When Microsoft, Apple or Linux release a new operating system (OS) they are balancing the need to be new and innovative, improve security and expand the feature set while at the same time having to maintain a user experience that is similar enough to the last version that consumers don’t have to relearn everything just to use their computer.
Most of the time we simply adapt, teach people how to navigate the changes and benefit from the newfound advantages. For example, for years most graphical versions of Linux have had multiple desktops you could jump between. When Apple released OSX 10.5 Leopard, “Spaces” was introduced bringing a pretty good version of that feature to Apple. Then, with OSX 10.7 the spaces became a much more powerful feature when it was combined with the multi touch, because you now simply swipe with three fingers between as many desktops as you want. Most recently Apple raised that bar even further in OSX 10.9 Mavericks by allowing you to swipe separately between desktops on multiple monitors. So if you are presenting on a projector you can line up whatever specific items you want to present on multiple desktops while keeping the freedom to move between screens on your other monitor separately.
Microsoft made a huge leap with Windows 8 that was a logical response to the iPad. The assumption is that if the public loves the portability and tactile experience of physically touching the screen and the use of specific apps to do specific tasks then combining an iPad like tablet experience with the ability to use all of the standard desktop applications like Microsoft Office would potentially be the next biggest step forward toward a product that people will truly love. I believe the Windows 8 OS combined with the Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2 has really accomplished that goal and all of my customers who have them love the devices. Unfortunately Microsoft, unlike Apple, decided to make this move without keeping a separate development team working on the non-tablet version of the OS, and as a result the primary customer base of Windows users has been confused using an OS that was created for a touch screen on computers that do not have a touch screen.
Windows 8.1 is very helpful to lower that confusion but in reality it is still not designed for non touch screen users, it simply gives more instructions on how to use the less than obvious features, like how to print or search.
My hope is that Microsoft will develop a new OS that is designed for the desktop user and keep moving forward separately with the Windows 8 concept for the tablet market. Until then most of our customers are really happy with Windows 7 and OSX 10.9 Mavericks for desktop OS needs.
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