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maflynn

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Original poster
Staff member
May 3, 2009
67,794
35,246
Boston
I thought it might be nice to have a discussion on the differences, what each one does better then the other.

After seeing the presentation at WWDC and also First Look: macOS Big Sur With Redesign, Safari Updates, New Messages App and More

I'm rather impressed on a number of fronts, first Apple continues to roll-out extremely polished and consistent operating systems. This is the first major release in quite some time, Mavericks was the last major update, and every subsequent update was based on that.
1593083565587.png


I'm not a fan of the rounded icons, but at least thye're consistent. I never got why some were round and other were not. With that siad, windows 10 is a heck of a lot worse, with inconsistancy, just consider the control panel, and settings app. I've never been a fan of flat blue wire icons just seem so dated and for me, never really did anything.

1593083024052.png

One question is quality/stability. That has been sourly lacking in recent macOS version, particularly in Catalina.
 

grmlin

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2015
509
282
Great thread!

I think the icons look absolutely terrible, they are plain ugly. We will get used to it I guess, as always. TThe icons and the control centers scream TOUCH at me, I wouldn't be surprised if touch will come to MacOS as a late surprise at some point.
I didn't have any major problems with MacOS in the last years. It's amazing how little changed in the end since Xs initial release, but whatever. What I really hate about MacOS is the window manager. It's absolutely terrible, and it has been for years now. THey never added a consistent way to switch between apps and application instances via shortcuts, your only option is to either ignore fullscreen and spaces alltogether, or use a 3rd party tool to replace the native CMD-ALT switcher.

Windows on the other hand has come a long way, and now that I use it daily again, it feels like they stopped progressing at some point? You have some of these nice looking new apps here and there, like the settings app or mail, and a second later you stumble into a ui mess straight out of 1990.
They do great things though, like WSL. So they do care a lot for the user.
I also prefer Microsofts way of handling (major) updates. You get them when they are ready...


Regarding your last point: Every MacOS since Sierra has been rough for me, I couldn't use High Sierra at all for example because of bugs and issues. It feels like Apple just doesn't care enough anymore, or didn't focus enough on quality control.
 
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maflynn

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Original poster
Staff member
May 3, 2009
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Windows on the other hand has come a long way,
It has, no question, but there's still an incredible lack of consistency with Windows, its almost like they don't care about fixing what's already there (visually). I understand that they've been wanting to kill off the control panel, but it has apps that system administrators rely on, and UWP as of yet cannot do.
 
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mwptrsn

macrumors newbie
Jun 18, 2020
14
11
I do like the new fluent design icons that are starting to roll out on Windows, returning some color to the platform. And as someone who's dipping their toes into a more mixed ecosystem, the consistency (or lack thereof) on Windows does stand out. All that said, once you get into an application and start working it's not an issue.

But there is some nature of context switching through the different paradigms that have "stuck" with the OS over the years. macOS isn't perfect, but it's definitely more cohesive.
 
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c0ppo

macrumors 68000
Feb 11, 2013
1,793
3,158
By far the worst part of Windows is Explorer. It's outdated, clunky, bloated and slow. Worst file system manager I have ever seen or used. And just like some other parts of the OS, MS doesn't even seem to care. Or because some of their apps are so much integrated into OS itself that they become almost impossible to change :(
 
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grmlin

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2015
509
282
Windows is just all over the place. And there are definitely some things I would LOVE to configure, but can't. Like the position of the notification toasts on my ultrawide, the color of the taskbar, that sort of stuff.
But opening the hard drive tool to format and partition your drives is like using a time machine lol. You can't even use a scrollwheel in that thing.

What I do enjoy though: it's fast. (The UI) Everything is responsive. MacOS always feels like doing everything through a layer of glue or something. And the UI performance with a MacBook connected to hidpi monitors is still terrible. I don't notice anything like that in Windows.


One thing I though was pretty funny: https://itsfoss.com/macos-big-sur-deepin/
 
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motulist

macrumors 601
Dec 2, 2003
4,191
526
A few months ago I bought a new windows machine. It has some pros and some cons, but ultimately there was ONE thing that made me return it and go back to Mac.

That one thing was the Mac's help-search box built into every app. I use a bunch of different programs that are all very complex and have massively extensive menubars containing a zillion items. On the Mac if I don't know where a particular menu item is, I just type the name of that menu item into the help field and *boom* - it opens that menu item.

On windows this menu-item search feature doesn't exist. My workflows kept getting halted as I needed to hunt out menu items manually. It totally broke my work momentum.

Everything else on windows was either better, the same, or worse in a way that wasn't a big deal. But not having a search for menu items in every app was a total deal breaker.
 
