Windows 7, which I like a lot, is essentially a fixed version of Windows Vista. You don’t get any big new features when moving from Vista to 7. You do, however, get a much better user experience. Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard is much like Windows 7 in its relationship to its predecessor. Snow Leopard is an incremental improvement over OS X 10.5 Leopard. In other words, neither platform seems to have shown significant new features in years. The next version of OS X, 10.7 or “Lion”, is due next year. Apple’s preview of it next week didn’t show much new for this release either. In fact, Lion’s new features are borrowed from the iPhone and iPad: App Store, Full Screen View (which Windows apps have been able to do for many years), and Launchpad (app launcher).
After interviewing Starbucks CIO Stephen Gillett, technology pundit Robert Scoble wrote:
Gillett noted that notebook use in Starbucks (as determined by WiFi access) is flat or slightly down with smartphone and iPad use on the rise. This isn’t too surprising. However, Gillett noted that the design of the Starbucks Digital Network (SDN) was heavily influenced by the rise of the Flash-less and Silverlight-less iPad. This means that the SDN, like other mobile friendly websites, is more-or-less platform agnostic by using HTML 5.
I’m not sure that Windows 8, or Mac OS X 10.7 for that matter, is a risky business. My belief is that desktop/notebook operating systems have matured in the past 30 years or so and will be in maintenance phase until “the next big thing” becomes apparent. In the meantime, it is clear that mobile is the current “big thing” and the trick is for desktop platforms to do their best to work well with mobile devices.