What is an operating system?
An operating system, or OS, is a piece of software that’s preloaded onto your computer. You interact with your computer through it. It manages the software and hardware. Apple OS X and Windows are the 2 main options:
Apple – OS X
Apple Macs are the computer of choice for professionals or students of illustration, design and video production - but they’re also just as good for word processing, streaming Netflix and browsing the web.
The operating system that runs on MacBooks and iMacs is called OS X. It’s also designed by Apple so everything works together seamlessly. OS X is famed for being simple to use. Whether you’re launching a program or deleting one, finding an important document or working on one, editing your photos or uploading them from your digital camera.
Bored of clicking and typing? With the Magic Mouse you can scroll the screen by dragging a finger, or swipe through different webpages by dragging 2 fingers.
Have an iPhone or an iPad? Sharing documents, calendars, contacts and media with your iMac is easy.
The smooth, fluid design of OS X is perfectly matched in the iMac. Its powerful Intel processors work with OS X to get the best from demanding creative programs. And everything looks great on the wide-angle screen. Check out the Apple iMac range.
The latest version of the operating system is OS X El Capitan.
Most useful features of OS X:
- It’s easy to set-up: There’s no lengthy, complicated set-up process with a Mac, just plug it in and away you go.
- Find your stuff, fast: Powerful apps are just a click away. Find documents in seconds with Spotlight. Keep them organised with Finder.
- Write in Pages: Pages is Apple’s equivalent to Word. You can even open and edit Word documents. Prefer Office? You can buy Microsoft Office for Mac.
- Make video and music: Budding movie maker? Final Cut Pro (bought separately) is the industry standard video software – and it’s exclusive to Apple. It turns your Mac into a portable editing suite.
- Get your stuff on any device: Save files on your Mac and pick them up on your laptop with iCloud. Take a photo on your iPhone and edit it on your Mac. Buy a new album from iTunes and listen to it on your iPhone.
Make phone calls and send texts: Left your iPhone in another room? When someone rings, you can pick it up on your Mac. Text your friends from your Mac too.
Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook. You’ve probably been using Windows for years at school, uni and work.
Windows is designed by Microsoft and can be found on computers made by HP, Lenovo, Acer, ASUS, Sony, Toshiba and more. You have plenty of choice.
So why break from tradition now?
Particularly now Windows has been transformed to give you the same experience across your laptop and tablet or PC and phone.
Windows 10 blends touchscreen controls and apps with traditional features like the Start menu and taskbar. Plus new all-in-one designs put all the workings of the PC into the screen. So you get a sleek, chic, space-saving design rather than a boxy tower and monitor job.
Many of these have touchscreens for the ultimate Windows 10 experience. Check out the Windows range.
Most useful features of Windows
- Built for work: Bash out essays in Microsoft Word. Compile spreadsheets in Excel, craft presentations in PowerPoint. Windows is built to run Microsoft Office.
- Research is easy: Read articles with the ads, menus and other distractions stripped out in Reading Mode. You can also write notes directly onto a webpage with a touchscreen PC and save as a PDF.
- Everything in its right place: Your favourite programs are found in the familiar Start menu at the bottom left of the screen. But attached to that are tiles that let you add favourite things like Netflix, social media feeds and Skype.
- Work on your tablet too: Windows works on all your devices, so you can pick up a doc you began on your laptop and finish it on your Windows tablet. The Office apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint are optimised for touchscreens.
- Access files from anywhere: Whether working on a PC or a tablet, at home or on the go, you can access the latest version of your files from OneDrive – Microsoft’s online cloud storage service.
Your own digital PA: Never miss a meeting or appointment with Cortana – your own personal assistant. Add new appointments by speaking, and find out what’s next in your schedule.
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