Opinion » Cybernaut


Windows 8 looking good



I was an Apple guy for years, but the company gradually lost me. My old eMac started out fast and furious, but gradually got slower and more prone to crashing. It became impossible to upgrade software past a certain point, which meant I couldn't use various browsers and software I liked - a compatibility issue that people who bought Windows XP computers at around the same time have never had. There was a whole big jump from their "G" line of processors to Intel that that caused a lot of headaches at home and at work, and that made files incompatible from one program to another.

All that has been sorted out more or less by attrition - essentially throwing out old computers that still work fine for most things and starting over with new ones.

In the past I have also had issues with pricing, with iTunes, with memory (my work iMac came with a 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and a measly 1 MB of memory). I find the whole "cult of Mac" thing a little creepy.

But while I'm off the bandwagon, I have to give the company props for what they did with the iPod, iPhone, iPad, iMac, App Store, etc.

There's a good chance that I'll be buying a tablet in the next six months or so to replace the iPod Touch that my daughter decided to wash because the screen is dirty, and I will seriously consider the iPad 2 - though I won't actually buy it, it's overpriced and lacking in the hardware and port department, not to mention downright hostile to Flash, but I'll seriously consider it.

What I'm really waiting for is Windows 8 - an update to the Windows 7 operating system that I love more than I thought was possible as a former Mac owner, that has been optimized to run on tablets.

Last week Microsoft showed off Windows 8 at D9, and early reviews are generally positive. Basically, it's a fully featured version of Windows 7 with thousands of upgrades and improvements including a new interface that is tablet friendly - very similar to the well-regarded interface of Windows Phone 7. You can also toggle between the traditional view with the Start menu and Taskbar and the tablet view on any device.

While Apple, Android, Blackberry and WebOS have a huge head start on Microsoft in the tablet market, Microsoft won't take too long to catch up after release in early 2012. Over 90 per cent of computers in the world are PCs and a Windows 8 tablet would be compatible with all of them.