Five Things Apple Needs To Steal From Windows 10

Five Things Apple Needs To Steal From Windows 10
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Microsoft and Apple have been locked in a pitched battle since the early 1980s. Back in the early days of the personal computer, there were dozens of options to choose from – everything from the TRS-80 to Amstrad to IBM’s OS/2. But, by the early 1990s two operating systems emerged as the most popular – Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS. Both have undergone significant transformations, playing catch-up and leapfrog with each other. Here’s what I wish Apple would learn from Microsoft.

1 – Be more courageous

While it’s fair to say Microsoft has made some missteps along the path to Windows 10. – Windows ME and Windows Vista jump to mind – they have been courageous in trying new things.

After a decade of stability with Windows XP, we saw Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and then Windows 10 hit the market in rapid succession (I’ve used brain bleach to omit Vista as it was so terrible). For those who have been using PCs since the 1990s, Microsoft’s decision to ditch Program Manager and bring in the Start button was a bold move.

Getting rid of it in Windows 8 was also bold although as it turns out an error in judgement but they admitted the mistake and put the feature back.

In contrast, while there have been some great new features added to OS X and then macOS, the look and feel, from the Dock to the colour scheme have remained functional but boring.

2 – Touch everywhere

I use a variety of different devices and I find myself often, particularly with my MacBook Air, trying to tap or drag objects on the screen. This is an easy one for Apple to address.

Make macOS touchscreen friendly and give us some Macs that can take advantage.

3 – The start menu

I mentioned Microsoft’s journey in developing, ditching, bringing back and evolving the Start menu. There’s no real Mac equivalent other than adding the Applications folder to the Dock – a manual process. Even then, all you get is a grid or list of icons without an integrated search to find apps from the list.

4 – A better release strategy

There was a time when operating system releases were a Very. Big. Deal. That’s not the case anymore.

Microsoft’s move to pushing out two releases each year has required IT admins to change their approach to workstation management. But it also means fewer surprises as the changes aren’t as big.

And the ability for people to sign on and get preview versions of the biannual releases lets them try things out more easily.

Apple’s annual release seems to be geared around having something big to announced each year at WWDC.

5 – Cortana

Siri might have been one of the first voice-activated digital assistants but it has been overtaken. On the Macs I use, it adds very little value. But on Windows, it a very useful tool.

And Microsoft’s willingness to open it up to third parties is also a big plus.

A bonus item – look and feel

I didn’t have this in my top five but it was close. The only reason I tipped it out was because it’s a very subjective thing.

Windows 10 is a far more attractive operating system in my view. And, although I think some of Apple’s bundled apps are better featured, Microsoft’s are far nicer to use.

That’s my list. Are you someone that flips between Mac and Windows systems regularly? What do you wish Apple would learn from Microsoft and apply to macOS?


  • So the fact Apple went from near bankruptcy while Microsoft was the software powerhouse, to become THE software powerhouse over Microsoft isn’t enough? I agree that since Jobs passing there has been little movement in Apple technology but nothing on the list provided above is what I would call important. Then again, we can always wonder how that Windows phone is going? 😉

    • “to become THE software powerhouse over Microsoft isn’t enough?”

      What world are you living on? The entire world is 82% Windows based machines ( not including phones )

      They are far from the software powerhouse, in fact they’re not even close

    • Fair question. It’s there but it’s pretty terrible. I suspect it was part of an effort to make macOS (or OS X as it was at the time of introduction) more like iOS. I am associated with several mac user groups and I don’t recall a single person ever telling me they like Launchpad.

  • Nice list. But seriously, what was the problem people had with Vista? It’s the Nickelback or Coldplay of OSes – “cool” to hate on it.
    I ran it successfully, all day every day, for a few years on a work laptop. Zero issues.

    • It ran well of you had 4gb of ram. The aero desktop was not very well optimised. On systems with less than run disabling it made them run fairly well.
      Vista did suffer from lack of proper driver support though.

    • Driver issues when it came out plus the “runs vista” stickers that were put on machines with specs to low to run it well left a collective bad taste.

  • I used Windows 10 for the first time last week.
    Simply awful. I have to assume it was made by a committee with no UI experience.

    Apple can learn from this. Don’t copy them.

    • The schizophrenic settings is what I find most annoying with the UI. It is half touch and tabletifield and half windows 7. For a desktop windows 7 is still superior for my typical usage.

  • There was nothing wrong with vista, it was the fact that hardware vendors hadn’t got their drivers certified or working properly which caused the poor user experience… and was even worse for those no name chinese companies who didn’t have drivers for vista and stil relied on windows 2000 or windows 98 drivers…

  • For #3 – I’d rather they just add Folder Support (like the iOS has) to the Left Hand Side of the Dock.

    I set all my machines up with the Applications Folder and Utilities Folder to the Left of the Downloads Folder. Then all the regularly used Applications go on the Dock.

    This means if an Application is less regularly used, I have to navigate the Applications Folder from the Dock, and if I do that enough I add it to the dock.

    But, to save some Dock Real-Estate it would be nice to Group items. For example, adding all the OmniGroup Apps to a Folder called Omni (like I do on iOS).

    FWIW – I’ve never understood why Launchpad existed.

  • Re Omni grouping on OS X, not sure if your saying or requesting. So, if your requesting, just create an Omni folder in the Applications folder, move all your Omni apps to it and then drag that folder to the Dock. Done.

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