The more I hear about Windows 8, the more of a believer I’m becoming. When it drops in September, Microsoft’s newest OS will continue what Apple began, and bring the touchscreen from the phone to the home in a bold way that its arch rival has been hesitant to do. But before the revolution becomes computerized, Microsoft is dropping sneak peaks of some of the standout features, almost in a way that rappers drop singles.
Yesterday, Yahoo revealed that the iconic, 15-year-old ‘start’ button and accompanying menu have received the ax. Instead, the user will be accessing his most used apps via the ‘charms’ bar at the bottom of the screen, as one does with the doc on OS X – Lion. Windows loyalists will probably be up in arms about the move, but it makes sense on a number of levels. For one, the interface will largely be touchscreen (yes, even on laptops and desktops) so there is a swiping command that will lead you to all your apps. Also, if the apps that are pinned to the bottom are the ones that are used the most, how often will anyone really be starting up a program that’s rarely used?
It also leads me to believe that in the near future, these two operating systems will be more similar than not, which is probably a good thing because the Windows OS was largely stagnant from Windows 95 all the way through Windows Vista. 7 has been the first release in over a decade to really jump-start some innovation and provide a good foundation for some radical progression. I’m personally looking to embrace a combination of conventional keyboard and mouse with touchscreen technology on my desktop. It’s been great on my phone thus far, but full on computers will progress multitouch into a household staple, and Windows 8 will hopefully be the one to take it the distance.