Microsoft is expected to unveil Windows 11 next week, with leaks giving us an early glimpse of what future laptop and PC user interfaces could look like.
I don’t think I’m being very controversial saying that Microsoft is clearly taking inspiration from Apple’s macOS this time round, with a centred taskbar looking like it’s been plucked right from a Mac.
I’m personally very happy with that, as while I love the freedom that Windows offers, I do prefer the more streamlined and user-friendly interface that Apple delivers. In fact, I’d like Microsoft to take things even further by imitating MacOS.
My favourite thing about Apple is how hard it pushes its innovative features, while also keeping them very easy to use and understand. This does admittedly result in a lot of silly names such as ‘FaceTime’ and ‘AirPlay’, but it’s far more digestible than some of Microsoft’s bland terms.
For example, I’ve seen various Apple fans sing the praises of the Sidecar feature, which lets you use an iPad as a second display for your Mac without the need of cables. Well, did you know that Windows 10 has a similar feature called ‘Project’?
Yup, you can project your device to a second Windows screen, enabling you to use your desktop PC monitor as a second display for your Windows laptop/tablet via a Bluetooth connection.
The problem is, without doing a Google search, it’s not easy to set up by yourself. You’ve got to dive into the System settings, tick a few boxes, install the correct software and then open a ‘Connect’ app – it’s a lot of hoops to jump through. But for Macs, you simply have to click one button in the Control Panel and it’s done.
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There are quite a few other nifty tricks buried in Windows that just aren’t clearly communicated. Nearby Sharing allows you to effortlessly share files, photos and videos with other devices, which is essentially the same functionality as Apple’s AirDrop. But since the feature is disabled by default, many people don’t know it exists, and so resort to using cloud services or even email to transfer over data wirelessly, instead.
I’d go even further and say simple things, such as Apple’s Control Centre, make it very easy to adjust the screen brightness, activate Bluetooth or turn off notifications. Windows 10 does have a few customisable shortcuts at the bottom to make such processes seamless, but it’s not quite as intuitive as the macOS Control Centre, with Windows often requiring a couple extra clicks to complete a simple task.
Of course, the main strength of Windows 10 is customisation, so you can have everything setup to own linking, and it’s important that Microsoft doesn’t lose sight of that.
However, I still think Windows 11 could improve on a lot of its predecessor’s shortcomings, and make it more approachable and accessible to those who don’t fancy digging through the system settings to activate one handy feature. Because at the end of the day, what’s the point in offering all of these innovative features if most users don’t even know how to use them?
Ctrl+Alt+Delete is our weekly computing-focussed opinion column where we delve deeper into the world of computers, laptops, components, peripherals and more. Find it on Trusted Reviews every Saturday afternoon.