Windows 8.1, reviewed, includes plenty of improvements (in the latest update) and no matter what your opinion of the operating system – whether you’re an ardent Windows fan or have vowed never to upgrade from Windows 7 – it isn’t difficult to find a few features you like.
Apple has just announced the latest update to OS X, called Yosemite. A few of the new features are already built into Windows 8.1, such as the unified search, but there are others we’d love to see Microsoft integrate into Windows 9 next year.
Here are five Yosemite features that we think would make Windows better:
The brilliance of this feature is its simplicity, and quite why it hasn’t been done before is anyone’s guess. Gmail does it to some extent by using Google Drive, but Apple’s method is even easier. See also: Best cloud storage services compared
The way MailDrop works is to use iCloud to share any files which are too large to attach to an email. It happens transparently between Yosemite users, which means that you attach the file as normal and if it’s bigger than the maximum size for email, it automatically uploads to iCloud in the background and downloads to the recipient’s computer so you don’t even notice that it didn’t go via an email server.
Microsoft already has OneDrive, so adding the feature should be no problem at all.
Wireless synching is one thing we’d like Microsoft to re-introduce in Windows as, for reasons unknown to us, it’s no longer possible to synch a Windows Phone 8 device with Windows 8.1 using the Windows Phone app. If you have Windows Phone 7, you can synch wirelessly with the now-defunct Zune app.
But getting back to the point, Apple’s AirDrop feature in Yosemite means you can send just a few files wirelessly between your iPhone and MacBook or iMac. The fact that Apple has only managed to make AirDrop work between iPhone and desktop computer now rather than a year ago is irrelevant: we want to see this in Windows 9.
It’s probably too much to ask for actual AirDrop support since an iPhone is never going to work as well with Windows as with OS X. But if you do own a Windows Phone, then you should be able to transfer files wirelessly and not have to find a microUSB cable.
3. Notification Centre
Like AirDrop, a notification centre isn’t actually new in Yosemite, but it does get some new features. And it reminds us that Windows 8 still doesn’t have a place which bundles up all your notifications so you can see them in one place. It does provide notifications but there’s nowhere you can go to check exactly whose birthday reminder it was that flashed up three hours ago.
Windows Phone 8 already has a notification centre, so surely Windows needs to catch up here.
Ok, so this one isn’t a Yosemite feature, but plenty of users wanted Apple to announce Siri for the desktop. And now that Microsoft has Cortana – which is shortly to arrive in the UK on Windows Phone 8 – it would be great if the digital assistant could be part of Windows too.
Whether you’re using a PC or a laptop, the ability to get things done faster with the help of Cortana would make a lot of sense. It’s faster to speak than type, and Cortana can find information online, transcribe messages and emails, find traffic information and let you know about upcoming meetings.