Windows 8: First Impressions (From a Mac User)

Hello everyone,

I am not new to The Verge, but this is my first forum post and I wanted to make sure that I opened with something meaningful, so — since they seem to be popular around here — I'd like to share with you my first impressions of the Windows 8 Release Preview, which I recently installed on my Macbook Pro (replacing the Consumer Preview) and have been using alongside my OSX installation for the past couple of weeks. I should state that I have used Windows my entire life, even after I switched most of my daily computing to Macs about 4 or 5 years ago.

Rather than dump a huge wall of text in here, I'd prefer to link you to where I originally wrote the article on my blog:

Hopefully, it will offer some food for thought and maybe even spark some discussion for others who, like me, feel that they are defined more by their love of technology in general than by irrational loyalty to any specific brand. I'm not hoping to draw any definitive conclusions, simply to offer my first impressions — they matter.

For the TL;DR club, here's the excerpted conclusion to the post:

For now, the accel­er­ated push to adopt Metro has res­ul­ted in a Win­dows 8 that is splintered, unfriendly to many devices, and awk­ward for any­one out­side its nar­row Goldilocks Zone. The worst part being that it’s unne­ces­sar­ily so — they could have avoided these prob­lems with simple design decisions that kept the desktop and Metro feel­ing like they’re work­ing together instead of against each other; decisions that would encour­age us to see the best in both rather than sow the seeds of an internal battle between two sides of the same coin.

Win­dows 8 is shap­ing up to be a strange beast, and it will cer­tainly be polar­iz­ing, but there is still time for Microsoft to cor­rect some of the incon­sist­en­cies I men­tioned above. If they do so, then it will be easier for people to adopt and love their new paradigm. It would only take a bit of time spent explor­ing to real­ize that, at its core, Win­dows 8 is great. It’s very very fast, rock solid, and is dis­play­ing glim­mers of genius in the design of apps like Travel, which lets you research, plan, and book a trip all from within a single app. A uni­fied exper­i­ence done right.

Iron­ic­ally, it seems that Apple is the one tak­ing the patient approach to the inev­it­able uni­fic­a­tion of the desktop and mobile exper­i­ence. Moun­tain Lion is intro­du­cing more iOS-like fea­tures, but it’s doing so in a way that doesn’t com­prom­ise the core iden­tity of OSX. It’s a slow merge rather than a head-on col­li­sion. It is only over the course of the next few months — as we meet iOS 6, as Win­dows 8 and OSX Moun­tain Lion hit the mar­ket — that we’ll be able to appre­ci­ate which approach works better.

I can’t wait.