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Windows 11 leaked yesterday, offering a closer look at some of the UI changes Microsoft is planning for its next version of Windows. The leak has also revealed what will likely become Microsoft’s default wallpaper for Windows 11, and a collection of new wallpapers that are bundled with the operating system. They’re Microsoft’s best Windows wallpapers yet.
The main default wallpaper includes light and dark mode versions, with what looks like a crumpled piece of fabric. It’s a big departure from the Windows logo that was used as the default in Windows 10, or the two daisy flowers in Windows 8.
Microsoft has also included a collection of other wallpapers inside Windows 11. The “Captured Motion” set offer a more colorful option, and the “Flow” collection are a more subtle take on the default. “Glow” is a set of four colorful orbs that light up the Windows 11 backdrop, and the “Sunrise” collection are a clear nod to the Sun Valley codename for the Windows 11 UI work.
As this is an early and incomplete version of Windows 11, it’s not clear how many of these images will ship in the final version. These already look better than the flowers and scenic backgrounds included in Windows 10, and fit the overall UI changes to Windows 11. If you haven’t seen exactly what Microsoft is changing in Windows 11, check out our hands-on to see the new UI, Start menu, and more.
There are still a lot of question marks surrounding One UI 3.5 and what it’s going to bring to the table. But Apple just showed its hand this week and we all know Samsung can’t and won’t be indifferent to whatever its biggest rival is doing. So, will iOS 15 bring any UX design lessons for Samsung to learn from?
It might, especially seeing how Apple seems to be exploring some rather niche functionalities with its next major operating system update. Take the ability to upload your driver’s license to Apple Wallet, for one. If you’re going through more than one TSA check a year, you’d probably get some mileage out of that one. Well, so long as you don’t mind the dystopian implications of having your government cross-reference your smartphone data against its database of (un)desirable entities.
FaceTime: Samsung Galaxy edition
The ability to initiate a FaceTime call with Galaxy devices will likely prove to be a popular addition to iOS 15. Though it remains to be seen if Samsung will be doing anything to facilitate such cross-platform communications on its end. It might, but we can’t say any move to that effect seems terribly obvious as of right now.
On the subject of machine learning and other such capabilities, Samsung is still ahead of its Cupertino rival by quite a margin. For instance, Bixby has been able to identify things like dog breeds and plants for years. Whereas that feature will only be making its way to some iPhones and iPads this winter. Never mind that it was Google who originally kickstarted this trend.
The added privacy protections that are on their way to iCloud – now called iCloud+ – do seem like a feature worth copying. Particularly in respect to how iOS users will soon be able to auto-generate “fake” email addresses during signups. Samsung has kind of been neglecting the cloud aspect of its mobile offerings in recent years, so we’d be happy with anything beyond the status quo on that front. Something like that built-in two-factor authentication code generator would be nice as well.
One (UI) more thing…
Now, despite how tempting some of Apple’s promises might seem at the moment, a lot of them will seem like a case of “too little, too late” to most Galaxy owners. Take notifications, for instance, or the curious case of how my Twitter feed ended up stuffed with people celebrating the arrival of profile pics for notifications from third-party messaging apps? That’s what iOS users are looking forward to in this day and age? The prospect of seeing mom’s selfie once she finally responds to their WhatsApp message? Maybe if more people stopped asking parents for loans to buy iPhones and started holding luxury brands accountable for their overpriced accessories, we wouldn’t have #notifications trending on Twitter in 2021. And mom would have responded sooner.
Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 11 operating system has leaked online today. After screenshots were first published at Chinese site Baidu, the entire Windows 11 OS has appeared online, complete with a new user interface, Start menu, and lots more.
The new Windows 11 user interface and Start menu look very similar to what was originally found in Windows 10X. Microsoft had been simplifying Windows for dual-screen devices, before canceling this project in favor of Windows 11. Visually, the biggest changes you’ll notice can be found along the taskbar. Microsoft has centered the app icons here, cleaned up the tray area, and included a new Start button and menu.
This updated Start menu is a simplified version of what currently exists in Windows 10, without Live Tiles. It includes pinned apps, recent files, and the ability to quickly shut down or restart Windows 11 devices. It’s really a lot more simplified than what exists in Windows 10 today.
If you don’t want the app icons and Start menu centered, there’s an option to move them all back to the left-hand side. Coupled with the dark mode that’s also available, and Windows 11 starts to look like a more refined version of Windows 10 than something dramatically new.
One of the benefits of an iPhone is that you get iOS updates for five or more years. But when it comes to the iOS 15 update, Apple is for the first time offering iPhone owners a choice of two options.
You can either upgrade to iOS 15, or you can choose instead to remain on iOS 14 but still get security updates. That’s a slightly odd option to offer, and Macworld has a theory about it …
Apple has long ensured that iOS updates work with older phones. For iOS 15, as with iOS 14, no additional iPhone models get left out. If your phone could run iOS 13, it could be updated to iOS 14, and the same is true this year – any model capable of running iOS 14 will also be able to run iOS 15.
That means iOS 15 is available on models launched as far back as 2015:
iPhone 6s/6s Plus 2015
iPhone SE 2016
iPhone 7/7 Plus 2016
iPhone 8/8 Plus 2017
iPhone X 2017
iPhone XS/XS Max 2018
iPhone XR 2018
iPhone 11 2019
iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max 2019
iPhone SE (2nd Gen.) 2020
iPhone 12/12 mini 2020
iPhone 12 Pro/Pro Max 2020
Support for older models, coupled with automatic prompting for updates, means that a huge percentage of iPhone owners update.
iOS 15 update – a new choice
But for some reason this year, Apple is providing two options.
That’s a little odd, and Macworld’s Jason Snell presents a couple of theories for the decision. The first is that not all major updates proved popular – with iOS 7 the poster child.
I’m not sure I buy that. I mean, yes, some people hated it – at least at first. But iOS 15 isn’t a radically different look, so why make a change in 2021 in response to a 2013 problem?
His second theory makes much more sense to me.
Apple has revolutionized its iPhone and iPad hardware in recent years; perhaps it is now finally planning to do the same for the software? Something many have been calling for, especially on the iPad side. If so, it wouldn’t be surprising that a dramatic boost in iOS and iPadOS capabilities wouldn’t be able to run on older devices.
Apple wouldn’t want to leave owners of older devices in the same position as many Android users – left with insecure devices after two or three years. Separate feature and security upgrade paths would solve that problem.