Yesterday, September 30th 2014, will go down in the history books of geek lore as the day that Microsoft took the lid off Windows 10. The new OS from Microsoft was unvield at a press event in San Fransisco where, to the astonishment of many in attendance, Microsoft skipped past Windows 9, and headed straight to Windows 10. The new OS will attempt to address all device and product segments with one single platform and attempt to woo those of us who did not enjoy Windows 8. Let’s take a look at the new Windows 10, and ten of the most important questions it raise.
With Microsoft Windows 10, we see the company attempt to address many of the issues that where so abundant with Windows 8. The first thing that people who are more used to using a mouse and keyboard will notice, is that Windows 10 is actually looking pretty familiar. It actually looks like a significant departure from Windows 8 in many respects… and its all not just about that damn start button.
1. Why is it called Windows 10, and not Windows 9?
Seems like the first question of just about everyone’s lips today. Microsoft reckons that their Xbox One, OneNote and and OneDrive help form the spine of the companies core product, but seeing as Windows One has already been done (actually it was Windows 1.0), the company opted instead for 10 – it at least has a one, and a zero.
The real reason of course is marketing. Microsoft’s marketing department probably sat around a table for a damn long time and chewed over the new name until they arrived at 10. Is 10 a more impressive number than 9? Probably yes, but who cares anyway. The take away for me is that they are trying to distance themselves from Windows 8, which was not so well received, especially by business and enterprise customers.
2. When can I upgrade to Windows 10?
The final, full and complete Windows 10 will probably not be around much earlier than the Microsoft Build event in April of next year, but if you are really keen to take a look at the new OS, and you happen to be either a PC expert, IT Pro or software developer, you can join the Microsoft Insider Program get hold of what the company calls a Technical Preview. The Windows 10 Technical Preview is a quite bare and probably buggy version of the new OS that will only run on a traditional x86 desktop PC. It will however allow the pros to keep up to speed with what changes are being implemented as the new OS is created by Microsoft.
3. How much will Windows 10 cost?
The issue of price is of course crucial, especially as Microsoft is no longer in the position to maintain the cash cow pricing it used to enjoy in the bad old days. There are rumors that an update from Windows 8 will be free, but Microsoft has to confirm that. My guess is that it will be reasonably cheap.
4. Will Windows 10 be designed for PCs or Tablets?
The new Windows 10 will become the definitive Microsoft platform across the entire device spectrum. That means that regardless of whether you are using a desktop PC, tablet or smartphone, the OS will be Windows 10. This hints to a new level of flexibility in terms of navigation and human interaction where the OS will know what kind of device it is loaded on, and then react accordingly.
Windows 10 will deliver the right experience on the right device at the right time. It will be our most comprehensive platform ever.
5. What about the future of the Windows Store?
There will be a single Windows Store that will serve all devices. This means if you buy an app for your Windows 10 based smartphone, that app will also be available on any other device you own, assuming you are logged in of course. Microsoft haven’t yet given us too much detail about how apps will deal with having to work on both touch-enabled and non-touch enabled device environments.
6. Will we still have Metro styled apps?
When it comes to Windows 8 on a desktop, there is nothing more annoying than a touch-optimized, full screen app popping up when you are simply trying to get things done. If like me, you are sick of these redundant apps, then I have good news for you. Windows 10 will be much adept at knowing what the hell is going is on. If it detects a keyboard and mouse, it will refrain from using Modern UI/Metro mode apps. In the long term however we may see apps developed to adapt to our usage type.
7. What about Metro optimized apps that you already bought?
Microsoft has not been one hundred percent candid on this issue, but we can see from the demo that apps can be used in a windowed mode. This should mean you can still use apps optimized for Windows 8. Windows 10 compatibility with apps generally is also unclear at this stage.
8. What has changed about the Start Button?
The start button makes a return on Windows 10 – cue huge sigh of relief. This time around however, it has been evolved to integrate something that looks pretty similar to the tiled menu system that of the Metro UI. The good news is that it is back and will give you access once again to your apps. Bravo Microsoft.
9. How is Microsoft going to win back Business and Enterprise users with Windows 10?
For those of us who just wanted to get work done Windows 8 was step in the wrong direction. The same can be said of power users. One thing (apart from the Start Button) that the company hopes will win back the productivity crowd, is Snap Assistant, a feature that allows you to better manage multi-tasking with the ability to split the screen up and arrange Windows for up to four applications. Those of us who work at home will be able to also enjoy having separate desktops setup for work and recreational usage. There is also Task View which allows you to see all running apps with a simple swipe or gesture.
10. Will Windows 10 run on my computer?
The simple answer is that it probably will. There will be no changes to the minimum requirements that accompanied Windows 8, so at least in terms x86 PC compatibility, there should be no issues. There will be the usual rush to write, test and distribute new device drivers (oh the joy…), but in general, current hardware should have no issues with Windows 10.
Windows 10 will run across an incredibly broad set of devices – from the Internet of Things, to servers in enterprise datacenters worldwide. Some of these devices have 4 inch screens – some have 80 inch screens – and some don’t have screens at all.