On the official release of Windows 11, Microsoft’s market value closed above $2 trillion for the first time, but does this necessarily forecast a successful future for the Windows 11 model?
Let’s take a look first at what we know about the new Operating System. It certainly looks smart, with a clean design that has upgraded the classic clean-cut tiles long associated with MS Windows in favour of more modern, bevelled tile icons.
But bevelled tile icons and a sleeker design are not in themselves benchmarks of success. The deal breaker? Well, they are the same for any new operating system; it’s features. Here’s what we have gleaned from the official unveiling:
- Start Menu: The Menu is integrated across all your devices. Click onto the start menu, and you get your list of apps, and a list of Cloud powered recommendations of all the apps and files Windows recommends based on all your device activity. I.e., Access MS Word on your phone, and voilà, it’ll be at the top of your start menu apps.
- Introducing Snap Layouts: Rather than simply maximising the screen, or restoring a resized tile, when you click to maximise your active window you’re now given a set of window layouts tailored to your screen size. It makes it easier to refer to two working documents at once.
- Finally fixed that annoying issue when Windows rearranged themselves semi-randomly whenever monitors were disconnected and reconnected. So instead, they will minimise windows that were on the remove to display, and put them back to their original places when you reconnect. This is going to make docking a laptop way less frustrating.
- Desktops: Lifted straight from Mac OS, Windows 11 now lets you create and switch between different labelled desktops that you may set-up for different purposes. You can, now for instance, create a ‘home space’, a separate desktop for your personal desktop with your personal use email and saved searches, and a separate desktop for ‘work’, were you keep all your spreadsheets, work email separate from personal and communication tools such as Teams or Slack.
- Microphone Mute button: Small but mighty. Sick of having to separately search for internal mute and / or speaker settings for Zoom, Teams or Google Meet? This is now way easier to access as the system tray has a universal microphone mute button so you don’t have to rummage around in your video-conferencing app of choice. They have also really pushed Teams to the forefront in Windows 11 by having the chat feature right bang in the task bar. For those of you less than impressed with Teams, you can remove it.
- The widget bar is much more user friendly. It is interactive, with real-time updates on defaults apps such as news and weather updates, but they are also opening this up to app developers so they can add their own widgets. Expect this space to grow.
- No more App ringfencing: Previously, Microsoft came under mumbling criticism about how their desktop App stores were only restricted to certain types of ‘approved’ Windows Apps (competition law anyone *cough, cough). Now Microsoft has relaxed and any Windows app is welcome. Expect to see more choice.
It would seem that Microsoft have really focused in on the changes that the pandemic has brought about. For instance, Windows 11 looks like it has put the concept of “people fitting their lives into their PC, rather than the PC fitting into the lives of people”, to quote Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay. People lead busy lives, and sometimes you’re not always fixed to the office desk or in the house. The greater device integration with your everyday MS Office Suite allows for more to be done on the go, whether that be on the laptop or mobile, you can pick it up exactly where you left off on the desktop.
The official launch was just made June 24th. With the official product launch not expected to go live until late 2021, this is only what we know from the product launch unveiling and it’s very preliminary at the minute. More features will drop as more becomes known about Windows 11. Keep an eye on this space folks.