Although laptops are not going anywhere, no matter how many weird commercials Apple is asking about what a computer is, there is certainly a lot to be said about finding ways to melt the user experience between these various devices. Can.
This has been tried before with both Windows 8 and ChromeOS – with mixed results in terms of usability. However, it is with macOS 11 Big Sur that Apple may have cracked the code. This is due to the new design elements of the update and part of the Mac Catalyst, which will essentially bring every iOS and iPadOS app to the Mac.
Trying to tear the walls
When the iPad was launched 10 years ago, I don’t think anyone expected it to be as big as it is going to end. I had many friends who described it as just a “water down” computer, rather than igniting a tablet revolution. And, to be clear, this was definitely not the first tablet, but you can’t tell me that it wasn’t the iPad that popularized the form factor.
A few years later, Windows 8 was released with its touch-friendly UI, which did away with the start menu that so many people have been using for years. This was largely done to allow Windows tablets, phones, and computers to all work on the same platform, in principle enhancing compatibility between the three.
However, Windows tablets never really took off like iOS or Android tablets. In practice, this meant that desktop users were stuck with an interface that was highly ineligible for desktop use. Microsoft eventually relieved some of this pain by re-presenting the Start menu with Windows 8.1 and then Windows 10, but there are still a ton of people who have been longing for the days of Windows 7 and Windows XP.
Just to give credit to where it is, Microsoft has made a lot of progress where things were with Windows 8. However, in the interest of making Windows 10 touch-friendly, it is still not as desktop-friendly as Windows 7 or XP were. Windows 10 has a wealth of mods and software to bring back the old Windows interface, and some users have to get rid of touch-friendliness altogether.
Ideally, Microsoft would alternate a touch-friendly interface, such as a toggle somewhere in the settings that could enable or disable the tile interface in the new touch menu, without allowing users to scout the web for potentially harmful software for. But, for some time it seems like Windows 10 is stuck in this “is it touch or is it not” organ.
When MacOS 10.14 Mojave hit, it brought with it four iOS apps: Home, Apple News, Stocks and Voice Memo. None of this was particularly exciting, but it gave us a glimpse of whether one is integrated – or More integrated – Could look like Apple ecosystem. Apple then expanded the Apple Catalyst to 10.15 Catalina with MacOS, giving Apple developers a full suite of porting mobile apps for MacOS.
This extends even further with MacOS 11 Big Sur, with Apple claiming that each iOS app will be compatible with your Mac, which is certainly huge. Apple will shift to silicon later this year, and there is a major shift in the way Macs operate, even though functionally they will serve the same purpose.
But it is more than just app compatibility here. MacOS Big Sur’s UI brings in a ton of inspiration from iOS’s design philosophy. This may be a cause for some concern for the flashbacks of Windows 8’s desktop and mobile design wedding, but one thing to keep in mind: there still won’t be touchscreen Macs.
Mice can live
Now this may be a hot take, but I think touchscreens are a tad overdue on Windows devices. After using hundreds of touchscreen laptops, none of them really hit me would be required, A touchscreen. There are certainly tools that are aimed at artists, although it seems that drawing tablets is usually still the way to go if you want to create art on your device – also a cheaper solution.
Apple, however, still refuses to release the MacBook with a touchscreen, meaning that there is one main way to interact with the computer – and that is with a keyboard and mouse (or trackpad). This means that the UI is purposefully built around it, and is not a real growing pain.
So, when Apple gets a lot of design cues from iOS, it’s more like it says something to iOS design, like Control Center, and twisted it to fit the desktop setup.
On MacOS Big Sur, when you click to open Control Center, it does not take up the entire screen like it does on your iPhone. Instead, you just get a small drop down menu that has the same design, but doesn’t take up too much space.
In the current beta build, this is not the most useful menu in the world, but a quick way to enable or disable Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, change volume and brightness is really useful – especially if you use the MacBook Air or A There are Mac desktops that do not have easy access to such sliders through the touch bar.
Plus-to-use widgets, which I can access anywhere with two fingers by swiping left, are extremely useful. Right now, the only widgets I have on that bar are World Clock – as I work with people from all over the world – and a weather app, so I can tell at a glance whether I’m melting in the new As I wander outside, the sun sets.
This is a very mobile phone inspired feature, but it is nevertheless implemented in such a way that whatever work you are doing is not interrupted. The notification tray where the widgets reside is transparent with Big Sur, meaning that they can move your screen as little or as much as you want. This is big when you are just checking time while working on a Photoshop project.
And, yes, you can do the same thing on a Windows laptop. But don’t even try to tell me that Windows trackpads are as responsive or gesture-friendly as Mac trackpads. Apple has caught the trackpad years ago, and no one has caught it – even though Dell and Razor are starting to take off.
The only real problem I’ve had with anyone so far is the lack of customization for the control center. My favorite thing about the feature on iOS is that I can add shortcuts to things like screen recorders, cameras, or calculators. But again, we’re still early in macOS Big Sur Public Beta – so that can definitely change.
It’s not here yet, but wins like Apple?
I by no means exhaust all the good stuff coming to macOS Big Sur, and there is certainly a lot more. But in all my time with the new operating system, I can’t think of Windows 8.
I take hot in the past defending Windows 8, and to date I think the operating system is a bit too bad. But Apple merged mobile and desktop design here in an amazing way, and I’m going to say that.
And I’m sure Apple wants to sell you both MacBooks and iPads to users who want a touchscreen experience, and a touchscreen MacBook would be such a debacle. But, hey, that’s the discussion for another day.
For now, however, Apple deserves some praise for bringing this new design philosophy to macOS, without any damage, which has made Windows 8 a joke today.