Head to Head: Mac OS X 10.7 Lion vs Windows 7

The eternal question: which is better, Windows or Mac OS? With the release of a new Mac OS, 10.7 Lion, David Ludlow takes another look at this age-old debate.

Desktop

OS X's Mission Control also gives you quick access to multiple virtual desktops. These can all have their own individual wallpaper and contain their own running applications. Having virtual desktops can help segment and organise different work tasks.

By default Windows 7 doesn't have this facility at all, although it's not hard to find a free application that gives you these features. Even so, even the best add-on isn't quite as smooth as having the option built in from the start.

Bundled apps

It's hard to beat Apple when it comes to bundled applications, particularly when it comes to work support. In particular, Mail, Address Book and iCal all work with Exchange servers natively; with Windows 7, you're forced into buying the full version of Outlook.

It's hard to beat Apple when it comes to bundled applications Mail, Address Book and iCal all work with Exchange servers natively.

It's important to note that Apple's clients only support Exchange Web Services (EWS), rather than the full ActiveSync protocol. This requires Exchange Server 2007 or newer to work. It's the same restriction that Microsoft has put on Outlook 2011 for Mac, as well.

There are ways round this, both for PC and Mac, with the free DavMail Gateway. This small utility lets you connect an IMAP email client via DavMail to the Exchange webmail interface to get your email. It also supports CalDAV and LDAP for calendars and address books respectively.

In other regards Apple is way ahead of Microsoft, with iPhoto and iMovie providing much better photo and video editing than the optional Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live Movie Maker applications. However these apps are only bundled for free with new Macs they're separate purchases if you download Lion from the Mac App Store to upgrade older Macs.

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