Well, one of the shoes I mentioned has dropped and I pretty much got this prediction right. We are down to the logical number of editions for Windows. The “new” one for ARM-based systems, mainstream Windows, Pro, and Enterprise. The one interesting difference from what I’d predicted was the creation of a media add-on pack of some kind, that apparently Microsoft will charge for. This resolves the problem that Media Center created which is that Microsoft has to license (i.e., pay for) Codecs and thus has tried various options for passing that cost on to consumers. Now instead of burdening an edition (Home Premium) with these costs, even though actual usage was low, they’ll apparently charge just those who want to use the feature for the Codecs.
The bottom line here is that things are a lot less confusing with nearly all individual decisions limited to the Windows vs Windows Pro choice. Personally I think most notebooks should have Windows Pro, while it is a little bit of a toss-up for traditional desktop computers. I’ll write more about this topic in the future.
Meanwhile I’m keeping my eyes open for more falling footwear.
I agree with you that Pro seems to be the way to go on notebooks, if only to get BitLocker which seems to be better integrated into the whole boot experience than the free alternatives. I do wish I could use something other than the function keys for my BitLocker password on my Win 7 laptop.
For the casual user on the desktop I don’t see any need for Pro. If you use Media Center, boot from VHD, or use Client Hyper-V, or any of the other Pro features, you’re not a casual user.
If there’s no option to get rid of the bricks UI (yes, bricks cos they’re a PITA to use on non-tablets) and revert to something keyboard friendly, I will stick with my Windows 7 and skip 8 entirely. I’d go as far as to venture a guess that the same will likely happen with a lot of users who need to get work done with a keyboard instead of playing angry birds all day. Windows 7 will be the next WinXP as 8 takes the helm from Vista.
What exactly is difficult about Metro to use with a keyboard? I’ve been using the consumer preview on a desktop since it came out and I’ve had zero issues navigating the OS with a mouse/keyboard. All of the shortcuts I’m used to work exactly the same way that they did before, with the exception of occasionally being lazy and having to switch between different search views from the start menu instead of using the appropriate windows key + key shortcut if I want a control panel option instead of an app. The OS works *just* like 7 for most tasks, especially if you’re spending most of your time in the desktop, it just looks a little different. And all of the under the hood improvements and desktop upgrades (like the new File Transfer window and Task Manager) are *very* welcome.
The only, and I mean only, UI oddity that’s bothering me at all is the bizarre decision to bury the power options under the settings option on the charm bar, and forcing me to lock or sign out before powering off if I want to do it from the Start Screen.
Except I’m reading a number of people clamouring for the Ultimate edition so they get utililize the Windows To Go feature. I wander why Microsoft didn’t make it available for the Pro edition but just require a seperate license but for the Enterprise edition include a free license.
I would be one of them. I want Windows To Go, and I don’t work for an Enterprise!