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The Clark

macrumors 6502
Dec 11, 2013
427
778
Canada
So long as Big Sur is stable then I'll have no complaints. I was fortunate not to have any issues with Catalina, however I acknowledge the 1000's of users who have.

Ok one complaint actually, chill out with the shadowing on some of these new icons.. namely messenger and facetime.
 
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bjoswald

macrumors 6502
Jul 21, 2016
445
496
Florida
I think Big Sur looks amazing: more polished, streamlined, and beautiful. Then again, I think Catalina looks good too, and this is coming from a guy who's used Windows up until now.
 
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aevan

macrumors 68040
Feb 5, 2015
3,371
4,490
Serbia
Round corners everything, as far as I’m concerned. Love how Big Sur looks, can’t wait. As for Windows, inconsistency aside, I always found it a bit cold - but that is a matter of personal taste.
 
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derekamoss

macrumors 65816
Jul 18, 2002
1,276
881
Houston, TX
It has, no question, but there's still an incredible lack of consistency with Windows, its almost like they don't care about fixing what's already there (visually). I understand that they've been wanting to kill off the control panel, but it has apps that system administrators rely on, and UWP as of yet cannot do.
While I agree consistency should be the goal always, but when it comes to inconsistency on windows it's not as apparent as when it is in MacOS. Here is a screen shot of my desktop and though the icons are not consistent, I don't see ugly, unlike I would with round cornered icons mix matched in with non-cornered on the dock. I used to love OS X icons back in the day but making them iOS like just makes them to plain and probably the Apple icon designers are just lazy. That or since Tim Cook loves the iPad so much, he just finally said, lets just make it look like my awesomely magical iPad!
 

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KPOM

macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
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Windows is better at handling 3 displays than MacOS (which often forces screens 2 and 3 to mirror each other). But MacOS handles 2 displays better than Windows.

The position of the CMD key on the Mac makes so much more sense than the Ctrl key on Windows. Keyboard shortcuts are a LOT easier on the Mac as a result.
 
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Madhatter32

macrumors 6502
Apr 17, 2020
299
913
Windows is a patchwork that seemingly spans the decades. Go digging and you will discover an archelogical find. MacOS is a lot more cohesive in both design and functionality. With regard to the new icons, I liked the circle look personally but the rounded squares seem to be just fine. The rounded squares do look a lot more uniform -- so that is good.
 
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iMi

Suspended
Sep 13, 2014
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Overall, great updates. But I went through the complete list of updates and noticed that there is not a single update to the Mail app. Very disappointing as there are so many features now missing. I’ve switched back to Outlook. I guess I’ll be staying with it for now.
 
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grmlin

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2015
509
282
One more thing that I just realized.

The Microsoft apps itself are all over the place visually, too. We use the Office365 subscription in the office, so I use Outlook etc.

- you have some native versions that look like ***t and feel outdated
- you sometimes have some Windows 10 versions that look and feel great (OneNote for example)
- you have webbapps that can even be "installed" locally as a PWA

It feels like they just don't know what they want to do with their design, apps, etc.




On a sidenote: WSL (the linux subsystem) is genious. I just did a clean install on my P53 as I just messed around a little bit too much, and importing my old WSL and being ready to go with work in minutes is bloody fantastic. It has all the benefits of using a VM but without the performance penalty. And it just gets better when MS keeps pushing it like they did in the past. Great stuff!
 
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Stackin

macrumors member
Nov 2, 2019
55
105
UK
My pet hate about Windows is that they keep moving things around. As soon as you learn where everything is they change it. MacOS has worked in a similar fashion since I bought my first Macbook running Snow Leopard. This gives consistency and each new iteration of the OS is familiar.

While I’m on my soapbox, any Windows OS has too many ways of doing the same thing. For example, just closing a window can be done my clicking on the X (top right), double clicking the window top left, ALT-F4, CTRL-Q, ALT-Space-C.

Why!? 🤯
 
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duffyanneal

Contributor
Feb 5, 2008
678
104
ATL
The Microsoft apps itself are all over the place visually, too. We use the Office365 subscription in the office, so I use Outlook etc.

It feels like they just don't know what they want to do with their design, apps, etc.

I completely agree. You see this across other areas as well at Microsoft. It's like they don't have one person or team that has oversight over everything. All these different silo'd teams that don't work together. That is a failure of upper management to bring these teams together. As someone who has owned several Surface products I've experienced numerous issues with my Surface device after a Windows update is released that causes severe hardware problems. If Microsoft can't be bothered to test their software releases on their own hardware what hope does everyone else have? Panos Panay taking over the Windows division while still overseeing the hardware/marketing teams may help. I hope so as they seem to be completely lost these days. In some regard, I think Apple is missing that person as well. Steve was that guy, but it's apparent that Tim isn't that guy. Tim runs a tight ship and can make a penny squeal, but he doesn't have the eye nor the personalty (too nice) to be that guy. Steve was an a$$, but he knew what he wanted and made sure others did as well.
 
