The latest rumor is that Windows 8 will incorporate the "ribbon" interface with Windows Explorer. The feature - which put more functionality front-and-center rather than hidden behind drop-down menus - was first incorporated into Office 2007. With the release of Windows 7, it was also added to Paint and WordPad. A version of the "ribbon" interface is also included in Microsoft Office for Mac 2011.
According to Within Windows, Microsoft is thinking about adding the ribbon to Windows Explorer in the next iteration of the OS, but nothing is set in stone.
"In early builds of Windows 8, this Ribbon UI is only half-finished and, frankly, of dubious value," the blog wrote. "In fact, based on the divergent ways in which various related UI elements are repeated around the window frame, we get the idea that the use of the Ribbon in Explorer is, in fact, quite controversial inside the halls of Microsoft's Redmond campus."
Apple has just released Mac OS X Lion Developer Preview 2 to members of the Mac Dev Program. You'll need to run a software update on the first preview of Lion to prepare for the update, reboot your system, then grab a download token from the Dev Center to use in the Mac App Store to get the 3.7 GB download to update. I know, that's a lot of steps, but you get a completely overhauled iCal UI and unified contacts window in iChat for your troubles, among other things.
Today I was given a sneak peak at the current state of OS X Lion. It's now looking smoother, though it's still a work in progress.
A few nifty features have arrived since my first viewing of the nascent operating system. As has been mentioned, Lion borrows a lot from iOS, but don't forget that iOS started out as a whittled down version of Mac OS X, so the tides have turned.
Never-before seen features announced today include AirDrop, a wireless file-sharing utility; a redesigned Mail app; Resume, which presents the OS and Apps in the exact state at shutdown; Versions, which allows app developers to implement a feature that saves multiple snapshots of any document being worked on; and AutoSave, which does what its name suggests, saving documents automatically.
Apple also announced today that FaceTime for Mac is no longer beta, and is available in the Mac App Store for $0.99.
I also got a closer look at some of OS X Lion's major new interface tools: LaunchPad, Mission Control, and multitouch support, which works across the other two. Before delving into the previously unknown features, I'll share some impressions of these, which will change the way we interact with our Macs in significant ways.
Inspired by the success of its iPad tablet, Apple is transferring ideas from that platform to its next full-scale desktop operating system, Mac OS X Lion, where they make sense. Among these are the Launchpad view of all installed app icons, a full-screen view for apps, and multi-touch gesture support. Apple has said that the new OS, which is the eighth major release of OS X, will arrive this summer, but today the company made a preview version available to developers.
The update also introduces some new concepts for navigating applications and OS features. Mission Control is probably the most radical, all-encompassing of these. Combining features of Exposé, Dashboard, Spaces, and full-screen apps, Mission Control is just what it sounds like, a place to quickly access all running applications, workspaces, and gadgets.
"The iPad has inspired a new generation of innovative features in Lion," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "Developers are going to love Mission Control and Launchpad, and can now start adding great new Lion features like full screen, gestures, Versions and Auto Save to their own apps."
Launchpad looks and works very similarly to the iPhone and iPad's home screen—a grid of icons for every app installed. Users will be able to reorder and group the app icons into folders, and multiple pages of icons will be accessible with a swipe, just as on the smaller iDevices.
Last night Paul Buchheit, the former Google employee who created Gmail, tweeted his rather bold prediction that Chome OS was doomed:
"Prediction: ChromeOS will be killed next year (or "merged" with Android)"
He then added on the FriendFeed thread that Chrome OS has "no purpose that isn't better served by Android" and asking "is this too obvious to even state?" As Google started to ship CR-48 preview devices, with tech blogs reviewing them endlessly, people found themselves in front of a new type of system, one that provides much less than Android, or any other OS has provided before. Google is hoping that the web is all that many people need, and targeting Chrome OS at them. But as people started to plug in devices and finding that they don't work, being unable to do simple things like save photos from their digital cameras locally, or write a document without having to be online, it seems that the company still has a long way to go to convince people that Chrome OS is a good idea, for any market.
Read More | FriendFeed
Google already has a browser, Chrome, and a touch-based operating system in Android. Yet, the company has been touting it's upcoming Chrome OS, a system to be run on low powered devices, which will be a complete cloud OS, with no local storage or apps. The New York Times talks with Sundar Pichai, Google's VP, about some of the ideas behind the new OS. The vision is a computer that starts in seconds, not minutes. The system basically runs a browser, and everything is accessed through the web. Whether it's email with Gmail, productivity with Google Docs, or any of the myriad of online products that the giant offers. While the OS will start with netbooks, Google now sees Chrome OS expanding to tablets, laptops and TVs.
It's worth remembering however that the cloud can fail, and that an OS that is completely web centric is of no use when the Internet connection goes down. With the two Google systems, Chrome OS and Android, likely to clash in the future, it's hard to see how compelling the cloud-only option will be.
Read More | New York Times
Apple just released Mac OS X 10.6.5, the latest update to Snow Leopard. Hit Software Update to get the 680 MB download now. Here's a sampling of some of the changes and improvements this update brings:
- improve reliability with Microsoft Exchange servers
- address performance of some image-processing operations in iPhoto and Aperture
- address stability and performance of graphics applications and games
- resolve a delay between print jobs
- address a printing issue for some HP printers connected to an AirPort Extreme
- resolve an issue when dragging contacts from Address Book to iCal
- address an issue where dragging an item from a stack causes the Dock to not automatically hide
- resolve an issue with Wikipedia information not displaying correctly in Dictionary
- improve performance of MainStage on certain Mac systems
- resolve spacing issues with OpenType fonts
- improve reliability with some Bluetooth braille displays
- resolve a VoiceOver issue when browsing some web sites with Safari 5
Let us know how it goes!
“I think Windows 7 has exceeded expectations,” said Gavriella Schuster, the general manager of Windows Product Management.
The 240 million licenses sold makes up a 17% market share for the year-old OS, and 93% of new consumer PCs are running Windows 7, while 90% of companies have either made the transition, or are making it, to Windows 7.
Read More | Microsoft
When Apple announced the iPhone three years ago, the entire mobile industry started to play catch-up to what Apple was doing. It took a while, but slowly companies like Google, RIM, and Palm eventually released smartphone operating systems like webOS and Android that aimed to compete. However, not much was heard from Microsoft. Once heralded as a major player in the smartphone business with Windows Mobile, Microsoft took a hell of a long time to come up with anything that could compete against iOS, Android, webOS, and really anything else out there. Then, finally, they announced Windows Phone 7 Series, and smartly dropped the "Series" part when just about everyone made fun of them for coming up with a name that was more convoluted than necessary.
Microsoft wanted to tell the world that they were serious about competing, even going so far as to hold a funeral for the iPhone and BlackBerry. A bold (and ridiculous) statement for sure, but now Windows Phone 7 has arrived, launching tomorrow over in Europe, and arriving in the USA on November 8th. Has Microsoft actually learned anything by sitting back and observing the smartphone wars over the past few years, sitting on the sidelines while taking notes? We've been playing with Windows Phone 7 non-stop for a while now, and we're sharing our answers with you here in our Windows Phone 7 review.
Apple's Back to the Mac event kicks off in just under 30 minutes, and the company just announced that they will once again be streaming it live to Macs and iOS devices. Point your browser to the Back to the Mac live stream at 10:00 am PDT to get in on the action. We should see news of an updated MacBook Air, iLife '11, and Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.