While Apple is known for stealing the show and anticipation has been building at a giddy pace for the new 3G iPhone, its long time rival Microsoft is not afraid to steal a bit of spotlight of its own. After months of tight-lipped silence, even as recently as last week, about Window's Vista's successor Window 7 which is set to debut in 2009, Microsoft finally unveiled the work in progress to the press.
The place was Carlsbad, California at the sixth edition of the D Conference, known only as D6. Julie Larson-Green, Microsoft's VP of Windows Experience Program Management gave a tantalizing brief demonstration of the new OS, which is showcasing strong support for the touch technology. Steve Ballmer downplayed the demo as the "smallest snippet of Windows 7", but the crowd obviously knew the significance of the event.
The new OS was demonstrated on the Dell Latitude XT, a current model notebook with touch screen capabilities. Julie said that touching is "super important" to the new interface. And she knows what the customer wants. She made a name for herself at Microsoft when she delivered the well received 2007 Microsoft Office UI, which featured marked improvements over past implementations both in style and feel.
"You will be able to do these things in Windows 7," Julie commented as she drew a picture in Microsoft Paint using only her fingers. Further, she showcased how the system can accept multiple finger inputs, hence the "multi" part of the "multi-touch" technology title. The new multi-touch technology will deploy on "all sizes and shapes of computers" according to Julie, but you would need the appropriate digitizer hardware. Touching is "not complete replacement of the mouse", rather it’s a way to further your experience, she says.
Among other revelations is Microsoft's preliminary statement that Windows 7 will feature little if any general architecture changes from Vista. Also the new OS featured, in the demo version, an OS X-like dock, unlike Vista's more traditional Windows UI, albeit prettied by the Aero Interface. Other details on the new services remain scarce, but Microsoft promises big things in addition to its newfound touch abilities and UI.
Some note with curiosity the date that Ballmer reaffirmed for Windows 7 to ship -- 2009. Previously, Microsoft had stated that the OS would like ship in 2010, giving Vista a 3 year window. However, Microsoft Chairman and founder Bill Gates surprised the media this spring by announcing that it would likely ship in 2009. With a confirmation from Microsoft Chief Executive, this seems to be an increasingly sure proposition.
The timing of the debut struck some journalists as a bit unusual, as Apple and Linux now have time to mount OS counteroffensives and work on some touching of their own. Also some note that the continued trickle of news may only further many companies' "skip Vista and wait for Windows 7" mindset.
Despite its proponents' well-stated defenses of Vista, the likely reason for the debut is that Microsoft realizes that its current OS has fallen short. For a company like Microsoft modest sales, failing to surpass your previous product, are not a victory but a loss. Microsoft is eager to put this in the past by pushing out Windows 7 earlier than expected and generating a buzz with its strong push into emerging tactile technologies and more service to be unveiled in coming months.
quote: I hope they focus on slimming up the kernel like a previous article stated and actually go backwards in terms of system requirements from Vista.
quote: Many companies are running Pentium II workstations, and cant afford to upgrade. Thats millions of dollars.
quote: Vista is a resource hog too. At idle, it uses over a Gig of memory, running nothing else! Its ridiculous!
quote: I hope that this isn't the reason they say we need to upgrade, because to me... it's really a blah feature anyhow. What scares me is that they say the touch feature as "super important" to the system...
quote: I believe 16-bit support is still there in the 32-bit version, just not in the 64-bit one.
quote: I agree some baseline cleanup may be in order, but it doesn't appear Windows 7 is going to be the place with it.
quote: What do you think we'll have in 2-3 years when Windows 7 is released
quote: Jack off all trades
quote: "New version of the OS" is actually read "New version of the SAME OS"
quote: 10.5 is a service pack man. Whole new version would be server 2003
quote: LOL. I know what you mean. While I'm not 100% sure of this, but pretty darn sure none-the-less, Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows ME were all DOS based, not NT based.
quote: If Apple pulled it off 8 years ago without virtualization, Microsoft can pull it off in two years with virtualization.
quote: So we'll all have to buy new touch sensitive monitors now?
quote: So we'll all have to buy new touch sensitive monitors now?
quote: Throw out the old 16-bit compatibility, and really streamline things at the most primitive level.
quote: New interfaces are nice, and easy to generate press about, but once that novelty wears off, we're still stuck with the designed-for-386 API functions.
