When Microsoft announced Windows 11 alongside its vision for a new, modern OS, many compared it to macOS and ChromeOS. While not everything in Windows 11 is a copy of other operating systems, Microsoft does borrow a fair bit of stuff from the competition.
So, let’s look at the things Windows 11 borrows from macOS and see if the additions make for a better OS overall.
1. A New Centered Taskbar
One of the biggest visual changes coming to Windows 11 is the centered taskbar. It is the first thing that you notice when you boot up Windows 11. While people who like the classic taskbar design may scoff at it, it is a welcome change that many are praising.
The change represents a modern, minimalist approach to the left-aligned row of icons found in Windows 10. And, seeing as how macOS has had the centered Dock for years now, no one can deny macOS’s influence here.
That said, Microsoft has experimented with a centered taskbar before with Windows 10X. But that experiment was short-lived as Windows 10X never launched. And although Windows 10X was a failed effort, features like the centered taskbar made their way to Windows 11.
Overall, the centered taskbar looks modern and appealing, even if that appeal comes by pilfering the best bits of the competition.
2. A New UI With Rounded Corners
Microsoft has always tiptoed around the idea of rounded corners in the Windows UI. For instance, Windows XP had slightly rounded corners for UI elements like windows. The same theme continued with Windows Vista and Windows 7.
With Windows 8 and 10, Microsoft introduced its “Metro” design language, which introduced some hard edges. As a result, all UI elements, including third-party apps, have hard edges in UI corners in Windows 8 and 10.
Now, with Windows 11, Microsoft is going back to rounded corners for all UI elements. Third-party apps will also have less-pointy edges, even if they haven’t been specifically programmed for it. And where does the inspiration for rounded corners come from? One look at the softer, rounder edges of Windows 11, and you immediately make the connection to macOS.
Once again, it doesn’t matter if rounded corners in Windows 11 resemble those of macOS if the change makes everything look clean and simple.
3. Refined Transparency Effects
Transparency effects are one of those things that Microsoft has always wanted to include in Windows. And in a world where all the major operating systems use transparency effects heavily, it was only a matter of time before Microsoft committed to them.
However, when it comes to transparency effects, this commitment isn’t new. The OS-maker made its first try with the introduction of the “Windows Aero” design language in Windows Vista.
Unfortunately, Windows Aero didn’t catch on as Microsoft had hoped, and there were a couple of reasons for it. First, the hardware requirements for running Windows Aero’s transparency effects were quite high, so many people couldn’t run it at that time. Second, the feature was half-baked and didn’t change a whole lot.
Following Windows 7, Microsoft ditched Windows Aero with the introduction of a new design language with Windows 8 and 10. And now, Microsoft is bringing transparency effects back in Windows 11.
Unlike the previous attempts, this time around, the company is going full steam ahead with translucent windows, a glass-sheet-like widgets panel, etc. However, upon closer inspection, the way Microsoft handles transparency effects in Windows 11 borrows a lot from macOS. For instance, stacking translucent windows on top of each other in Windows 11 and macOS produces much of the same effect.
4. A Dedicated Section for Widgets
Taking a leaf straight out of Apple’s book, Microsoft introduces a dedicated widget’s section in Windows 11.
As Microsoft likes to put it, the widget section will resemble a “sheet of glass” and serve as a hub for Microsoft’s first-party apps. It will also show you news and other related things at the end.
Finally, there are slight differences between the macOS widget’s section and Windows 11’s offering. For instance, the position of the section. While macOS’s widgets come from the right side of the screen, Windows 11’s widgets come from the left side.
Overall, widgets in both operating systems serve the same purpose. However, we will have to wait and see how the feature evolves in Windows 11 to make a final judgment about its usefulness.
5. Built-In Support for Mobile Apps
Windows 11 is bringing native support for Android apps to Windows 11. This is a clear response from Microsoft to catch up with two of its competitors: macOS’s ability to run iOS apps and ChromeOS running Android apps. So, it is quite easy to see how macOS influenced Windows 11 in this regard.
What remains to be seen, however, is how good mobile apps run on the platform. The issue of compatibility is also a big concern. Similarly, we also don’t know if every Android app will work on every device and whether or not Intel Bridge will give an edge to Intel devices when emulating Android apps.
So, until Microsoft spills the beans about everything related to Android apps coming to Windows 11, we’ll have to the competition to see which route Windows 11 might take. For instance, seeing how macOS treats IOS apps can tell us a lot about Microsoft's direction with its new OS.
Microsoft Is Borrowing a Lot of Ideas From macOS… but It's Not a Bad Thing
Stagnation is never a good thing. New ideas, no matter where they originate from, are needed to end it. This is true for Windows as well. Microsoft borrowing ideas from macOS is a good thing if it means Windows 11 will be a more streamlined and modern OS than Windows 10.
This doesn’t mean that we want Microsoft to keep playing catch up with macOS. We do want them to innovate, but we also have to realize that innovation always follows inspiration. So, let’s hope Microsoft innovates with Windows 11 and introduces plenty of new things.