Microsoft's Engineering Windows 7 weblog highlights the changes users can expect between Windows 7 Beta and the hotly anticipated Windows 7 Release Candidate. Many are "under the hood," but you can also expect several visible changes.
For example, the classic Windows Alt+Tab has integrated with Aero Peek:
We've received overwhelmingly positive feedback about Aero Peek and how it helps customers switch windows with increased confidence. Daniel wrote to tell us "I'm wondering why Peek was never implemented for the ALT + TAB window. The thumbnails look/behave the same way as the taskbar thumbnails when you hover the mouse over them. It seems logical that they would exhibit the peek behaviour, too". We decided to make this change since we heard many requests for it. One can still quickly flip between and cycle through running windows using the ALT+TAB keys, but when more window information is needed Aero Peek will appear. This is triggered by a time delay as you pause while keyboarding through running windows.
The next new feature we really like (and yeah, the second one they highlight) is the powered up Win+# dialog.
Pressing Windows Logo + (where corresponds to an item's order in Quick Launch) in Vista would simply launch the item. As part of our unification of Quick Launch with the taskband in Windows 7, we now beef up the shortcut so it can both launch and switch. For example, if IE wasn't running in Fig 1 then Windows Logo + 2 will launch the program (as it did in Vista). If IE is running with a single window, the same shortcut will now switch to the program. The magic really begins when IE is running with several windows or tabs-holding down the Windows Logo and tapping the 2 key repeatedly will actually cycle through the open IE items off the taskbar (with Aero Peek, of course). Letting go simply switches to the corresponding window.
This seems very much like OS X's Cmd+` window switching within the current application. The problem with the Windows implementation is that figuring out the number of the application you want to switch to is sort of a time consuming process (as keyboard shortcuts go)—though, to be fair, if the same apps are always at the same number, it could actually be a quicker shortcut. We'll have to figure that out when we try it.
Head to the Engineering Windows 7 post for the full, detailed rundown of all the changes you can expect. Got a favourite? Let's hear about it in the comments.