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What the Tech: Windows 11 is a rebrand in search of a reason

Microsoft has revealed that it will release a new operating system, but the sheer paucity of new features has left us scratching our heads as to its purpose.

If you’re a sucker for new software, then it’s fair to say you’ve been spoiled as of late.

What with Android 12, the launch of Huawei’s all-new Harmony OS, and Apple’s considerable suite of updates for iPhones, iPads, and more, it’s like all developers’ Christmases have come at once.

Now they’re free to tear off the wrapping, delve into the code, and unpack all the new features. But under that same Christmas tree is another present -— larger than all the others, and a complete surprise — which nonetheless is likely to go down like a second-hand pair of socks.

Microsoft has just announced the launch of Windows 11, after years of insisting that Windows 10 would be the final instalment in its portfolio — welcome news indeed, considering the company’s disastrous misfires with Millennium Edition or Vista to name just two.

Read More: What’s new about Windows 11? Here’s all you need to know at a glance

You’d think that to make Microsoft change its mind on a decision about which it had previously seemed so adamant, there would be a highly compelling reason to do so. After all, having to download and install a massive update to your computer rarely goes down well, especially on such a wide scale; there are reportedly 1.3 billion devices running Windows 10, and most of these will soon need to download the update to avoid falling behind. Our trusty PC can at times feel like a comfortable armchair we’re loath to ever leave, and we’d at least prefer a bit of gentle cajoling if we must raise ourselves out of it.

So if we take a quick glance at the headlines concerning the new operating system, what’s the shiny bauble that’s being dangled in front of our eyes as an incentive to upgrade?

Well, for one thing, the Start button is moving. Yes, much like a triangulating politician’s career trajectory, it now occupies the centre rather than the far left. Aside from that, widgets are being reintroduced to the Start Menu, and there will be a translucent effect at the borders of display windows. Boy oh boy, I just can’t wait to tell all my friends about that.

Admittedly we no longer have to stock up on stacks of CDs to install the new operating system, and even Microsoft hasn’t summoned up the bare-faced cheek to actually make anyone pay for it this time round, but it’s very hard to see why such utterly trivial updates demand the hassle of a new installation, or even the “Windows 11” moniker (which deserves to age as badly as “New Coke”).

Frankly, this new version of Windows seems about as exciting as the ones I’ll have to stare through from my retirement home, and I could happily go another fifty years without seeing that either.




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