Microsoft's Windows 7 to bring Apple-tinged design changes

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
At its Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft has shown Windows 7 to the public for the first time and has revealed a user interface with some of the largest changes to the operating system's interface since Windows XP -- if not earlier -- and which bear slight resemblances to Apple software.



The public appearance on Tuesday has shown an interface that may be familiar to long-time Windows veterans but which also rethinks concepts that have existed since the introduction of the taskbar in Windows 95 more than 13 years ago.



Like Apple's Dock in Mac OS X, Microsoft is now taking a more minimalist approach to its task management and has reduced the taskbar to a sliding list of icons that includes both running software and shortcuts to commonly-used titles. A new context-sensitive menu item, known as a jump list, lets Windows 7-aware programs offer some of their built-in functions without having to switch tasks -- a function already present in Mac-oriented programs like iTunes, which supplies basic track navigation without having to bring iTunes to the front or invoke its Dashboard widget.



Other changes to the taskbar, however, are meant to improve window switching and are potentially faster than tricks such as Expose in Leopard. Mousing over any active program's icon in the taskbar shows all open windows, while users can also quickly peek at the larger contents of a window just by mousing over the thumbnail, which temporarily brings the window to the front.



Windows 7's taskbar: active programs have borders that show the number of windows.



The Windows 7 desktop; system tray at bottom right, desktop gadgets (widgets) in background.



Besides these additions, Windows 7 should have several changes to other parts of the operating system that are either intended to simplify common actions or to eliminate nagging quirks of Vista. The system tray is now locked into the place and won't show third-party apps that the user hasn't authorized; the Gadget sidebar has been scrapped in favor of desktop items; dragging windows to the screen edges resizes them automatically based on context. And Microsoft's now notorious User Account Control, which was attacked by critics as imposing security prompts too often, can now either be toned down to infrequent warning-only messages without being shut off entirely.



A new file system feature dubbed Libraries lets users view files of particular types or content in special modes without having them located in a particular folder or launching a search. Additionally, the ribbon interface from Office 2007 will port over to key Windows apps to try and reduce the clutter of menus in those components.



At a deeper level, Microsoft also plans for a FileVault-like drive encryption system known as BitLocker, a Device Stage service for managing cameras, peripherals and other plug-in hardware, and better maintenance that includes protection against unstable drivers that repeatedly crash the system. Windows 7 should also perform much more smoothly on low-end hardware and, according to multiple live reports, was demonstrated at the conference running well on a netbook. Until now, Microsoft has been forced to offer Windows XP for these systems to avoid handing the market to Linux.



A Windows 7 Library showing photos from the entire system sorted into groups.



Paint in Windows 7 is one of multiple apps using the ribbon toolbar at top.



The introduction of Vista's eventual successor comes at a critical time for the Redmond, Washington-based company. It recently launched a $300 million ad campaign in an attempt to mend the public perception of today's Windows as broken but which also avoids mentioning Vista by name -- a trait which Apple has been keen to exploit in its latest "Get a Mac" ads, which jab Microsoft for purportedly being ashamed of its own product. Some businesses home users have yet to adopt Vista due to compatibility and performance problems that prevent these groups from using legacy hardware or software.



Despite the relatively complete showing of version 7, though, Windows users still have a significant wait before it's made available as a finished release. A test version released to attendees is described as pre-beta and will require at least one additional beta and customer responses before a final ship date, which Microsoft has estimated is most likely for early 2010.



Apple's Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard is due in mid-2009.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 122
    Unsurprisingly, it looks like shit.
  • Reply 2 of 122
    albimalbim Posts: 68member
    Why doesn't microsoft just get it over with and make a dock? "Sliding list of icons" of "dock"
  • Reply 3 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kim kap sol View Post


    Unsurprisingly, it looks like shit.



    You're being too kind. Most linux distros look better.
  • Reply 4 of 122
    Looks like Lipstick on a Pig. It is still a pig under the makeup.
  • Reply 5 of 122
    I can't believe it! Steve Jobs, was right. Microsoft does have their copy machines fired up. It still must be in the beta stage, it doesn't completely look like OSX yet. I'm sure a few years from now they'll be claiming they invented the dock.



  • Reply 6 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by VisualZone View Post


    You're being too kind. Most linux distros look better.



    http://www.dreamlinux.com.br/



  • Reply 7 of 122
    I think they should drop the pretenses and just call it Windows 10.7.
  • Reply 8 of 122
    Even IF it was as good-looking as OS X, as functional as OS X, as easy to use as OS X, none of which seem likely....



    Is it going to be as stable and secure as OS X? Yeah, I didn't think so!
  • Reply 9 of 122
    Apple uses the perfect amount of eye candy in OS X; Microsoft completely overdoes it in Windows. Do they seriously think that having reflections and transparencies everywhere makes the OS usable? Just looking at the screenshot makes me cringe - they really need to hire some new GUI people if they want to even try and compete with Apple.



