Mac OS X Leopard has been freed from captivity and is now in the hands of keyed-up Apple fans. The question in the minds of many Apple and Windows users alike is how is Leopard stacking up to Vista out of the box? Well, for starters, Leopard has its very own “blue screen of death!” According to Computer World, a “significant number of Macintosh owners upgrading to Leopard on Friday reported that after installing the new operating system, their machines locked up, showing only an interminable — and very Windows-like “blue screen of death.” Perhaps the two operating systems are more alike than anybody ever expected?
Engadget set out to compare Leopard vs. Vista to find out if one was better than the other, and to see just how alike the two are with a feature chart showdown. Of course many of their conclusions could be argued, but the end result was this: Leopard scored a 46 while Vista scored a 41. That means that Leopard had five more features that were considered “better” and offers a better user experience. In the grand scheme of things, the two nearly scored the same with Leopard getting high scores in the software (thanks to iChat, iCal, Apple’s Address Book and more) and system tools section with Vista receiving high scores in the Media, (thanks to Media Center, and Media Center Extenders) gaming, and performance and hardware sections. Both were nearly equal when it came to security. And remember, this was “out of the box.” As Engadget points out, a few 3rd party applications could give Vista quite a bit of an edge over Leopard.
So what is someone to make out of all this? If you’ve been paying attention in the blogosphere, you probably noticed several articles over the last several months discussing how Leopard is that good that this could be the turning point where more people start purchasing Mac computers and leaving PCs behind. In Paul Thurrott’s opinion, this is no turning point for Apple at all. He says “The biggest problem with Leopard is that it doesn’t really offer enough of an advantage over Vista to make anyone want to switch.” Then he continues, “No matter. Leopard is an excellent product. Mac users will upgrade immediately or purchase new Leopard-based hardware with no regrets, and that’s just fine. But if you’re a Windows user sitting on the fence, Leopard doesn’t change the switcher equation at all.”
I think Paul Thurrott summed it up best. Leopard is a great product, there’s no doubt about that. But for those who thought Leopard was going to come in and steal the show, it’s just not going to happen. Die-hard Mac fans will remain loyal, and PC users are likely to remain loyal to Windows with a few curious enough about Leopard to go check it out. Neither Apple nor Microsoft have reason to worry until the two go at it again and release a new operating system. Any guesses on when we’ll see Apple and Microsoft launch their next operating system and how many years (if any) they’ll be delayed?
As a side note, if you’re looking for a great in-depth review of Leopard, Ars Technica put together a very thorough review that’s divided into sections for easy reading.