updated 12:40 pm EDT, Wed August 26, 2009
Win 7 vs Snow Leo Debunk
A controversial report today has accused Apple of borrowing or being late to features previously available in Windows. The PC World story argues that Apple is behind in implementing 64-bit and that Exposť's new integration with the Dock, the enhanced PDF preview, and QuickTime X are all either derivative of features first seen in XP or Vista or else available separately. Author Randall Kennedy goes as far as to claim that QuickTime X is a "reactionary" move to Windows Movie Maker.
The Windows movie editing app is itself widely known to be a reaction to iMovie, which appeared as early as 1999 where Microsoft's option was optional with the late 1999 release of Windows Me and only a regular feature in Windows XP. QuickTime X is intended as a viewer with simple trimming and recording features drawn or enhanced from QuickTime Pro.
The 64-bit claim is only partially accurate. Although Microsoft was the first to implement a mainstream desktop OS with end-to-end 64-bit in Windows XP, the software often didn't run 32-bit code elegantly and was only made more viable sometime into Vista 64-bit's lifespan, when both a smoother implementation of 64-bit and many more drivers were available to support hardware. Also, Apple has supported 64-bit graphical apps since Mac OS X Leopard's release in late 2007. The Mac producer was one of the first to implement 64-bit code in any form and as early as 2003 was supporting larger memory addressing for the Power Mac G5 in Mac OS X Jaguar; terminal-level apps didn't come until Tiger in spring 2005.
Unlike Windows, Snow Leopard won't necessarily need to boot a 64-bit kernel to run 64-bit apps.
Other views in the article are believed to mischaracterize the nature of features. Apple's Exposť has already provided its visual thumbnails as long ago as 2003 and is mainly simplifying a command already available through keyboard or corner shortcuts. There is no direct equivalent to Aero Peek, which lets users mouse over taskbar thumbnails to reveal only a particular window, but Exposť addresses the issue by making all windows visible equally. Shake and Snap aren't completely comparable; they have rough counterparts in the Hide Others command and the zoom (green) button in Mac OS X.
Apple's enhancements to its PDF viewer mainly involve proper flowing for copied text and viewing multiple PDFs; despite claims, Apple has had largely correct PDF previewing for most of Mac OS X's history. The Mac implementation is also integrated into the architecture of the OS through the Quartz layer where Windows' Desktop Search and other components consider it an add-on.
Electronista and MacNN hope to touch on some of these questions further with a review of Snow Leopard in the next few days.