Slight Metro update spotted in Microsoft keynote

If you happened to tune in to the keynote (or want to watch it again here), you may have noticed something when Ballmer and crew were showing off Windows Surface. While it is not a major overhaul to the Metro interface, you can clearly see below that the icons that link to desktop apps are now much larger.

Take a look at the bottom image, which was from last night's keynote, and compare it to the top image, which is from and earlier build of Windows 8 and you can see the noticeably smaller icons. While not a major shift in strategy or a new feature, it does show the subtle differences between previous and current builds of Windows 8.

We fully expect to see more of these small enhancements when Windows 8 finally hits retail shelves. The latest speculation says that the final build will be 8600 and it should be completed by August 1st. If that does happen, expect to see Windows 8 available in the October time-frame based on previous release cycles. 

Thanks for the tip @w4live!

Top Image Credit: Winsupersite.com

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Im using the Windows 8 RP. Love the change.. But I also wish they would increase the groups font size on start screen!! It's so flippin hard to navigate.

What they should do with the icons is make it so that when the mouse pointer hovers over a tile that the full name is revealed. Rather than waist space with words. As the saying goes " a picture says a thousand words".

Looks like the Office installed on this still uses the old icon, compared to the images which hit some time ago with the Metro Office icons... Looks like MS is keeping that hidden still

brent3000 said,
Looks like the Office installed on this still uses the old icon, compared to the images which hit some time ago with the Metro Office icons... Looks like MS is keeping that hidden still

MS is keeping a off stuff hidden about everything and its good to see them doing this rather than other companies stealing or copying something and implementing into there own product before MS releases it.

Mugwump00 said,
Why does it look like that tablet is resting on a carpet sample?

I'm pretty sure that is the bottom of the Touch Cover or Type Cover.

wotsit said,
Strange move - Metro is about typography?

See my comment above for some thoughts about this... You make a good point but I do think we'll see an evolution such that metro typography is used for navigation while more visuals come into play. For instance, it's difficult to imagine a future Lightroom for Metro full of only text for every function; after all it is a photography app.

Muuuuch better! Now if only legacy tiles were a different color from the background. They really seam to blend in and become invisible for me. Maybe add in a color chooser for legacy tiles?

Terracotta said,
Muuuuch better! Now if only legacy tiles were a different color from the background. They really seam to blend in and become invisible for me. Maybe add in a color chooser for legacy tiles?

I was thinking the same. It would be nice if desktop apps tiles changed color depending on their icon (for instance, PowerPoint with an orange tile instead of blue).

anidais said,

I was thinking the same. It would be nice if desktop apps tiles changed color depending on their icon (for instance, PowerPoint with an orange tile instead of blue).

That would also be very nice. Something the app developer could work in on their side. But would Microsoft allow it?

Does anyone know of any hacks that can change individual tiles and works with the RP? I've seen some with the DP but I'm really hesitant to try old technology with new.

finally. But windows 7 icons are 256x256, why not make them take up the entire tile! clearly I don't need to see that empty box around it.

neonspark said,
finally. But windows 7 icons are 256x256, why not make them take up the entire tile! clearly I don't need to see that empty box around it.

It's to quickly differentiate between a metro and a desktop app.

It's a big improvement because those app tiles no longer look like document tiles (text heavy tiles naturally look like they should be files; while larger icons look like apps).

I think we'll see this trend in Metro over time; that is, I think metro has overdone the text-only aesthetic at times, which can confuse users who naturally think visually. Metro text is great for filters and quick and easy navigation, but can be overdone for function which is often better when depicted visually. Just look at the Ribbon.

Four other things I noticed: the SkyDrive, Windows Store and Sports apps' logos have changed, and all of the icons on each tile have been shifted slightly upwards.

A lot better. They need to full tile support for desktop apps that would support it with a 512x512 or something. All software I release has a nice 256x256 icon for Vista/7, so I'd update with something larger if supported.

The larger icons make far more sense, especially as the icons for those apps would have been 128x128 pixels anyway.

s3n4te said,
You got me excited there, for a moment I thought microsoft was bringing back the start menu.

Let it go son, let it go.....

That being said, the tablet is very nice... as it should be .. it has an entire OS dedicated to it.....desktops and laptops on the other hand...

rhianntp said,
That being said, the tablet is very nice... as it should be .. it has an entire OS dedicated to it.....desktops and laptops on the other hand...

