomit-class consumer laptops and I can understand how people can find the experience of owning one substantially better, but overall I'd say that Apple's products are one-size-fits-most and if your needs don't align, don't buy one.