Apple's Leopard demolishes Microsoft Vista. - By Harry McCracken - Slate Magazine:
Apple is smart to underpromise and overdeliver. Its approach stands in contrast to that of Microsoft, which trumpets each new version of Windows as an epochal breakthrough, thereby raising expectations so high that it can't possibly meet them. Windows Vista, for instance, has been saddled with the slogan "The Wow Starts Now" and an ad campaign that claims the OS leaves users speechless with wonderment. It turns out that "wonderment" isn't quite the emotion that Vista has evoked. Nine months after Microsoft's new operating system reached consumers, it's been forced to reassure customers that they'll be able to order new machines that run Windows XP, not Vista, well into the foreseeable future.
It's easy to understand why many PC users are clutching onto the six-year-old XP. The new version of Windows is rife with new features that are half upside, half downside. The 3D Aero user interface is slick and modern … but it's such a resource pig that the $1,000 PC I bought after Vista shipped can't run it reliably. On the security front, a feature called User Access Control can help keep you safe from hackers … but its in-your-face nag notes are so irritating that it's tempting to turn the whole thing off and take your chances. Vista offers better technical underpinnings than XP for sophisticated applications yet to come … but many existing programs and add-ons won't ever work with it.