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Windows 11 vs macOS: embracing what works, regardless of the platform

macOS Monterey, Windows 11
(Image credit: Future)

This week, for the first time in 26 years, I sat through a Microsoft presentation. It was for Windows 11, of course, and it was my first such event since Windows 95 debuted oh so many years ago. I was most impressed with the big reveal, which is saying a lot given my background.

Typically, I write about all things Apple at iMore. For the past three months, however, I've called TechRadar my temporary home (both websites are part of the Future Publishing family). The opportunity allowed me to (virtually) hang with techies who, unlike me, weren't necessarily fans of Apple or its products, and it's been an eye-opening experience that fittingly ended with the Windows 11 announcement.

First, some early thoughts about Windows 11:

Understandably, my partiality towards Apple and macOS has clouded my early read of Microsoft's newest OS. And yet, that bias is why I loved the Windows 11 presentation more than some of my TechRadar colleagues.

I won't go as far as saying Microsoft blatantly copied macOS in Windows 11. And yet, there's no denying many of the announced changes feel Apple-like. Window's new centered taskbar, widgets, a revised store, rounded corners, for example, could have been cooked up in Cupertino. Similarly, Android app support looks strikingly similar to Apple's decision to bring mobile apps to macOS courtesy of Apple silicon.

Windows 11

(Image credit: Microsoft)

For decades, desktop computing has been a part of daily life for millions around the world. Though companies like Microsoft and Apple continue to make tweaks to operating systems, broad changes are increasingly infrequent as both companies have figured out what works best with software. That collective knowledge has resulted in more similarities between Windows and Mac each year. 

Is this boring? Sometimes. Does it lead to fewer headaches for the masses? That's also true.

Throughout my years of covering Apple at both iMore and other websites, I often think back to one of Steve Jobs' most iconic phrases, "it just works." The late Apple co-founder used this term when he revealed new products. It's a phrase still pressed at the company and many others. 

With this in mind, I don't believe those five Windows 11 changes mentioned above represent Microsoft's attempt to copy Apple. Instead, it's simply Redmond embracing things that work. 

This line of thinking is also why I'm confident future macOS changes will look strikingly similar to those that prove successful in Windows 11. Among those features that might work on Macs are news feeds on widgets, the ability to quickly snap two or more apps, and more.

macOS Monterey Notes and Quick Note

(Image credit: Apple)

This brings me back to TechRadar and how my time here has affected me professionally. 

By design, TR does more than cover PCs and Windows, unlike iMore, which reports on Apple almost exclusively. The broader mix of coverage here tends to result in a more critical eye. Perhaps this is one reason some at TR aren't nearly as thrilled or excited about Windows 11 as Apple websites like iMore are about macOS Monterey.

Moving forward, I'll take this renewed skepticism back to iMore in my writing. And as far as Windows 11 goes, I'm going to do something that would have been unthinkable three months ago. When Parallels fully embraces Windows 11, a virtual copy of it will sit proudly on my M1 MacBook Pro. I'll take the time using both macOS and Windows 11 to see what works and doesn't work and report back often.  

To my TechRadar team, thank you for your embrace and words of encouragement. And to my family at iMore, it will be awesome to be back. To Future, I now have a little more insight into what others do at the organization, which has been one of the biggest positives of this experience. 

Bryan M Wolfe

Bryan M. Wolfe is a staff writer at TechRadar, iMore, and wherever Future can use him. Though his passion is Apple-based products, he doesn't have a problem using Windows and Android. Bryan's a single father of a 14-year-old daughter and a puppy, Isabelle. Thanks for reading!