quote: I think Microsoft really needs to just dive into the Win32 API and clean it up
quote: Unless you have a laptop with a touch or multi-touch screen, the touch features will be useless on your laptop. Same goes for the touch pad.
quote: As far as I know the mac book only uses multitouch on the touchpad
quote: Its really based on Windows Server 2008 kernel, which is much cleaner, and smaller.
quote: She made a name for herself at Microsoft when she delivered the well received 2007 Microsoft Office UI, which featured marked improvements over past implementations both in style and feel.
quote: I've not met anyone who liked the new office interface.
quote: 3. Why?
quote: If third party OEMs like psystar or whatever that company was could legally make osx based machines and sell them, apple boxes would be a lot cheaper to stay competitive
quote: a lot of people on this board, myself included, enjoy building their own machines
quote: Do you want competition and innovation to finally disappear in the personal computing world? No? Then stop asking Apple to cut their R&D budget and switch to Dell's model of competing purely on price. It's very dangerous when ALL the companies start competing on price. We need some premium brands that don't hesitate to experiment and innovate and charge higher price for that. Do not ask for Apple to turn into Dell. We already have Dell, why are you asking for the second one? Forget about it. The market in general has the place for all sorts of companies, both for those who are great cloners/cheap mass producers like Dell and for those who specialize in funky niche/advanced stuff like Apple. We need them ALL for the market to stay healthy and non-stagnant. Got it?
quote: You make it seem as if Apple is the only thing holding back PC manufacturers from steeply increasing prices
quote: Their computer sales are horrible
quote: Patches or service packs get re branded into a new cool sounding named OS for full price. Hardly innovative
quote: On the hardware side you get a fancy new case design every few years with the same proprietary average performing components. Or WOW, a laptop thats THIN ! So thin in fact, it has no optical drive. But its okay, because its THIN
quote: The only thing about Mac thats premium is its price
quote: Also, do not forget that PC makers sell a lot of premium PC models for the price well above the price of an average Mac, so your statement that somebody holds PC makers from selling expensive computers is just distilled BS.
quote: Why the Mac sales are steadily growing the past several years and by now captured about 66% of the retail premium PC market? Don't you think Mike Dell would give his arm and leg to have THAT horrible income and profit margin that Apple has? Don't you think Dell now looks at his shrinking stock price which is nothing compared to Apple's stock and silently cries in his office when noone hears? You seem to know nothing about business side of PC makers, it's very obvious from your posts. You think that volume/units shipped is everything and profit margin is nothing. In fact, nothing could be farther form the truth.
quote: Why don't you blame MS for doing exactly the same all these years?
quote: Exactly. A lot of people value ergonomics more than useless features like DVD drive. From the point of view of these people Apple is innovating.
quote: That's a common point of view of the techie crowd. Unfortunately for them, they, techies, are a minority, this is why Apple stock is growing and Dell's is shrinking. Deal with it. Try to learn other people's points of view. Try to understand that only one out of ten potential computer buyers is interested in serial number on a CPU, other nine people are interested in (surprise!) ergonmics, which start with (surprise again!) case and component layout, size, weight and stuff like that.
quote: The only " premium " PC companies I can think of are Alienware and Falcon Northwestern. They charge a high premium, but make no mistake, the emphasis is on PERFORMANCE
quote: Apple charges a high premium for an average performing machine with noob appeal, a stylish ( sometimes gay ) case, catchy themes, and other such glitter. Thats the difference.
quote: Dell simply destroys Apples COMPUTER devision in market share
quote: From Xp to Vista was a span of FIVE years
quote: Don't play that game with me
quote: At some point you WILL need to use an optical drive
quote: we both know they are the ONLY one in that market to begin with
quote: but majority of tech-illiterate home consumers disagree with you and buy Macs - hence Macs occupy most of the US premium PC segment in retail.
quote: Yeah, the difference is that common Joe calls this stuff you are so excited about (OMG 45nm OCed octocoresuperdupermultihyperthread bomba with THAT SPECIAL SERIAL NUMBER that you can OC even MORE WOW!) a gay glitter and waste of money. For him ergonomics are much more importnat than 45nm OCed octocore "wonder" you techies love to worship.
