We are just a few weeks of away from the major release of new Operating Systems from the large players in the game. Both Microsoft and Apple have planned releases of the next great platform as they continue to battle for their market share in both the public and commercial markets. But what does this mean to you?
This was clearly designed for the push to the tablet war and for mobile phones. With the slow down of new computer purchases from the release of Windows 8 Microsoft quickly started to develop what was known as Windows Blue. Many business owners have not made the push to Windows 8 yet due to the fact of the complete change in the user interface and the lack of the ease to what was known as the Start Button. Those who have made the change have either loved or hated this change. There is no where to reside in the middle. Trying to appeal back to the businesses that have left in other directions to bring them back to Microsoft the Windows Blue team have made some of the following changes that you can expect in this upgrade.
1. The return of the Start Button. This button does not have the same look as the previous versions of windows. Simply clicking this will take you to the start screen with access to all your apps. If you right click on this new button you will now have some extra limited functions such as task manager, control panel, shut down or restart.
2. New Lock screen and Start screen options. You will now be able to add multiple pictures or add animated pictures to these screens. The advanced functions with SkyDrive will also allow you to now be able to pull these images from SkyDrive for your Lock and Start screens. Skype calls will also now be able to be answered without unlocking the first. Users will also have the ability to set up the system to boot to Desktop instead of to the Start screen.
3. Detailed search features. In Windows 8 the search would only find installed apps. With the search enhancements you can now search for your files both local and SkyDrive.
4. Better mouse and keyboard controls. Though the design of Windows 8 was clearly for the touchscreen user, you have been able to navigate to the apps and standard functionality. However this was one of the new learning curves that came along with the operating system. The functionality for use with your keyboard and mouse has improved tremendously. The design is still based for the touchscreen but is not as painful using the Keyboard and mouse.
5. SkyDrive integration. As mentioned in some of the other features SkyDrive will be integrated in the majority of Windows 8.1. This is not a new technology and Microsoft is now seeing that with the release of the Surface Tablet that this would be a great feature for storage in the cloud.
6. Changes to the Windows App Store. Being far behind the pack in the App store war, Microsoft has made come changes to inspire developers to write apps for Windows 8 & Windows 8.1. The User Interface at the store is much cleaner and larger images when searching for apps.
These are just a handful of the changes coming your way in Windows 8.1 that is scheduled for release on October 18, 2013. This will be a free update to current Windows 8 users. Though I am still not convinced that the business market will run to the upgrade yet, with the Surface Tablet in the market proving it’s place this upgrade could soon follow in the coming years. But at the end of the day this should be considered more of a Service Pack than an upgrade.
OS X Mavericks
For many years Apple has released the new versions of the OS X under the “Big Cats”. This latest OS will now follow the new naming scheme for locations in California. The first will be OS X Mavericks. As with every Apple OS X upgrade the following has been waiting for the release as soon as it was announced. From the days when Apple started to take back some market share with the introduction of the iPod, iPhone and iPad the innovation on each upgrade has picked up where Microsoft has left off. The release of OS X Mavericks will follow in the same footsteps. New features you can expect to see in this version:
1. iBooks for OS X. iBooks has become very popular with the eBook readers that own iDevices. Now you will be able to have your eBook library on your Mac instead of just your iOS device. Now when you store you books in iCloud you can access from anywhere anytime.
2. Maps on your Mac. Though you have always been able to access a map now this is integrated into the OS. New features from the iOS app will now allow for flyover view, photo realistic, interactive 3D, points of interest, real time traffic and so much more. Maps will also now be built into Mail, Contacts and Calendar for more interaction based on how you would like to use this app.
3. Changes to Calendar. In preparation for the new iCloud coming (Currently in Beta state with iWork), the Calendar is getting a face lift. For those who have already had a chance to use iOS 7 on the iPhone and iPad the Calendar will mimic the new look in OS X.
4. iCloud Keychain. You can now hold all your stored password in a secure place. With 256-bit AES encryption you can store all your password and use them on all your iCloud enabled computers and devices.
5. Finder Tabs are finally here. This has been a requested feature for some time in the Apple community. Now your Finder can have multiple tabs much like current day web browsers. This will allow you to have several search windows at the same time on several devices at once. With new integration of AirDrop into the iOS devices sharing files has never been easier during that meeting or family function. Tabs can help track these files for you for quick access. Working hand in hand with Tags (Also a new feature) your file management administration simplified.
6. Upgraded Server. Though not every Mac user will have this feature added those that use this will be impressed with the new functionality it has to offer for all your Apple devices. The Caching Server has also been upgraded to speed up the deployment of software to your managed nodes.
At the end of the day Apple once again has delivered the next step in their computing model. Current release date is set for October 15, 2013. However Apple release dates are always sketchy until the big press conference to announce the new product line and availability of the new OS. This will not be a free upgrade to most of the users unless they purchase a new Mac within a few weeks of the release date. Historically the price for the upgrade has been around $20 and there is no reason to think that Apple will sway from this price point.
I myself will be upgrading both of these as both of the Beta so far have been worthy enough to upgrade from the current versions. So in two weeks time will tell if both companies have been able to complete the final changes to the OS and deliver more than they have promised.