    Apple is known for beauty, usable simplicity, and elegance.

    Microsoft is known for clutter, excess, and gaudiness.



    Yeah, PC machines can be cheaper in some cases, but you get what you pay for.
  • Reply 10 of 122
    walshbjwalshbj Posts: 864member
    Those planes look ok I guess.
  • Reply 11 of 122
    kkerstkkerst Posts: 330member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ALBIM View Post


    Why doesn't microsoft just get it over with and make a dock? "Sliding list of icons" of "dock"



    I believe Apple recently filed a patent for the doc, so they can't copy it without getting sued or paying Apple to use it.
  • Reply 12 of 122
    It seems like Microsoft's operation system's (G)UI has become worse and worse by release, whereas Apple's operation system's (G)UI has become better and better by release.



    Microsoft should stop trying to copy Apple and go their own way. I wonder if Mac OS 10.6 will have any (G)UI changes....
  • Reply 13 of 122
    tinktink Posts: 395member
  • Reply 14 of 122
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 967member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bobertoq View Post


    It seems like Microsoft's operation system's (G)UI has become worse and worse by release, whereas Apple's operation system's (G)UI has become better and better by release.



    That's why one's on the way up and the other's on the way out.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bobertoq View Post


    Microsoft should stop trying to copy Apple and go their own way. I wonder if Mac OS 10.6 will have any (G)UI changes....



    When have they ever done this? Since the ruling Windows has only ever been a (bad) copy of MacOS.



    McD
  • Reply 15 of 122
    wobegonwobegon Posts: 764member
    It's fun to watch Microsoft chase the glitz and shine of Mac OS X Jaguar and Panther as Apple moves forward to a far more sophisticated GUI in Leopard and (presumably) Snow Leopard; as someone called it, "Sun-Dried Aqua." The sad thing is, Mac OS X at its worst so many years ago still looks better than Windows 7 will when it's released a year and a half from now (if they meet their own deadline).



    Now excuse me as I wash out my bleeding eyes.
  • Reply 16 of 122
    Oh, just quit it.



    #1) The sidebar is clearly STILL visible. In Vista you can move the gadgets out of the sidebar and place then anywhere. And unlike Dashboard they are always visible on the desktop and can be open and visible while another app is open so you can reference RSS feeds or weather or the calendar.



    #2) In OS X, you have the menu bar and the dock. The dock doesn't cover the whole area of the screen unless it is filled with apps. The taskbar covers the whole bottom area of the screen, including the start menu. You don't have stacks. You do have task notifications that in OS X you get from the menu bar not the dock (or taskbar) The only difference REALLY from Vista or Windows 95 is that there is no text associated with open apps.



    But hey... Oh well, why get OS X *when all the OS X people say Windows looks just like it but works with my existing apps and has Windows Media Center which is so much better than Front Row and comes free with a cheaper PC.



    THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO PROMOTE OS X



    Next Microsoft will be accused of copying OS X if they include notepad. *OMG, our OS has textedit. How dare they. I really don't see this copying that you see. Yes features from other OSs will be implemented in each other. Just like every OS has text editor, or has a browser (OMG, They copied Microsoft and bundled) or now RSS, and now Gadgets or Widgets. Personally I wish there was a way to move the Widgets to the desktop and keep them open and viewable while I work on something else.
  • Reply 17 of 122
    Call me crazy, but I'm actually liking the changes.



    I just hope that ALL things will show up in the dock ...err... umm.. task bar. Right now (in XP, I have no clue about Vista) some windows don't show in the task bar (properties windows, some control panels, etc.) Makes it a pain to get back to them when you have a lot of windows open.



    Although if my work would just let me use a MBP I wouldn't have this problem
  • Reply 18 of 122
    samnuvasamnuva Posts: 225member




    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tink View Post






  • Reply 19 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by UltimateKylie View Post


    Personally I wish there was a way to move the Widgets to the desktop and keep them open and viewable while I work on something else.



    there are ways: http://mac.elated.com/2008/07/27/how...-your-desktop/
  • Reply 20 of 122
    nuttsnutts Posts: 25member
    As somebody who hates Vista (I stupidly bought a Vista laptop for my girlfriend) I think this is looking like what Vista should have been, and isn't bad looking - perhaps because they *are* taking hints from OSX.



    Anyway, nobody has yet mentioned here what other people have been rumouring at for a while - that Microsoft is most likely heading for a mid-2009 release of Windows 7. So we'll have this and 10.6 out at about the same time. I really think that is a possibility.



    Plus I think they're secretly working on WM7 too, so they can release that at the same time. The whole 'delayed till 2010' messages I think were just to cover their arses and make it so that they beat expectations this time instead of under-deliver like always.



    Thoughts?
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