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mwptrsn

macrumors newbie
Jun 18, 2020
14
11
One more thing that I just realized.

The Microsoft apps itself are all over the place visually, too. We use the Office365 subscription in the office, so I use Outlook etc.

- you have some native versions that look like ***t and feel outdated
- you sometimes have some Windows 10 versions that look and feel great (OneNote for example)
- you have webbapps that can even be "installed" locally as a PWA

It feels like they just don't know what they want to do with their design, apps, etc.




On a sidenote: WSL (the linux subsystem) is genious. I just did a clean install on my P53 as I just messed around a little bit too much, and importing my old WSL and being ready to go with work in minutes is bloody fantastic. It has all the benefits of using a VM but without the performance penalty. And it just gets better when MS keeps pushing it like they did in the past. Great stuff!

WSL and the new terminal are really, really nice. MS is doing some pretty great stuff on the development front these days.
 
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AndyMacAndMic

macrumors 6502a
May 25, 2017
822
1,281
Western Europe
While I’m on my soapbox, any Windows OS has too many ways of doing the same thing. For example, just closing a window can be done my clicking on the X (top right), double clicking the window top left, ALT-F4, CTRL-Q, ALT-Space-C.

Why!? 🤯

What's wrong with a lot of choices? You can only use one if you want. People who like using the keyboard can use their choice of shortcut keys, people who like the mouse can use the mouse in different ways :p.

Don't get me wrong, I agree that Windows has a lot of luggage for backward compatibility which can lead to inconsistencies (especially in the UI), but having a lot of choices to do the same things is for professionals more like a pro than a con. I am not saying you are not a professional of course ;)
 
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grmlin

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2015
509
282
WSL and the new terminal are really, really nice. MS is doing some pretty great stuff on the development front these days.
Microsoft really performed a 180° in terms of open source etc. over the last decade. Great stuff. And WSL 2 really is working fantastic. I hope that the coming Linux GUI support in Windows runs great, or they fix the i/o performance of mounted folders... that's the only thing that's slightly annoying when you don't want to use VSCode with the remote extension.
 
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xWhiplash

Contributor
Oct 21, 2009
3,708
2,375
I never pick any sides. I like all three systems and use which one suits my needs with the task I need to perform. I do prefer macOS for daily use on top of some professional needs. Windows 10 gets too in your face at times. They all have their advantages and disadvantages.

macOS: General use, Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, Garageband, Graphic Design with either Adobe or Affinity software.
Windows: Software Development with Visual Studio and playing games
Linux: Server type environment, useful for NAS setups, some development environments like Docker

I use all three daily. But if you force me to pick one it will be macOS. I actually do not think Windows 10 has come a long way like others here. I use it daily for work and have several computers at home with Windows 10. I have had WAY more issues with Windows 10 than I ever did with Windows 7. Every major update in Windows 10 gives me nothing but issues and it is quite irritating.
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Windows is better at handling 3 displays than MacOS (which often forces screens 2 and 3 to mirror each other). But MacOS handles 2 displays better than Windows.

The position of the CMD key on the Mac makes so much more sense than the Ctrl key on Windows. Keyboard shortcuts are a LOT easier on the Mac as a result.

I find the opposite to be true actually. Make sure you check your display settings, as I have three displays and I never once encountered the issue you are referring to in macOS. in macOS I am able to utilize the multiple desktop PER monitor. Windows 10 I need to switch the multiple desktops for all three monitors at once.
 
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Stackin

macrumors member
Nov 2, 2019
55
105
UK
Nothing wrong with a lot of choices, but it just outlines the care and thought that goes into MacOS design compared to the mountain of legacy UI stuff that is part of Windows. I do use many of these obscure Windows shortcuts by the way!
 
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mwptrsn

macrumors newbie
Jun 18, 2020
14
11
Microsoft really performed a 180° in terms of open source etc. over the last decade. Great stuff. And WSL 2 really is working fantastic. I hope that the coming Linux GUI support in Windows runs great, or they fix the i/o performance of mounted folders... that's the only thing that's slightly annoying when you don't want to use VSCode with the remote extension.

Yeah - I do a lot of data science work so I often need a text editor that handles big files better than VSCode or something does. I usually just resort to vim or something for that.

I'm really excited for the native GPU support as well for deep learning stuff.
 
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