In case you haven't heard about, since today, Microsoft's Windows 7, the successor of Vista is available as a free download. Of course, it's just a beta, and maybe they do it to distract a bit from not-so-well performing Vista, but anyway, if I had a PC, I'd certainly give it a try. But because I don't, and I'm not sure whether bootcamp supports Windows 7, I was forced to simply read some reviews and build up an opinion.
And there was this one thing. Imagine a system-wide menu bar featuring all your current apps, plus the one you are using most often. Of course, it's up to you to decide what you want to place in that amazing menu-bar. You can even use a very, very hot ability to place items using the mouse called "drag and drop". Finally, after using an application and closing it, the corresponding icon will just disappear. Unbelievable, I know. There is one other amazing ability this dreambar, as I call it, offers. The grouping of windows belonging to the same application. This is indeed something total new, something I have dreamed about for years, and now it's finally happening.
Well, in case you thought it sounds like the Mac OS Dock. It's not. It's the new taskbar in Windows 7, called "superbar". It seems people at Redmond are a bit desperate these days, instead of being creative..
But let's be serious, just for a moment. I'm really wondering where the innovation is. Even searching for "Windows 7 Innovation" doesn't return much. There is the mentioned superbar ( wuhhzza ), some eye-candy and a multi-touch interface ( if I got that rumor right ). The multi-touch interface is a gift for hardware manufacturers, but not for people with ordinary PCs eating French Fries while surfing the web, the superbar is pretty much a bad copy of several already existing concepts and the rest? Is there still this ridiculous Flip-3D thingy that is so not boosting productivity? Oh it's so spacy I can't see the contents of the other windows..
Windows definitely has some fields where no one is at the moment able to compete with it, but not because of the superior technology but rather because of hardware manufacturers still keeping that platform up, and game vendors still building mainly for it, too.
But actually, this hasn't necessarily to be something bad. Mac OS simply is the best system when it comes to usability, consistency of an interface etc.. And Windows can only profit from ... reinventing some stuff already present there. Calling it Superbar seems a bit exaggerated, but after the Zune disaster I guess it's to polish some Egos.