Friday, 25 June 2021 11:07

MUST WATCH Launch Videos: Windows 11's new features, Android apps and more Featured

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If you're a fan of Windows, Microsoft's new Windows 11 has introduced a smooth new interface, better touch controls, haptic pen feedback, faster background updates, Android apps and more, and it's coming later this year as a free upgrade to Windows 10.

For those still on Windows 7 or 8, there's still a way to upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge, with CNET's article explaining how to do it.

A range of Windows 11 videos are embedded below, which are definitely worth watching, because for the vast majority of Windows users, it's what you'll be using before the year is out.

Windows 11 looks like the version of Windows that Microsoft wished it could have introduced in the Windows 8 timeframe, but after the passage of time, vastly improved new hardware and plenty of hindsight into the way modern computing works, Windows 11 will finally deliver on that vision.

Start Menu

To start with, there's a new Start Menu, which sits with centred icons on the taskbar. Yes, you can move the Windows Start menu back to the left if you want, but users will quickly adapt to the new interface quickly - it's not that huge a change to get used to, or at least, not like the full-screen start menu was back in the Windows 8 days.

The entire interface has been given a refresh, with icons all looking modern, fresh and new.

Widgets and Screen Snapping

A new Widgets screen gives you quick access to a range of panels of information, just as widgets are supposed to do.

Snapping open windows into two or three panes has been simplified, which is a welcome update for the modern multitasking world, and Windows 11 is even smart enough to keep your windows in place when you undock your laptop from a bigger external display.

You can also have groups of windows saved to the taskbar, which is another smart addition to the way you work with the apps you use every day.

Windows Updates

Updates are now smaller and are said to update in the background. This will be a welcome change, and while we'll have to wait and see exactly how good it is, all Windows users that have had to wait for many minutes upon booting their computer for a major update to install before they can get to work will appreciate this, if updates are truly improved as promised.

Microsoft Store and Android apps

The Microsoft App Store has been updated, with the Amazon App Store of Android apps now integrated into the Windows store, giving you access to a vast collection of Android apps on your desktop.

Smartphones and tablets are where most apps are developed, so this enlarges the library of apps that Windows has access to dramatically, and it will be a very welcome addition to Windows users, as well as making Android smartphones and Windows PCs much more integrated.

Of course we've seen Apple do this whereby M1 powered Macs can run a huge selection of iOS and iPadOS apps, so when the rumours that this was coming were being floated of late, there was a lot of excitement and expectation that Microsoft would deliver this.

Tablet mode, typing, voice, stylus and more

Microsoft has also made the transition between the desktop mode and the tablet mode much more seamless. You can have a small keyboard under your thumb, just like on iPads, you can swipe over letters to type, there's an emoji menu letting you get easy access to the emojis you want to use and you can even use the spacebar with a long press to move the cursor, as you can on iPhones and iPads.

Tablet mode is something that is automatically activated when you detach the screen from the keyboard, or put your 2-in-1 device into tablet mode, with taskbar icons spaced out a little more, and on-screen affordances to make resizing apps easier, while gestures on screen match the gestures you use with your trackpad, making the tablet Windows 11 experience what it should have been, and finally will be.

Voice typing is fully integrated, and it even puts in punctuation, while the stylus can give you haptic feedback, if you're using a stylus that is compatible with that feature.

Xbox Games are integrated

Microsoft has also integrated the Xbox gaming experience, with Auto HDR for richer colours on compatible hardware, DirectX 12 Ultimate and more. 

When you can get Windows 11

I've read that a Windows 11 public beta will be available next month sometime, and Windows 11 itself will arrive before the end of the year, probably in the Septemer/October timeframe.

In short, Windows 11 looks like a great new version of Windows, with plenty of inspiration from the way that iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones and tablets work, and if Microsoft does ever introduce its dual-screen Surface Neo device, Windows 11 is everything Windows 10X promised to be, and more.

Conclusion and launch videos below

Given the fluidity of which the experience appears to work in tablet mode, one also wonders when Apple will launch its iPadOS and macOS hybrid, something the company has effectively denied for years, but is presumably working on perfecting in the background.

So, take a look at the various videos below for plenty more, and it's great to see Windows evolving with the times. The Windows 10 era is almost over, and Windows 11 looks like it will be the most welcome Windows update in years.

I expect Apple will take a look and integrate anything it thinks is worth integrating into the 2022 version of macOS and iPadOS, but otherwise, I don't think Apple is terribly worried about what Microsoft is doing, and no doubt has a stack of surprises on its own already long-ago planned for next year and years to come.

In the meantime, Windows gets the upgrade it should have received with Windows 8 and then Windows 10, and for all of the Windows users out there, if their Windows computers are able to run Windows 11, it looks like it will definitely be a worth upgrade, and it will also be a great reason to buy a new computer.

The question for users is whether they'll buy a new Windows 11 computer, or buy a MacBook and iPad instead. I moved to macOS in 2011, and as they say, once you go Mac, you never go back.

That said, we're still in the golden era of technology, and it's great to see Microsoft is still competing as hard as it can, with Windows 11 clearly the very best version of Windows yet.

Microsoft's Windows 11 launch event video 2021:

Microsoft's 1 min Windows 11 Promo video:

 Satya Nadella talks to WSJ about Windows 11:

 Microsoft's Windows 11 introduction in under 3 minutes:

CNET's 10 min version of the Windows 11 event:

 

 

 


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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