It doesn't sound like a particularly shimmery compliment, but the best thing that I can say about Microsoft's Metro UI is that after well over a year of using it in various guises, it still feels new. Not like never-breached-my-eyeballs-before new, but new as in the promise of something better, something from the future. But it's here, and I'm touching it with Windows 8. And it's going to redefine how like a bajillion people are going to use their computer over the next couple of years.
The Windows 8 beta drops next month. This is a pre-beta—but it's already dramatically ahead of the developer release from three months ago (a pre-pre-beta?), an embryonic chunk of code that was already deeply impressive in its re-imagining of Windows. Which, even though it's using the now-established Metro design language that's become part of Microsoft's DNA, it's perhaps the most ambitious design project Microsoft's ever embarked on, since we're talking about, well, Windows. And because it's clear now that Metro is how Microsoft really intends for people to use the next Windows. The Windows you know now, hidden under Metro in case you need it? It's the past. A fallback. This is your new PC.