Apple OSX Yosemite and Windows 8.1 – A Comparison

In the world of computers, there is one undisputed leader in operating systems, and that is Microsoft Windows. But does that mean that Windows is the best operating system out there? We’re going to take a look at Microsoft’s latest Windows 8.1 operating system, as well as the next most popular OS in use, Apple’s Mac OSX Yosemite.

The Operating System You Choose Comes Down to More than Just Software

Users should be aware that Windows 8.1 and Mac OSX Yosemite won’t simply run on any computer. While any new Apple computer will come pre-installed with Apple’s Mac OSX, if you’re the owner of a Windows PC from manufacturers like Dell and HP, you won’t be able to install Yosemite on your system.

User Friendliness

Ease of the usability on either system will come down to what you’re used to. If you’ve used previous versions of Windows then you will feel right at home with 8.1, and the same goes for MacOS. Apple pioneered the GUI interface that we are used to today, and Yosemite is the latest evolution of their windowed environment. Both operating systems are easy to navigate and visually appealing.

Microsoft includes a unique feature that can either add or detract from the experience, depending on what you’re used to. Windows 8.1 fuses a full desktop environment with a touch centric ‘metro’ interface. It’s like having two operating systems in one. The metro interface is great if you have a hybrid touch laptop or a tablet based Windows 8.1 machine, however long time desktop users may find the Metro interface unintuitive. The good news is that it can be mostly ignored for desktop operation.

Apple has incorporated gesture based control for mice and touchpads, but it’s not on the level of touch integration of Windows 8.1.

Bonus Software Features

Apple comprehensively beats Microsoft when it comes to built-in productivity software. A bundled word processor for lightweight tasks, instant messaging client, iMovie, iPhoto, and iWork are all added software features that will make your life easier out of the box. Apple also includes iTunes which is arguably the best music management and purchasing platform available.

While windows can accommodate programs that perform these tasks just as well (including iTunes), most will need to be downloaded manually, and some are third party paid offerings.

Both operating systems offer comprehensive cloud storage options that integrate with the native file managers. OSX Yosemite includes the iCloud service, while Windows 8.1 has Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage solution.

Security

Any computer that connects to the internet needs significant security features to protect you from viruses, malware, and unauthorized access.

Windows 8.1 and Apple OSX Yosemite differ greatly in architecture. While Yosemite is Unix based, Windows 8.1 uses its own kernel built from the ground up by Microsoft. On paper, Yosemite is more secure, however 8.1 is not far behind.

The key difference is that Microsoft Windows has far greater market penetration than Apple OSX, and this means it is more of a target for hackers and malicious parties. Windows makes up for its slightly higher risk in vulnerability because there are dozens of top-shelf security programs available. Even Microsoft’s free Windows Defender software will protect against most known threats, and its threat database is constantly evolving.

Both of these systems are at risk to security threats, and even if Windows 8.1 lags behind Yosemite the difference is almost negligible in the real world, providing users take adequate precautions with reputable security software.

Software Compatibility

The key to any good operating system is software compatibility, and Microsoft Windows is head and shoulders above OSX Yosemite when it comes to the sheer amount of software that you can run on it. Windows 8.1 (along with older versions 7 and XP) are installed on 88% of the PC’s in the world. Mac OSX by comparison only has a 7% share of the total market.

This means that mainstream software releases will almost always be optimized towards Windows. There is simply more software available for Windows 8.1. Yosemite users do receive support from major productivity apps, especially ones used for multimedia production.

Windows 8.1 is backwards compatible with almost any software produced for Windows since Windows 95, and when programs don’t work natively they can be run in a virtual environment. Apple also has the option to run virtual environments, and can even run Windows software through this process.

Which is Right for You?

If you own an Apple computer, you’re obviously going to be limited to Yosemite, and the same goes if you’re a standard PC owner. However if you’re buying a new computer, then you will have a choice between the two.

Many professionals involved in creative industries prefer Apple computers because the software is more optimized for them, and because of the added security. However, if you’re a business user, a Windows 8.1 PC is often a better choice because of its compatibility between legacy applications and the majority of corporate network infrastructures.

Between the two systems, much comes down to personal preference and budget. Apple computers come at a slightly higher premium than Windows based PC’s, but they also feature some of the best industrial design and build quality in the industry.

Choose based on your needs and your budget, and either of these operating systems will perform almost everything that you need to do with the available software, even if there’s significantly less choice on the Yosemite platform.