I’ve written about Apple’s OS X many times before, and it’s no secret that I’ve long been impressed with Apple’s operating systems. This month, I reviewed the MacBook Air, which gave me the opportunity to spend some quality time with Apple’s latest OS, Leopard, and I had an epiphany: Windows users are in the same exact position that Mac users were in 1999.
Think back to the turn of the century. Windows 2000 was fresh and new. Power users were basking in the glow of a fully 32-bit operating system that supported power-user tasks, playing games, and listening to MP3s. It was a golden age for Windows users, with the promise of an even better version of Windows on the horizon. On the other side of the personal-computing fence, Apple folk were either struggling with the laughably antiquated Mac OS 9 or dealing with the not-ready-for-prime-time first release of OS X, which lacked crucial features like a 2D-accelerated desktop and native versions of popular apps. If you bought a Mac in early 2000, you had to choose between the old and busted OS 9 or the new but premature OS X.
Today, PC purchasers are in a similar situation. On one hand, we have XP. Windows XP isn’t quite as old and busted as OS 9 was back then, but it still suffers from security issues and doesn’t support the latest and greatest technologies. Then there’s Windows Vista. While Vista has definitely improved since launch, I don’t think many folks would describe it as a worthy successor to XP—especially people who have to act as tech support for friends and family.
Unfortunately, while Mac users could see the light at the end of the tunnel in 2000, Windows users are currently in limbo. As we went to press, we saw the first public demos of the next version of Windows—code-named Windows 7—and we were underwhelmed. For the sake of our platform, I sincerely hope that Microsoft starts showing us a Windows 7 that will inspire PC users in the same way that OS X inspired Mac users almost a decade ago.
On a completely unrelated note, I’d like to announce that Michael Brown is leaving the confines of the Maximum PC offices so that he can scour the PC universe as our Editor at Large. In his new role, Mike will cover a lot of the hardware products he has always reviewed, as well as write about emerging technologies and breaking news. I’m also pleased to announce that we’re adding another face to the Maximum PC staff. Norman Chan, PC Gamer’s long-suffering intern, has defected to Maximum PC to run our day-to-day web operations. Thanks Mike, and welcome Norm!