Work extremely will with the metro start screen.

finished that for you.

rhianntp said,
That being said, the tablet is very nice... as it should be .. it has an entire OS dedicated to it.....desktops and laptops on the other hand...

Work absolutely fine also seeing as they still have a full desktop/better file management/better task manager/better networking/better storage options/better security and a more lightweight OS, and benefit from the removal of a age old start menu which plenty of people found was getting long in the tooth and needed a refresh which is replaced with a common start screen for all apps old and new - its brilliant!

much better than before thats a +1
i wonder if they are going to give each tile a color that match icon color

subcld said,
much better than before thats a +1
i wonder if they are going to give each tile a color that match icon color

Now that would be nice. Kind of like they did with the taskbar in Windows 7's hover event. I would like that a lot actually.

Sam232... We don't have to say it...the public at large is gonna say it with their wallet as they did with windows vista You sir are in the tiny minority

rhianntp said,
Sam232... We don't have to say it...the public at large is gonna say it with their wallet as they did with windows vista You sir are in the tiny minority

Tiny minority? There's not enough data to prove one way or another. Until the OS is in full release we can only wait. No need to speak for everyone and no one at the same time.

rhianntp said,
Sam232... We don't have to say it...the public at large is gonna say it with their wallet as they did with windows vista You sir are in the tiny minority

It's only natural that people discuss controversial things like this with people that agree with their opinion. Once you do that, it's easy to forget that loads of other people disagree with you.

That's why, from my point of view, it seems that most people like Windows 8 and Windows RT. So as laserfloyd said, we'll have to wait and let the sales to the talking.

rhianntp said,
Sam232... We don't have to say it...the public at large is gonna say it with their wallet as they did with windows vista You sir are in the tiny minority

Witht heir Wallet? you mean as they did with Vista, the at the time best selling Microsoft OS... if Win7 hadn't come to kill it's sales it would have beaten XP long since.

HawkMan said,

Witht heir Wallet? you mean as they did with Vista, the at the time best selling Microsoft OS... if Win7 hadn't come to kill it's sales it would have beaten XP long since.

Haters got to hate, even if they have nothing but opinion and bulls**t!

HawkMan said,

Witht heir Wallet? you mean as they did with Vista, the at the time best selling Microsoft OS... if Win7 hadn't come to kill it's sales it would have beaten XP long since.


Vista wouldn't went anywhere and MS would have been forced to do a revision of Windows XP.

Jose_49 said,
Vista wouldn't went anywhere and MS would have been forced to do a revision of Windows XP.

Do you want to reword that? It made no sense, especially in given what you were responding to.

rhianntp said,
Sam232... We don't have to say it...the public at large is gonna say it with their wallet as they did with windows vista You sir are in the tiny minority

Unfortunately the people that don't like the metro interface are actually the tiny minority.

Yeah, it would be good if they could use larger icons on the Start screen for Desktop Apps. It's looks pretty disjointed now. And hopefully, as companies update their software, they'll take advantage of the larger icons for the Start screen, similar to they way they did when Vista came out with larger Desktop icons.

Or add a desktop min icon on the bottom left of each icon that is a desktop app. I still think they need add a folder or something to separate desktop apps from metro apps.

devHead said,
Yeah, it would be good if they could use larger icons on the Start screen for Desktop Apps. It's looks pretty disjointed now. And hopefully, as companies update their software, they'll take advantage of the larger icons for the Start screen, similar to they way they did when Vista came out with larger Desktop icons.

devHead said,
Yeah, it would be good if they could use larger icons on the Start screen for Desktop Apps. It's looks pretty disjointed now. And hopefully, as companies update their software, they'll take advantage of the larger icons for the Start screen, similar to they way they did when Vista came out with larger Desktop icons.

Programs should all be using a decent sized icon at this point. They've had plenty of time to make such a minor change. I've had all of my programs updated for years...

lcg said,
It looks much better, in my opinion.

Oh gawd yes, so much better. I can't wait to forever stare at this interface on my Surface.

lcg said,
It looks much better, in my opinion.

That, a thousand times. It always struck me as bizarre that Metro apps had small text yet desktop apps has oversized text that wouldn't even fit in the box. And it would be a shame to not use the high resolution icons included with most apps.

lcg said,
It looks much better, in my opinion.

Oh absolutely. Thank GOD! This might seem like a stupid thing, but those little icons were really grating on me. Even as an app developer, you put all this work into your icon and then it's going to be 16 x 16? Insulting. lol Not to mention when I am looking for a program I am looking for the icon, not the name. I'm sure this is not uncommon.