How Does OS X Measure Up?

Apple's OS X is one of the three main operating systems available for use with desktop and laptop computers, the other two being Windows and Linux. Each OS has its fans, and each has it merits. The question remains, however, how does OS X measure up against the competition?

Features

The core features of most modern, 64-bit operating systems are fairly comparable in style and quality. In terms of being able to address memory and handle large storage spaces, they're about the same. One standard OS feature that OS X does very well, however, is restoring to a previous state. Unlike Windows and its notoriously ornery restore system, Apple's Time Machine system get nothing but praise from critics.

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OS X also offers better integration with mobile devices, such as Apple's iPhone, and media centers, such as AppleTV. It also does a very good job of handing of information and tasks to those devices, which is a huge benefit in a world where no one keeps all their data on one machine anymore. OS X desktops can now even make phone calls and send texts via SMS. Apple's Bonjour system also makes connecting to commonly frustrating peripherals, such as scanners and printers, a breeze.

Update Process

Keeping an OS in good shape requires staying current with updates, and OS X is know to handle this very well. Most major operating systems handle common updates, such as security patches, automatically. Where OS X does better is by offering free upgrades even for fairly major upgrades, a benefit that anyone who ever tried to go from Windows XP to Windows 7 is likely to appreciate.

Pros and Cons

The biggest downside to using OS X is the relative lack of available software for the Apple OS. While programs that handle most major functionality, such as web browsing and email, are available, others are not always easy to find for OS X, or they're released at much later dates. For example, the large majority of popular video game releases, even ones that appear for PC, are never ported to OS X. Most major office and business applications, such as the Adobe Suite, are available in versions for OS X.

One big pro for OS X is the visual quality of the interface. Most Apple computers are built on a high-end physical architecture, and it shows when you compare the actual quality of the screen to a Windows or Linux PC. Similarly, because Apple maintains tighter control of the overall architecture, OS X has a cleaner interface and tends to be more user-friendly.