This must be the year of operating system upgrades. Just as people are settling into Windows 7 and Lion (OS X 10.7), both pretty major operating system changes released in just the past year or two, we are now facing the release of Windows 8 and OS 10.8 (Mountain Lion)
Interestingly, neither are going to be very expensive to upgrade to, and that makes me think that both Microsoft and Apple are preparing us for more frequent operating system upgrades, each a bit cheaper and each coming more frequently.
So, to upgrade or not. Windows 8 looks to be a major change in how Microsoft thinks we should do things. Most obviously it is geared towards touch screens, tablets and smart phones, doing away with the venerable desktop and start button. If only my mouse were as easy to manage as my finger, I would adapt pretty easy. But, for the classic Word and Excel, I will still need a keyboard and I find it sad that Microsoft thinks I should not be able to do everything straight from my keyboard.
Mountain Lion, on the Mac side, shows Apple taking a more gradual approach to merging skills and ways of getting things done that people are learning on the iPhone and iPad into their laptop and desktop operating system. Apple is moving people towards iCloud for syncing information and the app store for purchasing software and getting Apple updates. Under the hood, it has many improvements but I don’t have to reach too far to understand how to get things done.
On the Windows 8 side, I have to learn a load of new ways to get things done, especially as I want to find my beloved keyboard shortcuts again. i am really hoping that as Microsoft rolls out Windows 8 this fall, that they restrict it to touch screen devices and let laptop and desktop makers still release PCs with Windows 7 for the next few years.
Bottom line, you buy it when you need a new computer or device, but think through your preferences for touch or not if you are deciding between Windows 7 or 8.