PC Columnist Weighs in on Leopard vs. Vista

PC World columnist Harry McCracken, who has been using Windows Vista as his primary OS for over a year now, recently weighed in on Microsoftis next OS compared with what he learned about Mac OS X v10.5 "Leopard" during Apple CEO Steve Jobsi Monday keynote. While he said that "a truly meaningful comparison of Windows vs. Leopard [is] impossible just now," because of Mr. Jobsi unwillingness to reveal more than 10 new features in Leopard, he still offered his thoughts.

Calling Leopard "almost by definition a minor upgrade compared to Vista," the columnist noted: "Apple has a lots-of-incremental-upgrades philosophy versus Microsoftis big-upgrade-once-in-a-blue-moon approach." In addition, he said, "Leopard looks to be idiosyncratic and entertaining in a way itis hard to imagine a Microsoft product being ... Time Machineis UI, which involves windows flying through space, is quirky and fun. (By contrast, Windows Vista has no particular personality other than XP crossbred with warmed-over effects that OS X has had for years.)"

Moving on, Mr. McCracken said: "Neither Vista nor Leopard shows signs of being truly web native. Iid say itis a dead certainty that weill eventually see operating systems that are so tightly integrated with web services that you canit tell where the operating system leaves off and the web service begins ... You begin to wonder whether some other company (maybe with initials like G.O.O.G.L.E.) will be the one that builds the first real web operating system."

However, he did admit to being "bowled over" by Mr. Jobsi demonstration of VoiceOver. "Never have I heard a computer come so close to sounding like a person," he wrote.

Summing up, Mr. McCracken pointed out: "Apple still has the opportunity to surprise us with cool new features for the holidays; Microsoft probably doesnit. The fact that Microsoft has to deliver functionality through third-party PC manufacturers means that weid probably know about any major changes to Windows as an entertainment platform timed for this Christmas ... It seems a dead certainty that the iPod-Mac entertainment platform will evolve quite a bit before the year is over."