“Talent borrows, genius steals”, suggested Oscar Wilde. This is true in many walks of life — but while there is nothing wrong with being inspired by another person or product, it is important not to take things too far in case a lawsuit is started! It’s no secret that operating systems draw inspiration from each other… it is something that has been going on for years. While users might not like to admit it, there are numerous similarities between Windows and OS X, Windows Phone and iOS.
In the world of Windows, users are divided into many camps. There are those who are using Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 and love it; there are also those who are less than happy but soldier on regardless. There are those who don’t see the need to upgrade from Windows 7, and there are still plenty of people who are hanging doggedly to Windows XP. On the horizon is Threshold, and while this is still some way off, there is already eager anticipation and keen debate about what may change in the next version of the operating system.
There are rumors flying around that the Start menu could return and that modern apps could be run in windowed mode on the desktop. But what are you hoping to find in Windows 8.2 or Windows 9? Should Microsoft look to Apple’s OS X Mavericks for inspiration?
“Should Microsoft look to Apple’s OS X Mavericks for inspiration?”
It does not really matter whether you are a fan of Apple or not, looked at objectively, OS X has a lot to offer. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but Windows could conceivably benefit from borrowing a few ideas from Mavericks, tweak them, and make them its own. What do you think?
Much has been made of the presence or absence of the Start button, Start menu and Start screen. How about forgetting about all of them and using OS X’s dock instead? While we’re at it, wouldn’t it be great if all icons were live icons and could display the number of notifications you have? Want to know how many emails you have to read? Just look at the email icon in the dock!
Some better built in apps might be a good move as well. The likes of WordPad and Notepad have not changed in years. They do the job, but by hell they’re basic! How about a more refined look for everything? There’s scope for vastly improving not only the quality, but also the quantity of built in apps. This is something that was addressed to some extent with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 in general, but only for users who are happy to live in modern mode. How about a built in map utility that can be accessed in desktop mode? I’m not sure Microsoft need go quite as far as bundling a free copy of Office, but a wider range of quality — and genuinely useful — apps, would surely prove popular.
“Explorer is at the very heart of Windows, but it could learn a lot from Finder.
Whether you’re working in Modern or desktop mode, Windows 8 is a little on the ‘chunky’ side; OS X on the other hand is rather more svelte and sleek. This is not to say that Windows should directly copy the look of Mavericks, but the move to Threshold is a great opportunity to give the operating a complete refresh, including a more professional looking interface.
Explorer is at the very heart of Windows, but it could learn a lot from Finder. The ability to label files would be a boon, as would the ability to add notes to them. The Control Panel could be massively slimmed down. Why does Windows need more than 50 (!) applets in the Control Panel when far fewer preference panes are needed in OS X?
One interesting idea that Microsoft might want to thinking about taking from Apple’s book is making Windows available free of charge. This is something that did happen with the move from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, but it will be interesting to see if the same thing happens when there is a bigger upgrade to the operating system.
On the subject of moving forward… drop 32-bit Windows! The world is 64-bit nowadays.
What’s your opinion? Should Microsoft try to do its own thing with Windows Threshold, or should this next release combine the best of Microsoft’s own idea with those that have proved popular with OS X users?Further reading: Threshold, Windows 8.2