While most of the news world is abuzz over Apple's iOS 8 and the recent release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Microsoft has come forward with its own new advancements. Specifically, the company gave users a first look at their latest operating system, Windows 10.
Although the September 30th presentation featured only a brief look at the OS in action, Microsoft promises that Windows 10 will be a major step forward for PC users. At the same time, though, they hope to deliver an experience that is "familiar, compatible, and productive."
With that in mind, it came as a surprise to see that Windows 10 looks a lot like Windows 8. Granted, the OS sports a start menu and task bar right of the gate, but for all intents and purposes the visual aesthetic of Windows 10 is not that different from 8. Here's a quick overview of the new, announced features:
- Expanded Start menu. The familiar Start menu is back, providing quick one-click access to the functions and files that people use most, and it includes a new space to personalize with favorite apps, programs, people and websites.
- Apps that run in a window. Apps from the Windows Store now open in the same format that desktop programs do. They can be resized and moved around, and have title bars at the top allowing users to maximize, minimize and close with a click.
- Snap enhancements. Working in multiple apps at once is easier and more intuitive with snap improvements. A new quadrant layout allows up to four apps to be snapped on the same screen. Windows will also show other apps and programs running for additional snapping, and it will even make smart suggestions on filling available screen space with other open apps.
- New Task view button. The new Task view button on the task bar enables one view for all open apps and files, allowing for quick switching and one-touch access to any desktop created.
- Multiple desktops. Instead of too many apps and files overlapping on a single desktop, it’s easy to create and switch between distinct desktops for different purposes and projects — whether for work or personal use.
Most of the big "improvements" for Windows 10, for example, are changes that bring back useful features from prior OS releases or fixes based on Windows 8 complaints. Adding a search bar back to the task bar should be a footnote, not a focal point.
And speaking of the naming, Microsoft was quick to point out that once users see the OS in "its fullness" they will agree that Windows 10 is a "more appropriate name." We're not one to criticize companies' naming strategies, but Microsoft has made some strange choices as of late. First, they go backwards and name their new console the Xbox One, and then they skip a number and opt for Windows 10.
As far as what Windows 10 will do to improve gamers' lives, we're still mostly in the dark. A Technical Preview program is said to begin on October 1st, so perhaps we will know more by then. We expect big things from Microsoft in the gaming space, at least if the company is still standing by its rededication to the PC gamer. Purchasing Minecraft developer Mojang was a start, but we still have no clue what might become of that deal.
Again, the Technical Preview is slated to release on October 1st, but for now Microsoft is focusing on enterprise customers. It's a smart move on their part considering most businesses skipped out on Windows 8.
What do you think of Windows 10 so far? Would you be interested in upgrading?