Microsoft now offers another flavor for the increasingly popular dual-screen devices: Windows 10X. From a taskbar and a redesigned start menu to new touch gestures, there are many things in Windows 10X that feel refreshing. One more tool from Redmond to try to win the battle of the high-performance tablet market … although as always in front has Apple with its iPadOS. We wanted to find out who prevails in this updated version of the rivalry between Apple vs.. Microsoft and we compare both systems based on their flagship devices: iPad and Surface Neo.
The iPad has strong control over the world of tablets and the launch of iPadOS made great improvements in aspects such as multitasking and touch gestures. Although it is still in process, we have spent some time with an earlier version of Windows 10X playing with the Microsoft developer emulator. So how does it compare to what the iPad offers?
Starting screen, dockand taskbar
Despite the interface change, Windows 10X still feels like Windows 10. Items like the Taskbar, the Start Menu and the Action Center are still present, but Microsoft has made minor adjustments to make it more friendly to the touch and to It feels like an iPad.
When you start Windows 10X, you won't receive a desktop or the traditional icons. Instead, see a thicker taskbar at the bottom and a centered start menu. When you open the taskbar, the Start Menu appears, you see a static set of icons that represent your applications. You will also notice a search bar at the top of the screen and a list of the most recent apps on the bottom side.
The taskbar works more similar to dock of the iPad. It is now minimized by default, like a thin strip that runs on two screens. Your full view will not be displayed unless you “lift” the pldora-shaped lever on the top. When you do, it will open on the screen you are working on. The cones in the full bar are more centered, with a divider to separate them and show the applications that you have "anchored" and those that are running.
Again, that looks a lot like dock from Apple. The main difference is that the latter only remains visible on the home screen, although you can always invoke it by pulling up from the center of the screen.
A great improvement to Windows 10X is the cleaner and simpler approach than the "Live Tiles" of Windows 8 and Windows 10. Compared to the clumsy Windows 10 tablet mode, it is less intrusive. You get the information and applications you want at the right time.
The interface design even feels restricted compared to iPadOS. On Apple's home screen you can now swipe right on the screen to show widgets, like a Vista today or the weather. iPadOS also features more gesture support from the home screen, such as swiping down to search for applications or swiping up to view recent applications and quick controls.
Multitasking has been considered as the main selling point for Windows 10X and dual screen devices. It is designed to help you increase your productivity in several ways: you can stack your applications side by side and move quickly in your work. This is another area where Windows 10X and iPadOS share some similarities. Both systems rely heavily on touch gestures, but one is a bit more intuitive than the next.
Since Windows 10X is designed for the new wave of dual-screen devices, Microsoft has rethought the way it stacks its windows for multitasking and its solution is especially ingenious.
When you want to perform a multitasking with two applications, you can throw and hold it from the top of the title bar and drag it to the side of the screen where you want it to appear. Then, you open the other application from the Start Menu or the Taskbar. By default, most apps will open on a single screen, but will allow you to open a second application.
Unlike normal Windows 10, you cannot change the size of the applications, at least in the beta version we tested. However, you can convert the windows to full screen, keeping it in the middle of the two screens. You can also toggle or close applications with a button on the taskbar or dragging them, as we will see later.
On iPadOS, the story is a bit different. To perform a multitasking, you must rely heavily on the dock and the gestures for a function that Apple calls "Split View." Whenever you need to multitask, you will have to open the dock and then drag the cone of the application with which you want to work alongside the screen on which you will use it. Unlike Windows 10X, you need to perfectly synchronize your gesture to prevent the functions of the secondary application menu from appearing.
However, you can change the size of iPadOS applications with a bar in the middle of the screen. It is possible to open a third application on the screen through the same process. Apple calls this feature Slide over. When you use it, you can open an application of a size similar to an iPhone.
Then you can close the applications by double tapping the start button and sliding the application outward, or up, from the bottom of the screen, and pause near the center and continue sliding up the application.
iPadOS is smart enough to remember with which applications you were multitasking and keep the session open in the application selector. This is something that is not included in Windows 10X. However, this last system has a lot of potential, so hopefully Microsoft will be adding more features to really emphasize the value of having two screens.
Notifications and controls
Between iPadOS and Windows 10X, the Action Center, Control Center and notifications are very different. When immersing yourself in Windows 10X, finding an Activity Center is very different from previous versions of the Microsoft operating system.
Although it remains in the lower right corner of the screen, it now looks different, less heavy and easier to see. It is also more compact and has sliders for brightness and audio.
Also, find minihubs for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth controls. These are extracted directly from the Action Center, which eliminates the need to visit the Configuration option. Other controls in the Action Center give you access to the keyboard or power, profile or system settings.
Notifications as they always have. Get a pop-up "tile" that you can click to answer or discard. On iPadOS, they appear in the Notification Center and are displayed from the top of the screen.
On iPadOS you can access the Control Center by sliding down in the right corner of the screen. Quick access version for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and more. However, it has a link dedicated to the configuration. Unlike the beta version of Windows 10X, you can fully customize the cones you want to see.
It is nice that notifications and controls are combined in a configuration in Windows 10X, although iPadOS is still better to keep them out of sight and facilitate the use of gestures to be accessible at any time.
Applications are the core of any hardware experience and this is where Apple's mobile devices have been the best for a long time. On iPadOS, there are more than 2.8 million apps available for download from the App Store.
Windows 10X, however, is like Windows 10 in terms of compatibility: it supports programs that you can download from the Microsoft store, web versions and even some Win32 classics, such as Google Chrome.
It may seem like a lot, but iPadOS offers many more apps optimized for iPads. There is a seemingly endless selection, from creative tools like Adobe Photoshop Express to productivity programs, such as Microsoft Word. They have unique user interfaces that adapt to the iPad screen. And pay attention: they have not been simply imported from iPhone, but have been developed exclusively for iPadOS, so they look and feel special.
Microsoft has a difficult situation with Windows 10X. Windows is known for its compatibility with four types of programs: Win32, universal Windows, from the Microsoft store and progressive, installed through the browser. Although none disappear in Windows 10X, which guarantees success for dual-screen devices, there are some problems. The quality of the Microsoft store pales in comparison to that of Apple, product of the problems with which the Redmond firm has dealt with since Windows 8.
The greatest strength of Windows 10X is its ability to install Win32 programs and install classic desktop applications. This is something you cannot do on iPadOS, although you will have to sacrifice some features. Most programs will be compatible, but will run in containers, due to the nature of Windows 10X being a closed "read-only" operating system.
For this reason, not all Win32 applications can work, at least those that modify the system. Another difficulty is that you have to deal with situations as strange as having two File Browsers, for example.
In general, leaning towards iPadOS is going in the right direction at this time. Microsoft still has a lot of work to do on Windows 10X from now until its official launch, scheduled for late 2020. However, if it doesn't solve the application problem, Windows 10X could be the most exciting mobile version we've used of Windows .