At TechEd North America 2013, Microsoft revealed additional details about Windows 8.1 (AKA the impending update for its sometimes controversial operating system). While the additional tools and features are nothing to sniff at, they’re probably not going to convince many Windows 8 critics to give the OS a try. So let’s look towards the next update — as a Windows 7/XP user, what does Microsoft need to add that would make you a Win8 convert?
Microsoft’s keynote address at TechEd 2013 kicked off with an overview of Windows 8 and its impending upgrade. The tone was decidedly humble – almost apologetic.
“We’re going to improve our business over time,” Microsoft’s director of program management Iain McDonald told a crowd of IT professionals and journalists – many of whom have been dragging their feet when it comes to upgrading from 7 and XP.
“Unless you’ve been living under rock for the past year you’d know a lot of people were angry we took things out [of Windows 7]. And now some people are angry that we’re putting things back in.”
Windows 8.1, which will be available in preview form on 26 June, ushers in a host of new tools and features including a pseudo-Start button which has been reinstated due to popular demand. Other noteworthy improvements include aggregated search across multiple content sources, customisable snap views for onscreen apps, quicker access to all installed apps and a fresh software update to the built-in Music and Photos apps.
The update also boasts a handful of business enhancements including the ability to lock down start screens with pre-defined layouts, Miracast support, the ability to tether up to eight Windows devices to a mobile phone and improved VPN implementation. (You can read a more thorough overview of the new enterprise features in Windows 8.1 here.)
“Are we happy with it? Yeah, we’re happy with it. There’s a lot of stuff going on,” McDonald said.
Whether the crowd was equally happy was difficult to gauge – of all the keynote announcements Windows 8.1 probably received the least applause.
If you’re a Windows enthusiast who has yet to upgrade, the improvements introduced in this minor update probably haven’t swayed you; especially if your primary beef is with the touch-centric UI.
Let us know in the comments section what you’d personally like to see in Windows 8.2 that would tempt you to make the switch. Is there one killer feature that you’re holding out for or will it take an entire OS overhaul to ween you off Windows XP/7? Share your thoughts below.