In the first public unveiling of the upcoming Windows 8 interface, Microsoft's president of Windows, Steven Sinofsky, showed off a radically altered Windows start screen that features user-configurable tiles and looks almost nothing like Windows 7. The demo took place during this week's D9 conference in southern California.
The new interface supports gestures, snap, pin, cloud apps, new concepts like a basket for files you'll want to share between apps and services, and a hidden task bar on the right side of the screen. The updated OS is designed to work on "the hundreds of millions of PCs already out in the market," Sinofsky said.
Since it's still Windows, all devices and apps that work with Windows 7 will run on Windows 8, said Sinofsky, adding that consumers will only have to choose which device to run it on. "The interface scales from about 7-inches to a wall-screen display," explained Sinofsky.
In addition to the development screen, Microsoft showed Windows 8 running on tablets from Samsung and Lenovo.
All you Apple devs out there (meaning, anyone who coughed up $99 for a Mac dev account,) hit Software Update when you get a chance because Apple just released Lion Developer Preview 3. The update, which is build 11A4593, weighs in at 1.07 GB, and looks to be an actual seed build this time around. We are keeping our eyes out for any new features or enhancements. Also, for those interested, Xcode 4.1 Developer Preview 5 is also available.
All you Apple devs out there (and anyone who coughed up $99 for a Mac dev account,) hit Software Update when you get a chance because Apple just released an update to the Lion Developer Preview 2. Build 11A444d sits at 1.7 GB, and looks to be an actual seed build this time around. We are keeping our eyes out for any new features or enhancements. Also, for those interested, Xcode 4.1 Developer Preview 4 is also available.
Apple just released a Lion Developer Preview Update through Software Update for testers running Lion Developer Preview 2. The download for the update to the Preview of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion is almost 1 GB in size, but (at least at first glance) doesn't seem to incorporate any obvious new features. We're guessing this is just an update to squash some bugs. In fact, we now find that a bunch of apps that previously crashed almost immediately after launch (like Chrome and Evernote,) now run normally as expected. Now if only they'd fix the weird multiple monitor blank screen startup issue that forces me to unplug 2 of my 3 displays whenever I boot into Lion...
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.
Sure, Mac OS X Lion is getting all the hype, but Apple isn't resting on its Snow Leopard laurels, having just released 10.6.7. The update focuses on improving Back to My Mac, fixing some Mac App Store bugs, FaceTime improvements, and also takes care of that Thunderbolt Cinema Display issue as well. Grab the goods by launching Software Update now.
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.
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