quote: Apple simply destroys Dell in profit margins. Dell makes pennies form their cheapo Wintel boxes, while Apple makes hundreds of dollars on every Mac sold. In the end Apple makes MORE money than Dell by selling FEWER computers. You care about units sold because you know nothing about business and profit margin. Learn basics of economy and business first.
quote: Now you're contradicting yourself. You just said that Alienware and others DO MAKE premium PCs, and whoops - now they don't?
quote: So they do or they don't? Please explain in which case you lied - when you said that there are PC makers selling premium PCs or when you said there aren't any?
quote: I never used the DVD drive in Dell Vostro and never will. I don't really understand why do I need those DVD drives EVERYWHERE. It's necrophilia, man. DVD is dead, only lamers use it to watch movies. Same goes for BluRay. Ever heard words "DVD rip" and "802.11n"? Think about it for a while, you may start understanding why a lot of people prefer to get ultraportable notebooks without DVD (I'd get Dell Vostro without DVD if I could)
quote: because Eee is a high end laptop that costs over one thousand dollars
quote: majority of all OEM pc sales are NOT Macs
quote: The word Premium generally means a certain level of price vs performance in the PC world
quote: you just insulted their entire user base
quote: educated consumer
quote: profit margins are entirely misleading
quote: Refute these unrefutable numbers right now, or admit you are wrong.
quote: They are premium because they offer better performance over standard OEM pc's. NOT simply because they cost more.
quote: Actually I can't find ANY " Premium PC " sales figures like this graph I just linked. Anywhere. So could it be, as I have stated, there is NO such thing as a "premium PC market"
quote: Where is this "premium pc" market?
quote: NOBODY installs software or game disks anymore?
quote: networking and installing over eithernet is just too complex and obtuse
quote: Damn I'm good
quote: I'm only interested in discussing luxury stuff.
quote: I say watch for high-end stuff, this is where innovation comes from - it trickles down from luxury computers and cars and stuff to less expensive models over the time - so watch what Apple does and you'll see your own future with regard to computing - portable wireless devices everywhere, user-friendly broadband internet on your phone, etc etc.
quote: Macs also do NOT simply cost more. They are premium because they have better ergonomics over standard OEM Wintel PCs. Do you see now that Apple is not the only company making premium computers?
quote: Oh, come on, please stop this silliness! You think I insult most people when I say that they are tech illiterate and cannot fix their car, instead they bring their cars to their mechanic? How old are you really? You seem to think that if a guy can't fix his own car and disassemble/reassemble its nice 6-banger engine with electronic fuel injection - then this guy is an idiot? And he is insulted by that?
quote: Man, you are definitely not very old. I can see that easily. I used to be like that a long time ago :-)
quote: So you claim that Asus Eee PC users don't install software and game discs anymore? How insightful! You're really smart ;-)
quote: This must be one of the reasons why DVD-driveless Asus Eee sells so well, hehehe :))
quote: Or could it be that this data is not in public domain and you have to work as an analyst and pay for access to such data?
quote: That example will tech you nothing but other smarter readers are going to enjoy this one.
quote: You still have not backed your original statement that Apple is innovative, competitive
quote: they virtually stand alone anyway
quote: NOT proof that a quantifiable and measurable " premium pc " market even exists outside of Apple
quote: Pc's are not a " luxury " item, and their worth isn't measured in imenities. Look, its a computer
quote: Apple hasn't come up with a single "innovation" for as long as I can remember
quote: A power button on the keyboard isn't " ergonomics ".
quote: You "used to be what"?
quote: What happened to make you lose these qualities as you got older ?
quote: We were talking about PC repair ?
quote: Do you not understand that on a $300 PC you just have to accept it doesn't have everything possible ? But a 1k+ Mac ? No, this is no innovation. This is selling less for more
quote: They sell well because they are dirt cheap.
quote: The last thing, the very LAST THING, Apple wants is Macintosh components being sold by aggressive retailers on the open market.
quote: Again, time to bring our discussion back to its center. Mac's are not innovative, " luxurious " ( only a Mac fan would being luxury into a PC debate ) or premium in ANY WAY other than price.
quote: At some point you WILL need to use an optical drive
quote: Tell that to Asus Eee PC makers! :PHahahaROFL :))
quote: I've not seen that 2007 streamlines anything except style changes, which aren't usually the focus of my efforts.