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Computex Taipei 2013 - We've seen many images of the Windows 8.1 Start Button surface over the last few weeks, which has led to much speculation on what it will actually do. Thanks to a recently surfaced video, we now know exactly what it does.
During a demo the company held at the 2013 Computex show in Taipei, Taiwan, Microsoft briefly showed off the new Start button. It appears that clicking the button will launch the Windows 8 Start Screen, but will launch it from within the desktop environment.
This frees the consumer from having to switch between the "Metro" UI and the desktop environment constantly to perform different tasks. A proper Start menu is still not present, but users will be able to launch desktop apps from the start screen without being forced to search for the apps.
Many are excited for some of the improvements Windows 8.1 will bring to Windows 8. While we still don't have a public preview to play around with, Microsoft has whetted our appetite by releasing a video detailing some of the changes we can expect to see when the public preview goes live at the end of this month.
Some of the larger changes include the Al;l Apps screen, which has received the ability to sort Apps by the date installed, most used, or category. Users can now select, pin, and personalize multiple apps with a simple gesture. Search has also seen an improvement, bringing together local and web content in one location.
Watch the video and let us know if the new improvements are enough to encourage you to switch to Windows 8.
One of the main issues with Google's Android operating system is the lack of after-purchase support. Manufacturers aren't required to keep devices up-to-date with the latest versions of Android. This means app developers have to write code that works on various different versions of the operating system, making it harder or impossible to do certain things on older devices.
That's why it's both good news and bad news that Jelly Bean's adoption rate has hit 33 percent. It's good that more users are adopting the latest Android version, but it's also bad because only 33 percent of users have the latest version. 25 percent are still on Ice Cream Sandwich and a whopping 36 percent are still on Gingerbread.
It's important to note that Google changed the way it calculates usage percentage:
Note: Beginning in April, 2013, these charts are now built using data collected from each device when the user visits the Google Play Store. Previously, the data was collected when the device simply checked-in to Google servers. We believe the new data more accurately reflects those users who are most engaged in the Android and Google Play ecosystem.
According to a Barrons blog, which cites Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research, Apple's iOS 7 could be one for the history books. Most people currently think of iOS as rather stale because it hasn't seen a major overhaul since its inception. This could all change with iOS 7, rumored to be coming at WWDC next week.
Specifically, Chowdhry says that iOS 7 "has a very simple, clean and uncluttered UI." He notes that it "may take a little time to be appreciated." This comes from interviews with 400 to 500 people a month. Chowdhry predicts that "iOS7 is completed new UI, which is far superior to anything that is available out there."
As an iPhone user, I hope that iOS 7 does bring to the table some major changes while keeping the simplicity available in the current iOS. I'd love to see features that were introduced by the jailbreak scene included in iOS 7. If we do see iOS 7 at WWDC next week, you'll see coverage of it here.
A picture reportedly portraying the home screen of an early build of iOS 7 has been posted online by iDownloadBlog. The picture reportedly shows off the rumored "flat" redesign that is said to be happening under the watch of Jony Ive. The photo is rather low quality, but could end up being legitimate.
9to5mac tweeted a similar picture, but adds that many things have changed since it was taken. The image is most likely of an early alpha build of iOS 7. We don't have to wait too much longer to see if this is the real deal as it is widely expected that Apple will unveil iOS 7 at WWDC next week.
Other hints of changes to come can possibly be seen in the recently released WWDC app. It features a much "flatter" design than previous versions, but it could mimic what we will see with iOS 7.
To tell you the truth, I haven't bothered with Windows 8 and I know I'm not the only one. It looks like I'm not alone, as Net Applications' latest numbers show that Windows 8 still isn't doing too well out in the wild, but its numbers are improving.
During May, Windows 8 gained 0.43% of the OS market share, rising from 3.84% to 4.27%. In the same month, Windows 7 actually gained 0.13%, shifting from 44.72% to 44.85%. In December, Windows 8 gained 0.66% of the worldwide OS market share, and has seen similar numbers in the months following the end of 2012.
Leaked Windows 8.1 screenshots show that the much-loved Start button will be making its return to the desktop. In the screenshots posted by Paul Thurrott, we can see just how Microsoft plans to implement the Start button. (Hint: it's not exactly the same as the current Windows 7 Start button)
In the screenshot above, you can see that the Start button has returned to its usual location in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. The Start button is currently unable to be disabled, but it's not clear if there will be an option when Windows 8.1 is officially released.
In the above screenshot, you can see how the new Start button will function. It will still make use of the new Start screen that was introduced in Windows 8, which is unfortunate for those who love the old Start button. Users will be able to have the desktop wallpaper as the Start screen background, though that is an option that defaults to off.
During a talk at the D11 conference this afternoon Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, hinted at the possibility of opening up iOS a little more to developers. Apple's software is more closed than its biggest rival Android, which hinders what developers can and cannot do with iOS based devices.
"On the general topic of opening up APIs, I think you'll see us open up more in the future," Cook said, "but not to the degree that we put the customer at risk of having a bad experience. So there's always a fine line to walk there, or maybe not so fine."
Cook was also asked about Facebook Home, specifically about rumors that Facebook had first approached Apple who shot the social networking giant down. Cook did not confirm or deny the rumor but said "We think the customer pays us to make choices on their behalf. I've see some of these settings screens, and I don't think that's what customers want. Do some want it? Yes."
According to some anonymous sources of 9to5Mac, iOS 7 is going to be the biggest change to Apple's mobile OS yet, where we should expect it to be: a flattened, minimalistic, anti-skeuomorphic UI poured uniformly atop its next-gen mobile OS.
Jony Ive is the man responsible for this big change, with his design chops resulting in what we have with the iPhone, iPod, iPhone, iPad, iMacs and MacBooks. Both Ive and Jobs were very close, where Jobs' biographer, Walter Isaacson labeling the two men as "soul mates". There have been teases of iOS 7 in the past, but we haven't heard about the black and white aspect of it yet, which would be a huge jump.
9to5Mac's sources claim that iOS 7's home screen icons will ditch their shadows and gloss, replacing it with flatness. The icons to Game Center and Note will lose their older-themed look (such as green felt, leather-like trim, etc) and in replacement, we'll have solid color and style. We shouldn't have to wait long for iOS 7, which should be unveiled at WWDC.
Android 4.3 has reportedly been spotted in the wild at a mobile expo currently taking place in Thailand. The new operating system was spotted running on a Nexus 4 and appears to remain nearly unchanged. The only noticeable user interface difference appears to be the camera app, which sports controls in different locations:
Android 4.3 is seen running with a build number of JWR45B, indicating that it is a completely new build. The operating system also had the Jelly Bean Easter egg found in the About section. We still don't know when Google will release the new operating system, though it shouldn't be too far off in the future.