Windows 8 : An Apple user’s view!!!

Before I start with the review, I would like to inform you that I’m an Apple user in every sense of the word.My computer’s a MacBook Pro, tablet’s an iPad & phone’s an iPhone. I’m as immersed in the Apple’s ecosystem as much as one could be. But still somehow Windows 8 caught my much needed attention. As I’m sure you’ve read, Windows 8 is a massive detour from the traditional desktop computer experience but this sort of innovation encouraged me to give it a try (also I wanted to test out Office 2013).

This article isn’t actually a review, but rather my impressions with Windows 8 as someone who’s not properly used Windows in nearly two years and a comparison to my experiences with Windows 8.

Let’s start with the UI

Arguably Windows 8′s most notable feature is its new interface style, the Windows 8 UI that was formally called Metro. Metro is pretty different to any version of Windows before it, and to Microsoft’s main competition that is Apple. After being popularised on Xbox and Windows Phone, Windows 8 brings the distinctive, squared Metro style to your desktop and tablet, changing the way you launch apps in the process.

The default method of launch apps as tiles on your homescreen is very similar to Launchpad on OS X and iOS and came pretty easily to me. In fact, it’s kind of nice to be able to organise applications in this way rather than having them all dumped in a folder like on OS X.

Microsoft have to be commended for just how polished the Metro-influenced Windows 8 is, compared to earlier versions of the operating system. I’ve always felt Windows looks terrible compared to OS X — especially its typography — and while still not perfect, Windows 8 looks much, much better.

Every aspect of Windows just looks so much better and that extends beyond simply design, with the operating system representing the fluidity I’ve come to love on iOS. Aside from an issue with my trackpad (presumably down to Apple and certainly not a Microsoft-caused issue), everything in Windows 8 just works and actually feels like Microsoft has a cohesive ecosystem in place for games, music and apps.

One at a time

The main issue in Windows 8 for me is its determination to have me focus on one app at a time. Now days when it comes to using a laptop you tend to use multiple apps simultaneously, so the jump to more tablet-style focus on single apps at one time is what hit me the hardest.

This is really the area that would push me to stick with my Mac. For a lot of people, such as my grandparents & light users, this is probably a better setup as they never use more than one app at a time, but it’s something I can’t ignore.

Would I change?

NO!!! As a desktop operating system, I can’t see myself switching from OS X. It’s a radical change, one who’s controversy will eventually wear off, but the whole paradigm of one-app-at-a-time just doesn’t suit my workflow. It’s easy enough to get used to and work can definitely be done but such a change isn’t for me. Windows 8 is Microsoft’s equivalent of putting iOS on Macs and that wouldn’t go down so well either.

Let’s wrap up

Windows 8 is a big change and people tend to stay away from changes. Eventually, I’m sure a lot of users will come around and those perhaps less well versed in technology will, without doubt, appreciate the changes that Metro brings.

While I won’t be making a permanent switch, there’s a lot to appreciate about Windows 8′s design and UX. While I haven’t had the opportunity to actually use Windows 8 on a tablet, I really do think Microsoft have a good contender to iOS, at least theoretically. With the launch of several major seven and eight-inch tablets, though, Microsoft might not get the adoption it deserves.

In a nutshell, it’s Windows for the non-advanced users. But Microsoft has made significant improvements in this version that they thoroughly deserve to be applauded for.