Apple's Mac OS X El Capitan goes head to head with Windows 10

At the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple unveiled El Capitan, its latest operating system (OS) – but how does it compare to Windows 10?

Apple has unveiled the next update to the Mac OS operating system, which includes gesture control via the MacBook’s trackpad, but no touch-screen support.

With the new Mac OS X El Capitan Apple said it had focused on improving performance and usability, but the OS lacks features rival Microsoft will embed into its forthcoming Windows 10 release.

Apple has re-engineered the core graphics engine in Mac OS X. Called Metal, the graphics core technology gives games and apps near-direct access to the graphics processor, according to Apple, which has the same objectives as DirectX 12, in Windows 10. 

On its website Apple said: "Metal allows the main processor and graphics processor to work more effectively together, boosting high-performance apps. Metal speeds system-level graphics rendering by up to 50%, as well as making it up to 40% more efficient."

Natural text querying is another addition to Mac OS X El Capitan through a feature called Spotlight; but again, unlike Windows 10 – which includes Cortana for speech-based natural language queries – Apple has not taken its iPhone Siri technology over to the Mac.

The two operating systems now offer an easy way for users to split windows in full-screen mode. Apple’s is called Split View.

Apple intends to make Swift programming language open-source

Apple responded to Microsoft’s strategy to establish Office 365, Outlook and OneDrive as a platform-agnostic office productivity suite, with a new Notes app, improvements to its email client and an attachment browser. These are designed to give Mac users a way to share notes, URLs and attachments with their iPhone and iPads.

Like Microsoft, Apple has begun targeting the open-source developer community. Microsoft released a version of Visual Studio called Visual Studio Code for Ubuntu. Apple has updated its Swift programming language for Mac, iOS and watchOS (for the Apple Watch) – and said it will be making it available as an open-source project.

There is little evidence on the Apple site of how Mac OS X El Capitan will support Mac devices in the enterprises, or how it will behave in a heterogeneous IT environment, where people may be running Windows or Android. 

Apple tends to dictate device choice. This probably makes little difference to the congregation at the Apple WWDC 2015 conference and those who have grown loyal to the company's brands. But the lack of a touch user interface (UI) and voice control makes this latest update to Mac OS X less compelling compared with the feature set Microsoft has included in Windows 10.

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