So I, like so many other tech enthusiasts, downloaded my free evaluation copy of Windows 7 when it became available on May 5th, and I installed it today. And I have to say, I’m rather impressed. Not just by the fact that my laptop now idles at less than 1300mb of ram, when Vista Ultimate used nearly 1700mb, and Vista Premium used about 1500mb. It’s not just how pretty it is either – Aero works better, Aero Peek is funky, and the automatically-rotating desktop backgrounds are also a bit of a cool plus – but it feels like a more cohesive version of the experience I had when I first went from Windows 98 to Windows XP; I have the sense that there is real improvement here, not just cosmetic improvement.
But I’m concerned that Microsoft may have miscalculated. I suddenly, inexplicably, have become convinced that my next computer will be an Apple.
I wish I knew what it was about this that did it. Perhaps it’s the process of pruning down the progrms I use versus the ones I don’t use. Maybe it’s the way the Start Bar can be programmed to behave very similarly to OSX’s Dock. Perhaps it’s the fact that I can, with the flip of a button, pop the Start bar onto the top of the screen instead of the bottom, which is very very Mac-feeling. I’m not sure. But I feel as though I’ve been hybridized.
Clearly MS did the right thing allowing people to get the RC of Win7 very early, and having it free and unlimited for ten months – if I still have my current laptop when Win7 comes out, I’ll be purchasing a copy, no doubt about it. There’s no way I’ll want to go back to Vista by then, not with all the new toys 7 has to offer, and how practical the toys actually are (for once). But at the same time…
New software costs a lot. I know, I sell the stuff. Macs cost a lot, too, and the benefits of a Mac as I concieve of them is actually shrinking with the new version of Windows. It’ll take some more time to really determine the full extent of differences between Vista as I’ve been using for the past two years, and Windows 7. It’ll also bear some testing and research to see what Apple has up their sleeves, and whether all the programs I commonly use and the tasks I commonly run through can be completed on a Mac – and whether these things are portable back to the Windows environment I use at work (where it’s a mix of XP for the workstations and Vista for the servers). The bottom line is that Macs have always been intrinsically sexy, and I grew up on them. But with 7 being as slick as it is on the surface, Macs just became a much harder sell.