Snow Leopard vs. Win 7: Battle Begins August 28

Five innovations being touted by each OS's makers

Apple's latest operating system update, Mac OSX Snow Leopard, should be ready to roll on August 28, and while Apple says the new OS is "refined, not reinvented," it'll become the de facto competitor to Microsoft Windows 7 come October. We love a good argument, so here's your fodder: five innovations for each OS being touted by their respective makers.

Mac OSX Snow Leopard:

Exposé Interactivity: The feature that shows all windows together is no longer a simple means for switching among them. It will be possible to drag content from one previewed window to the other. Exposé will also work for individual applications by clicking and holding their icons in the dock. As a workaround for the miniscule preview windows in the dock, these improvements aren't bad.

Smart Services: Control-clickers will delight in new context-sensitive menus that appear when you perform the Windows-equivalent of a right click. For instance, highlighting and control-clicking text in a Web browser lets you send the text to an e-mail or import it to iTunes as a spoken word track.

Smaller Install: Pony up the $29 to upgrade to Snow Leopard, and you'll get 7 GB of your hard drive back. That's not a feature, per se, but it's certainly an innovation. The last thing we want is an operating system that's continually gaining weight.

VoiceOver: Though it won't be used by the majority of Mac owners, VoiceOver is arguably the most expansive addition to OSX. This tool for visually-impaired users essentially turns the trackpad into a screen reader, supporting special gestures to switch between windows and audio feedback when clicking.

Chinese Character Input: Okay, most of us won't use this feature either, but it's still pretty cool. After opening an input window, users can draw sketch Chinese characters on their trackpads and then select from a list of possibilities. It's as good a reason as any to start learning.

Windows 7:

Invisible Windows: The answer, of sorts, to OSX's Exposé lets users turn all open windows into bare outlines by moving the mouse to the screen's bottom right corner. From there, shaking a window makes all others minimize, and shaking it again brings them back up. A related window-management feature lets you quickly size windows to half the screen, allowing for side-by-side comparisons.

Jump Lists: It's no longer necessary to hunt through a folder of recent documents to pick up work where you left off. By right-clicking icons Windows 7's new dock (a feature cribbed from OSX), users can jump to recent documents or perform common tasks, such as resuming an old playlist in Windows Media Player.

Internet Access to Home Media: Got two computers, or a friend who wants to look at photos from your last get-together? Clicking a button within Windows Media Player opens up photos, videos, and music for streaming to other PCs. No party will ever be safe again from your weird musical tastes.

Touch Friendly: Should the touchscreen craze finally take off, Windows 7 will be ready with a mode that's tailor made for tablets. Start menu and taskbar icons are larger, and Web browsing can be done with a finger. Multitouch is also supported, with pinch and twist gestures for zooming and rotating.

HomeGroup: Sharing content between networked computers is nothing new, but Windows 7 makes it easier with HomeGroup. The feature lets any new computer joining your home network link up to existing ones, allowing for file transfers. Printers are also shared automatically, so no one has to be kicked off the master computer to print a document

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppleMicrosoftsnow leopardWindows 7

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?