Windows 11 live event first thoughts

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I’ve just watched the live-event for Windows 11 (via Engadget’s stream on YouTube, as Microsoft’s own official one kept disconnecting!) and here are some first thoughts on various things I heard:

 

“The Widget panel looks like a sheet of glass that slides-over the top of the product”

 

So Aero Glass is being rehashed then?

 

“Waking from sleep, Windows Hello and browsing with Edge are all faster”

 

Great for the first one; I don’t use Hello currently; and will Edge specificall be faster on Windows 11 than Windows 10 in some-way?

 

“Windows Updates are 40% smaller, and they happen in the background”

 

Maybe they’re finally using a compression-method other than CAB (LZX) to compress them — 7-Zip perhaps? The latter-part is more interesting — could they be implying reboots will rarely be required?

 

“More efficient, uses less battery-life”

 

On “big.LITTLE” CPUs, Windows 11 will use the low-performance cores for background tasks, I’ve read elsewhere. Whether you’ll see gains on older CPUs too remains to be seen.

 

“Most-secure Windows yet”

 

Isn’t every version?

 

“Use the Recommended section [in the Start Menu] to jump right back into a document”

 

So Timeline has been merged into the Start Menu, essentially?

 

“Snap Layouts”

 

Being-able to hover-over the maximise button and choose a layout is a nice addition. In future, hopefully the layouts will span multiple-displays too.

 

“Snap Groups … brings multiple windows back together”

 

So similar to a folder in your web-browser with multiple bookmarks in, you can now open multiple apps in a single-click. Nice, I guess, though I wonder how-many would have the need for this?

 

“When you re-connect a monitor, all windows that were open jump back open”

 

A nice addition, though should have just been done by now already!

 

“Vertical tabs in Edge”

 

This is available literally right-now in Edge… even if you’re running it on a Windows 7 install! How is this specific to Windows 11?

 

“Each Virtual Desktop can have their own unique wallpaper”

 

I think this is already possible in the recent Windows 10 Insider Previews?

 

“During the pandemic … connecting with people on Zoom, or Skype, or Teams”

 

So just Zoom then, really?

 

“Teams integration directly in Windows”

 

Looks like Skype will be entering the same graveyard then as MSN Messenger, Windows Messenger (you know, that one that came preinstalled in Windows XP) and Windows Live Messenger!

 

“Widgets”

 

I never used the “Channel Bar” back in Windows 98, nor the Gadgets in Vista or 7… so doubt I’ll be using this, either…

 

“Various tablet improvements: (1) same layout between modes; (2) easier to drag windows; (3) still have Snap to arrange windows; (4) smooth screen-rotation animations; (5) windows auto-snap when rotating to portrait to have one app fill each screen-half; (6) phone-like gestures; (7) haptic feedback when using a pen (on the Surface); (8) voice commands; (9) full-screen widgets; (10) news feed”

 

I don’t use Windows on a touch-screen device currently so couldn’t comment… but many of those are already in Windows 10, no? (I’m not sure how the last-three are tablet-specific, either…)

 

“Microsoft Store: redesigned Entertainment tab to quickly find movies and TV shows in one place”

 

Fine, I guess, but I’d rather hear that more apps are finally going to be made-available in it, and you’ll clean-out all of the scam-apps…

 

“Auto HDR automatically enhanced for over 1000 titles”

 

Assuming there is no performance drops from it, sure, why not

 

“Direct Storage API: assets go straight to the GPU, bypassing the CPU, like on the Xbox Series consoles”

 

Can only be a good thing to boost-performance

 

“Xbox Game Pass via the Xbox Games app: stream games onto your PC, allowing low-spec devices to run the latest AAA titles”

 

Not only a great thing for the environment, allowing people to keep using older, lower-spec devices, but also necessary for the future: by the end of this decade, some articles I’ve read say to expect AAA titles to be asking for 400-500GB local installs. And I can’t see SSD capacity suddenly massive-increasing by then, and the price crashing, so soon local play will just be unrealistic.

 

“Rebuilt Microsoft Store to be faster”

 

It’s fine at the moment: the only speed-issue is when you have lots of apps that need updating or installing (such as when you first install Windows 10, or log-in under a new profile) as only 3 can be active at once. (Though that still beats Android, where only 1 can install at once: the others don’t even start downloading until it’s their turn!)

 

“We’re making sure every app you need is there: the Store will allow PWA, UWP and Win32 apps”

 

No mention of the news I’ve seen on other sites that MSIX package format will be dropped, and MSI and EXE installers will be allowed in… maybe that will be announced in the developer one?

 

“You can use your own in-app payment tech, keeping 100% of the profit”

 

Take that, Apple! (Though I think Google have recently announced a cut to 15%…)

 

“Android apps coming to Windows … via Amazon App Store integration”

 

This was the only major exciting announcement, though it does raise a few questions: (1) how will apps that rely on Google Play Services run? (2) What about apps that need a Google Account sign-in — WhatsApp, for example, backs-up to and restores-from Google Drive; (3) what about apps that rely on the WebView engine — will Edge’s engine somehow intervene?

 

I have a feeling that comared-to iOS and iPadOS apps on macOS “Big Sur” it’ll be more-limited. But still way better than the stupid situation at-present where Your Phone can mirror apps running on your phone to your computer, but only if you have one of the select Samsung phones it supports.

Comments (3)

3 responses to “Windows 11 live event first thoughts”

  1. dftf

    I submitted this Forum post on the same-day as the Windows 11 reveal live-event... not sure why it's taken until now to appear, exactly one-week later. Feel-free to still add comments, but it's a bit pointless doing so now, really...

  2. erichk

    I just purchased a Mac mini and tried out the iOS support ... loaded a couple of my favorite time-wasting games, and it was pretty straightforward. Looking forward to the Android feature in W11.

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