Mac vs Windows UI Comparison

By Michael Flanakin @ 7:14 AM :: 11127 Views :: Technology, Microsoft, Predictions, User Experience :: Digg it!

Here's an interesting comparison of the user interfaces for Mac and Windows over the past ~13 years. I found it somewhat interesting, so I put a little more effort to see which ones came out first, hence the timeline below the UI comparison...

Mac vs Windows UI comparison

Mac vs Windows UI comparison

In the timeline, I marked the significant releases in red. This is just my opinion, of course, and others may think otherwise. The first thing I have to say is they should've included Windows 3.x, which is fairly similar to MacOS 7. Also, I want to say MacOS 7 is relatively similar to previous releases, visually, but I'm not 100% sure. Aside from that, if you compare it to the above UI comparison, you notice that Apple did a good job of pumping out releases fairly quickly, but Microsoft beat them to the market with Windows 3.0. Windows 3.1 was the release that really caught on, tho. Of course, the big story was Windows 95. I want to say Windows 95 had the largest release in the history of personal computers. The 7 year stagnation between MacOS 7 and 8 is probably the worst thing Apple could've done. I don't know about the promises at the time, but this was worse than the Vista release! Beyond that, MacOS 8 wasn't even much of an improvement. In my mind, Windows 95 leap-frogged MacOS, who wouldn't come close to catching up until 5.5 years later, with MacOS X. To say that another way, Apple couldn't beat Microsoft until they dropped their main code-base and started with Unix. I think that says a lot about the quality of Apple's code. Ok, maybe that's a low blow, but whatever. 9 months later, Microsoft released Windows XP, which gave Windows a bubbly/cartoony UI... which I have always hated. Finally, Windows Vista hits the streets in 2006 with a lot of big improvements, arguably the biggest upgrade since Windows 95. Of course, with such a huge market behind Windows, Microsoft can't survive without its vendors, which is the biggest reason Vista isn't on every desktop... well, the Windows users' desktops, at least. Lastly, the next incremental release of MacOS X was released last month. "Leopard" has a few very nice features, but isn't really a huge upgrade. Honestly, since MacOS X, Mac users haven't seen any big changes. So, we're coming up on 7 years since the last major Mac upgrade. Don't you think it's about time we see something big? Don't expect it, tho. I'd put my money on the next version of Windows coming out before a major upgrade to MacOS. Of course, Windows "7" may not be as big as I was hoping. Those changes may be reserved for the Windows 8.0 release, which I'd guess would be around 2012. Man... that's forever!