RE: "Does Windows 8 offer any improvements"

Maybe this has already been answered. I have not tried Win8 yet. However, I have been following it since Win7 was released. That includes reading some of the Win8 blogs.

What I have seen is that all of Microsoft's improvements are behind the scenes/under the hood. For example, getting a desktop operating system to run on an ARM chip is a massive improvement in efficiency (I thought I heard that Windows is now more efficient that OSX Mountain Lion!).

Probably a more significant improvement in most people's eyes is USB and download management. Win8 now natively supports USB 3.0, including support deep within the operating system to improve data transfer. The visual surface of this is an improved menu that shows the user how multiple download/transfer streams are being managed.

Microsoft also implemented its version of Apple's TimeMachine. Again, I have not actually used any of this. I assume they've integrated their File Restore (backup system) with Restore Previous Version. I certainly hope so.

Some may or may not consider applying Office 2007's Ribbon interface into Windows Explorer an improvement.
Beyond that, I know that there are numerous improvements on numerous levels within the operating system.