Apple’s Power Nap Is Basically Microsoft’s Windows SideShow/Connected Standby

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Isn’t Power Nap an awesome new feature of OS X In case you missed it earlier today, Power Nap allows your MacBook to keep up to date while in sleep mode. So emails are updated, things get synced to iCloud, system updates are pushed through and even TimeMachine backups are performed in a silent and power efficient manner. Sounds pretty great, right? It is if you’re a Mac user but to Windows users, it’s old news.

(We’d be remiss in not¬†acknowledging¬†the fact that some of this comes directly from iOS 5, too.)

You see, Microsoft had a similar feature in Vista called SideShow. It was supposed to herald the arrival of secondary displays that were going to be built into laptop lids, for example. Those displays were supposed to show you incoming email, upcoming calendar appointments and similar information – all while your computer was in sleep mode. It was, too put it mildly, a dismal failure. Hardware manufacturers never embraced SideShow (with the exception of a handful of laptops) and most consumers probably never heard of it to begin with.

Microsoft being Microsoft, it didn’t quite kill the program, but let it live on quietly in Windows 7, where it also remained forgotten and unutilized.

With Windows 8, however, Microsoft is launching a feature that is pretty much equivalent to Apple’s Power Nap and the spiritual descendant of SideShow (whiteout the reliance on hardware manufacturers).

Dubbed ‘Connected Standby,’ Microsoft announced this feature at its Build developer conference in September 2011. In this mode, email will still arrive in your inbox and you will still hear a ping when somebody IMs you are tries to call you on a VoIP app that supports this feature. While all of the desktop versions of Windows 8 will support this feature, Microsoft is mostly aiming it at Windows 8 tablets and apps running in the Metro interface, it seems.

Desktop apps will not be able update while a computer is in connected standby mode. It’ll also take the right mix of hardware to make all of this work, though, and many existing Windows 7 laptops, for example, won’t be able to use this mode.

So who gets Power Nap? It’s a little unclear and Apple has yet to clarify (we’ve reached out for comment) but those with the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display and second generation and newer MacBook Airs are eligible. But apparently any MacBook with an SSD is also eligible via firmware update.