There are several reasons why Apple Macs are taking market share from Microsoft Windows PCs, “including the security problems in the dominant Windows platform from Microsoft; spillover from Apple’s blistering success with its iPod music players; the fact that Macs can now run Windows programs; and Apple’s highly successful chain of company-owned retail stores,” Walter S. Mossberg reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“But another key factor has been the Mac operating system, called OS X, which came out in 2001. It has proved to be as powerful and versatile for mainstream consumers as Windows, yet easier to use and more secure. And Apple has upgraded OS X far more rapidly than Microsoft Inc. has upgraded Windows, bringing out major new releases roughly every 18 months, while Microsoft struggled for more than five years to produce the latest Windows iteration, Vista, which came out in January,” Mossberg reports.

“On Friday evening, Apple will release yet another new version of OS X, called Leopard, to replace the current version, known as Tiger. I’ve been testing Leopard, and while it is an evolutionary, not a revolutionary, release, I believe it builds on Apple’s quality advantage over Windows. In my view, Leopard is better and faster than Vista, with a set of new features that make Macs even easier to use,” Mossberg reports.

“Every piece of software and hardware I tried on two Leopard-equipped Macs — a loaned laptop from Apple and my own upgraded iMac — worked fine, exhibiting none of the compatibility problems that continue to plague Vista. My old Hewlett-Packard inkjet printer, for which Vista lacks the proper software, worked instantly in Leopard, even over the network. And, unlike with Vista, it was able to print on both sides of the page. I popped my old Verizon cellphone modem card into the test Leopard laptop and it worked, too, with no software installation or tweaking,” Mossberg reports.

“Leopard isn’t a must-have for current Mac owners, but it adds a lot of value. For new Mac buyers, it makes switching even more attractive,” Mossberg reports.

Mossberg’s video review:

Full article here.

“Better and faster than Windows Vista” isn’t saying much. That’s like saying any new car is better than a recently Earl Scheib’ed Yugo. Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger — and, for that matter, Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar, and even Mac OS X 10.1 Puma — are already better and faster than Vista.

Still, overall, it’s a nice review from Mossberg who, in saying that Leopard isn’t a “must-have” for current Mac owners, is really praising the quality of Mac OS X Tiger.

Regardless of Uncle Walt’s opinion, Leopard is most certainly a “must have” for us as we strongly believe that it adds far more than US$129 worth of value to our Macs.