Windows 11 rumored to launch this October with overhauled UI, improved Microsoft Store and support for Intel Alder Lake big.LITTLE cores
Windows 10 was released in mid-2015 and can now be viewed as Microsoft’s OS version that lasted the most without a version number change, thanks in part the new philosophy of releasing two major OS updates per year. Previous versions only lasted for 3-4 years, and we still have no idea why Microsoft decided to skip version 9 altogether. The minimalist look adopted for Windows 10 was embraced by many at first, but now, after 6 years, Microsoft has not really improved it in any meaningful way and the need for something new is quite strong in many users. Microsoft is clearly aware of this and has been experimenting with new UI concepts since 2019. Last year, we were hearing something about a total UI revamp coming in 2021, a project that Microsoft codenamed as “Sun Valley.” Windows 10 was initially designed to be the last major release with a version number, but this might change this year, since Microsoft is already preparing to preview “the next generation of Windows” on June 24, as announced by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Build 2021 a few weeks ago.
There is a teaser image with the light coming from a window pane and hitting the floor in the shape of two 1s that has lead many to believe Microsoft will officially go with the Windows 11 naming scheme, but others believe that Microsoft will completely do away with the version numbering starting with this next major update.
As for the new features rumored to be added to this significant update, the UI appears to take precedence over the other aspects. According to MSPoweruser, we can expect to see impactful changes for the Start menu, new system icons, rounded corners plus redesigned hubs for Action Center and Settings. Some system icons that were introduced back in Windows 95 will finally get an updated look, and most default apps included with Windows, like Paint and Notepad will receive a revamp.
Nadella mentioned in his Build 2021 teaser that the upcoming big Windows update will also allow to “unlock greater economic opportunity for developers and creators,” suggesting that the Microsoft Store could get restructured. Rumor has it that the new store should let devs submit any application, including unpackaged win32 apps. Additionally, devs could be able to host and update their apps using proprietary content delivery networks (CDNs). Microsoft is well aware that the store does not currently offer enough incentives for the devs, so the next update is rumored to allow devs to use their own in-app purchase systems and bypass all in-app Microsoft commissions.
While Microsoft is set to reveal the next big Windows update on June 24, the exact launch date is still shrouded in mystery. Tom from Moore’s Law Is Dead believes that it could land some time in October this year and will also support CPU scheduling for the upcoming Intel Alder Lake big.LITTLE design. Expect some preview OS versions along the way, as well.