Paul Thurrott is writing about what he’s seeing at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2005 over on the Windows IT Pro website (he even brought his Apple Powerbook to the show – that should go over well).

Though the Longhorn demonstrations Gates and his minions provided were interesting, they were visually unimpressive, falling short of the graphical excellence found today in Apple’s Mac OS X. However, various Microsoft representatives told me that the Aero Glass user interface demonstrated during the keynote was not the final user experience and would instead by dramatically nicer looking in later beta releases. The Aero Glass interface that Gates demonstrated did support OS X-like transparencies, translucencies, animations, and other effects, however. Gates also showed off application scaling, which will help legacy applications display correctly on the high DPI displays of the future, and a sample media-oriented sample application that takes advantage of Longhorn’s display features.

Longhorn will feature a search box directly in the Start Menu because that’s where people start doing things in Windows, according to Microsoft. Longhorn will support virtual folders that collect links to documents into logical groups. For example, Longhorn will ship with virtual folders called All Documents, Authors, Keywords, Rating, Recent, and Types by default.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Microsoft promises Thurrott “a dramatically nicer looking” final user experience in later beta releases. How long can Microsoft keep up the charade of promises of better things to come in the future? “Later beta releases?!!!” Hello, Microsoft, anybody home? Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger ships on Friday. That’s this Friday, not the last one in 2006. Looks like even Thurrott is underwhelmed. Probably because he’s delving into Mac OS X Tiger by covering a feature per day on his Internet-Nexus blog here. Looking at Longhorn next to Mac OS X Tiger is like comparing Bea Arthur to Evangeline Lilly. Sorry, Bea. If Thurrott, of all people, remains unimpressed, Microsoft is doomed. What’s next, John Dvorak’s Apple “Switch” commercial?

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Thurrott: Longhorn ‘has the makings of a train wreck’ – April 26, 2005
Microsoft employees leaving due to (and blogging about) malaise smothering company – April 25, 2005
eWEEK Editor Coursey: Longhorn so far ‘looks shockingly like a Macintosh’ – April 25, 2005
Due in late 2006, many of Windows Longhorn’s features have been in Mac OS X since 2001 – April 25, 2005
Apple’s Tiger debuts Friday while Microsoft’s Longhorn is burdened with one delay after another – April 25, 2005
Nearly every segment of the PC food chain needs Longhorn to succeed – April 22, 2005
Microsoft’s new mantra: ‘It Just Works’ ripped straight from Apple’s ‘Switch’ campaign – April 22, 2005
Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Microsoft’s Longhorn: ‘They are shamelessly copying us’ – April 21, 2005
Apple shows off Mac OS Tiger in Microsoft’s backyard while Microsoft previews Windows XP ad push – April 19, 2005
Apple’s Mac OS X reality vs. Microsoft’s Longhorn fantasy – April 19, 2005
Microsoft’s Windows Longhorn will bear more than just a passing resemblance to Apple’s Mac OS X – April 15, 2005
Analyst: ‘Microsoft’s Longhorn is going to have hard time upstaging Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger’ – April 13, 2005
Analyst: Apple in ‘position to exploit Microsoft missteps, claim leadership’ with Mac OS X Tiger – April 13, 2005
Apple’s Schiller: Mac OS X Tiger ‘has created even more distance between us and Microsoft’ – April 13, 2005
Will Mac OS X Tiger add fuel to Apple’s recent momentum in the computer business? – April 13, 2005
Why doesn’t Apple advertise Mac OS X on TV? – April 12, 2005
Analyst: Tiger proves ‘Apple is light years ahead of Microsoft in developing PC operating systems’ – April 12, 2005
Apple to ship Mac OS X ‘Tiger’ on Friday, April 29; pre-orders start today – April 12, 2005
Apple Announces Mac OS X Server ‘Tiger’ to ship Friday, April 29 with 64-bit application support – April 12, 2005
Analysts: Apple’s new Tiger operating system could really impact Mac sales – April 12, 2005
Piper Jaffray raises Apple estimates on Mac OS X ‘Tiger’ release news – April 12, 2005
Apple’s Mac OS X ‘Tiger’ vs. Microsoft’s Windows ‘Longhorn’ – March 31, 2005
New Microsoft Longhorn chief was former Pepto-Bismol brand manager – March 18, 2005
Microsoft’s Longhorn fantasy vs. Apple’s Mac OS X reality – September 14, 2004
Is Microsoft’s stripped-down ‘Longhorn’ worth waiting for? – September 10, 2004
Silicon Valley: Apple CEO Steve Jobs previews ‘Longhorn’ – June 29, 2004
PC Magazine: Microsoft ‘Longhorn’ preview shows ‘an Apple look’ – May 06, 2004
Microsoft concerned that Longhorn’s look and feel will be copied if revealed too soon – August 25, 2003
Windows ‘Longhorn’ to add translucent windows that ripple and shrink by 2005 – May 19, 2003