Windows 10 vs. Mac OS X 10.11: OS Showdown - InformationWeek
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6/16/2015
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Windows 10 vs. Mac OS X 10.11: OS Showdown

Microsoft and Apple are both planning OS releases for later this year. Which one is the better pick, Windows 10 or Mac OS X 10.11?
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(Image: Microsoft)

(Image: Microsoft)

It has been almost six months since Microsoft formally announced Windows 10 at a January press event. The new Windows OS has been a hot topic ever since, as gradual Insider Preview builds have let users try it out and provide feedback.

Given the progress it has showed so far, many are saying that Microsoft is "getting it right" with Windows 10, which marks a major change for Redmond. In addition to a design overhaul, the system will pack a range of updated apps, security features, and the Windows-as-a-Service structure.

After months of continuous news and Insider Previews for Windows 10, Microsoft is sharing its spotlight with Apple, which recently unveiled its own OS upgrade. 

At its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) held last week, Apple officials unveiled a number of feature and performance upgrades to iOS, Mac, and Apple Watch. Among the many announcements was the new Mac OS X 10.11 operating system, nicknamed El Capitan after the iconic rock wall in Yosemite National Park.

[WWDC: What Apple Didn't Tell Us]

Many of the updates announced at WWDC echo various products and services that we've already seen from Apple competitors. A new Proactive Assistant is markedly similar to Google's "Now on Tap" function. Apple News carries the same premise as the Flipboard app.

The latest version of OS X is no different.

El Capitan, while an upgrade to the performance and security features in OS X Yosemite, has plenty of features that show Apple is still playing catch-up and drawing inspiration from other tech giants in terms of its operating system's features and functionality.

One of those giants is Microsoft.

Apple might dominate the mobile space, but Microsoft has long controlled the desktop OS market. In an effort to address the shortcomings and errors of Windows 8, Microsoft is packing Windows 10 with a range of updates and fixes that might just give Apple a run for its money.

Now that two of the biggest players in the tech space are planning to release updated operating systems later this year, we take a look at the features and performance upgrades promised in each one. Which do you think holds greater promise? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Kelly Sheridan is Associate Editor at Dark Reading. She started her career in business tech journalism at Insurance & Technology and most recently reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft and business IT. Sheridan earned her BA at Villanova University. View Full Bio

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RussR521
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RussR521,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/3/2015 | 10:34:40 PM
Re: It shouldn't be a feature war
How so? Becuase he's an incurable fan boy?  As of 6 months ago, I'm switching to Windows--including Windows phone.  No bias here, but sorry Apple, you seem to be resting on your past laurels.  You're falling behind...and pretty fast.
rannxeroxx
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rannxeroxx,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/17/2015 | 9:50:45 AM
Re: Microsoft brings new things to the table
The point of Edge is that it is 100% compliant with web standards.  The problem with many sites is that many are written with proprietary hooks for things like Flash, Webkit, etc.

 

For enterprises, IE11 is still the standard and has full Enterprise View.  The recommendation from MS is that you have Edge as the default and note your corporate apps that requirement IE11 and the browser automaticlly lauches IE11 for those. 
JamesS436
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JamesS436,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/27/2015 | 1:49:16 PM
OSX Bloatware
OSX the past couple of years has become the very bloated, slow-to-startup, frequently hanging piece of software it was supposed to be the solution for. Sorry Apple, but I don't want most of the iCloud, Mail, and other web-based features you're embedding into OSX. Google does a much better job of integrating across my various platforms, especially Android. I still don't really care for Microsoft, but if I were buying a new laptop or desktop today it would likely be running Windows.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
6/24/2015 | 11:49:51 PM
Re: It shouldn't be a feature war
Given the primary objective of the OS is to run apps, OS X still wins by a long, country mile

How so?
Semmy30097
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Semmy30097,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/22/2015 | 5:47:33 PM
It shouldn't be a feature war
All the discussion of which OS has more features or where they were inspired is insane. First, both MS and Apple are notorious for stealing other people's ideas and commercializing them in their products (um... GUI, the Mouse, tablets, etc.). 

An OS has one primary purpose - act as a platform on which the applications can run.  The embedding of "features" into the OS is good for the casual or unsophisticted user, but most advanced users will ignore an OS' attempt at a capability if there is a better commercial app to do the task.

Given the primary objective of the OS is to run apps, OS X still wins by a long, country mile.  I don't care what number release Windows is on, until they rewrite it from scratch, using something akin to a Unix kernel (a la OS X) then it won't be as stable.  

I've run OS X for years and can count on one hand the number of kernel panics that I've experienced compared to any version of Windows which, due to it's fundamental architecture of needing separate drivers, info files, etc. encounters seizures (that dreaded blue-screen-of-death) on a regular basis.  Sure, Windows 7 was a dramatic improvement over XP and prior releases, but I wouldn't put 8 on a machine in my business under any circumstances.  Why they think I'd believe they got it right, just by skipping a release number is beyond me.  

I'll adopt Windows technology when they release an OS that can go for 4-6 months without a restart (and zero failures) like OSX routinely does.  
Mark532010
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Mark532010,
User Rank: Moderator
6/17/2015 | 11:16:16 AM
Re: Microsoft brings new things to the table
After using the Windows 10 preview for a couple of months now I am less than impressed in the user-interface. On my computer the Cortana interface appartently uses up so much processing or memory that it routinely misses the first few characters I type. Since it is built-in to the menu I now find typing in the search box to find something very frustrating as it misses a letter 90% of the time and I have to go back and retype.

Edge is completely useless for me, it is so incompatible with older websites that I have had to stop using it. Perhaps it will be better in the released code, but I doubt it, and with no compatibility mode at all a 75% solution just isn't good enough for business purposes.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
6/17/2015 | 10:49:22 AM
Re: Microsoft brings new things to the table
It's hard for me to vote now before I try both OSes by myself. As an Apple fan, I get used to Mac OS X so I would incline to use it. But EDGE in Windows 10 seems to be attractive. At least I willl attempt.
JohnS169
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JohnS169,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/17/2015 | 6:23:55 AM
Re: Microsoft brings new things to the table
I'm not sold on Microsoft's vision of one OS fits all platforms. Windows 10 is just another incremental tweak to a OS that has some real problems addressing multiple devices. Whereas Apple is just doing another incremental advance of OS X which has never done dramatic changes other then the change from a 3D Dock to a more 2 demensional one. All in all both operating systems are being forced to dumb down their operating systems for desktops because of devices using weaker hardware and wanting to expand out battery life. You wonder why Windows 10 looks more like Windows 95 in bland and lifeless icon's and Window dressing. No pop to how everything looks in OS X. Its because both companies have realized that you have to maintain some sense of support for older hardware and weaker hardware. The eye candy race is over for desktop operating systems.

I guess the question is, do you need to spend a lot on hardware these days to run such a bland and lifeless OS?

 
SachinEE
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50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
6/17/2015 | 1:34:39 AM
Re: Microsoft brings new things to the table
EDGE browser has a similar Icon design to IE. Seems like MS likes IE too much. But Edge, I am excited about because EDGE is a minimalist approach to browsers and hence it would work flawlessly in low memory situations. I won't be giving up on Google Chrome soon enough though. Even with its bad ram optimization it is undoubtedly the best browser.
SachinEE
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50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
6/17/2015 | 1:32:20 AM
Microsoft brings new things to the table
Although the Windows 8 design was a bad pimple on Microsoft's face, windows 10 looks promising and obviously people are hyped up for it. The design seems to be really good and addition of Cortana on the desktop is a good feature as well. Cortana on PC alone is news to be excited about.
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