Still ploughing through your afternoon to-do list? Inundated by tech news? We get it. If you couldn’t divert your attention to Microsoft’s big Windows 10 announcement today, don’t fret: We put together a two-minute guide of the most important stuff.
The news anchoring today’s event was, of course, the arrival of Windows 10, a preview of which will be available next week. The new operating system is Microsoft’s latest push to distance itself from the sour legacy of Windows 7 and, in the process, usher its users along toward a future in which the OS and its various apps work seamlessly across devices. Indeed, Windows 10 runs on screens of all sizes, adjusting itself to fit the form factor.
By far the most unexpected announcement in today’s keynote was the unveiling of HoloLens, a pair of holographic augmented reality goggles that will eventually overlay Windows and its apps onto the world around us. Windows 10 will ship with APIs that support holographic imagery so developers can build apps that turn real life into Minority Report.
Want to conduct work meetings on a giant interactive display? No problem. They didn’t give us a price tag, but soon Microoft will start selling its Surface Hub, an 84-inch touchscreen TV with cameras and support for Office 365 and Skype. Check it out.
For the first time in 20 years, Windows will ship without Internet Explorer. In its place will be a browser now code-named Project Spartan, which promises features like a Safari-style reading mode and the ability to annotate web pages directly on the screen. Of course, if the saga of Internet Explorer 6 is any indication, it may be many years before we truly see IE vanish.
The future continues to offer new and exciting ways for us to dick around at work. For gamers, the latest time suck will arrive with the new XBox app for Windows, which offers desktop access to XBox messages, activity feeds and other features, but stops short of enabling gameplay on the desktop. Meanwhile, the line between computer and console gets even blurrier with the arrival of Windows 10 on the XBox itself.
Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Siri and Google Now, is making its way from Windows Phone to the desktop with the launch of Windows 10. In the future, angrily muttering things at the screen while using PowerPoint may actually be an effective productivity trick.