My office runs mostly Windows. We have a few Mac PowerBooks, a few iMacs, a couple of new MacBooks. Everything else is Windows.
For the past two days I had an opportunity to work for a couple of hours with Windows Vista. It makes Mac OS X look tired, old, and sad.
This isn’t intended to be a feature-for-feature comparison of OS X vs. Vista, and I’m not ragging on my delightful 17-inch MacBook Pro. I’m not switching back to Windows.
After my first hour of using Windows Vista, exploring here and there, checking out the Gadgets, running through Excel, Word, and PowerPoint in Office 2007, I’ll admit that I was impressed.
The PC was an utterly forgettable HP model of some sort, running Core 2 Duo, so roughly comparable to the latest iMacs.
Vista ran smoothly and with no hiccups on the HP. The same for Office, Internet Explorer, and Mail, all of which worked flawlessly. Office, however, has many menu changes and will take time to make a transition, even for Windows users.
What struck me right away, of course, was the colorful similarities between Vista and Mac OS X, particularly, Gadgets vs. Widgets. That’s about it.
What also struck me in the first hour is the feeling I had back in 1995 when Windows ‘95 first hit the streets and was compared to Mac OS. I don’t remember which Mac OS version was hot back then, but I remember it was essentially black and white and shades of gray, not even Platinum.
Compared to Windows ‘95 back then, Mac OS looked old, tired, sad, and woefully ancient.
Windows ‘95 had a similar look and feel, but was more colorful and friendly.
The rest is history. Apple’s fortunes were to nosedive for a few years, while Microsoft’s first decent incarnation of Windows became a big success, and spawned future versions.
Remember the improved Windows ‘95, the hideous Windows ME? Or, the security plagued Windows XP?
Windows ‘95 and Apple’s miscues nearly destroyed the Mac back then. Today Apple is doing well, Microsoft is copying the Mac OS. Again. Things are different, right?
Well, yes and no. That first hour of using Vista was revealing, not so much for what was new, because there’s not much, but for how Vista looked when compared to Mac OS X Tiger. Tiger is tired. Vista is shiny and new.
Since most people in the computer-using world don’t know squat about Mac OS X, Windows Vista, despite whatever shortcomings may exist, will sell very well. Adoption may be slower in the business community, but most of the hundreds of millions of PCs shipped in future years will run Vista.
Did you catch that first impression? Mac OS X Tiger looks old, tired, slow, and gray when compared to the shiny, colorful, animated Windows Vista. That’s just like what I saw back in 1995 when Windows ‘95 hit the streets.
Vista’s improved firewall will reduce some of Windows security problems. In time, drivers for peripherals will be updated. In our office we still couldn’t print with Vista.
Mac OS X Tiger comes with a jumbled mess of battleship gray GUI which is spread hither and yon—brushed aluminum appplications, gray scale applications, platinum plastic applications.
It’s that shiny newness that will continue to attract buyers who know not of Mac OS X’s stability, dependability, and security superiority.
I have no doubt that Apple is biding time, waiting for the initial noise created by Vista’s launch to die down—then Leopard will pounce. When it does, look for a dramatic change to how Leopard looks, because it needs to look much better than Tired Tiger™. Eye candy sells. So will Vista.
Have you seen Vista? How does it compare to Mac OS X Tiger? How would you compare the two? Got an opinion?