"This is just the Start" is what Microsoft has tweeted a bit after the Windows 11 ISO leak, followed by a June 24 11 AM EST deadline.
About two hours later, here we are with some juicy news about Microsoft latest, greatest, bulkiest operating system.
The presentation itself was a live stream on Windows' website which, let's say it just wasn't technically up to expectations. Other than that, it was a standard presentation that, honestly, reminded me of Apple's keynote style.
During the presentation, Microsoft announced several new features.
New UI, Start button, rounded corners and centered taskbar
The new version of Windows appears to have been remodeled from the ground up. Where prevously laid rectangles and squares, now sit harmonically placed rounded shapes. The windows now feel like they're actually made of something; in fact, the Widgets panel looks like a glass pane sitting on top of the screen, with blur and all.
Microsoft also announced this new, eco-friendly OS will feature more performance, better battery life and "up to 40% faster web browsing, with all browsers". That last part is interesting because it means some work has actually been done at the OS level, rather than at the browwser level with Edge.
Speaking about Edge, one of the selling points for Windows 11 was the not-so-recent addition of vertical tabs to the browser, I'm not even kidding.
Another new feature are the smarter snap layouts, «tailored just to your display»... yeah, right.
They're Microsoft attempt at the window controls introduced in macOS Catalina.
And speaking of macOS, it appears I'm not the only one to have noticed a strong resemblance between the Dock and the centered Taskbar.
Microsoft then went on and on about how Windows is smarter, how it remembers your windows arrangement when you disconnect the monitor and when you reattach it, and all those similar features that Wow cool, now what?
Microsoft Teams, right into Microsoft Windows
Another main point of the presentation was Windows 11's strong connection to Microsoft Teams, the Redmond company's alternative to Zoom, google Meet, and soon Facetime.
There is now a Teams icon on the taskbar (which I hope can be removed) that opens a very Live Messenger-looking list of contacts to quick call or (video) chat with. Every chat now also gets its own standalone window, and the whole shebang now looks more like a social network.
Microsoft had a whole section dedicated to gaming where they announced several features coming straight from their console. One where they put particular focus was Auto HDR. First released on Xbox, it gained such an amount of success that they're now putting it on Windows as well.
However, this feature requires appropriate hardware and supported games.
Another technology coming straight from Xbox is direct storage, that allows supported games to drastically reduce load times. Again, it requires appropriate hardware.
Speaking of features ported from Xbox, Game Pass is now available to Windows 11 users as part of a new Xbox app, which allows users with an active subscription to download games. You can also permanemtly purchase games on that same app.
The Microsoft Store
Microsoft has redesigned their store both on the outside and on the inside; the UI is now much more enjoyable.
They're actively encouraging developers to publish their apps to the Microsoft Store, whether they be UWP apps, Win32 apps or even Progressive Web Apps.
Notably, Windows 11 so-called commerce engine (which is just a payment processor) only takes a 12% fee on purchases, while developers can use a custom processor and get a whopping 100% of revenue, without having to share a single penny with Microsoft.
An unexpected announcement was Windows 11's built-in support for Android apps through the Amazon Appstore.
This might prove to be extremely beneficial to users running the ARM version of Windows, who can thus enjoy their favorite Android apps at their full potential.
A bit less exciting, though, is the connection with Amazon Appstore, though I wonder if it's possible to install APKs directly...
This could just be the opportunity for Chrome OS users (who have had this features on select models for quite some time) to jump to Windows.
Windows 11 isn't out yet (it is speculated to come out in October), so we'll have to wait a bit to get our hands onto this system; that said, I was a bit disappointed at the features presented. I guess they just weren't that appealing to me.
But of course, I have until October to change my mind...
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