Microsoft is teasing major changes in store for Windows but exactly what the company plans to unveil is a mystery for now. On Thursday, the software giant sent out invitations asking people to join them to see what’s next for Windows. With that in mind, Microsoft is holding a digital event on June 24 in which it will “unveil the next generation of Windows.”
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Though the actual topics are being kept under wraps, the invitation did promise appearances by key Microsoft executives, including CEO Satya Nadella and Chief Product Officer Panos Panay. At last week’s Microsoft Build 2021 event, Nadella did promise that this next generation of Windows would be “one of the most significant updates of Windows of the past decade.”
OK, but what does that mean? Let’s look at some clues.
Since its debut in July 2015, Windows 10 has gradually evolved through a series of biannual updates that add new features, change existing features, move some features around and jettison features people don’t use. But at its core, Windows 10 looks and operates largely the same as it did six years ago.
In most respects, that’s a good thing as it means people don’t have to keep learning a new and different operating system as they did when moving from Windows 7 to Windows 8. But it also means that Windows has grown a bit static and stale and could use a major revamp not just to liven things up but to make it more usable and effective.
Microsoft just rolled out the latest update to Windows 10. Known as Windows 10 version 21H1, this update contained little that was new or innovative. Instead, Microsoft has been saving its big guns for the next update known as Windows 10 version 21H2.
Scheduled for the second half of this year, the refresh codenamed Sun Valley will reportedly offer more significant changes, including a new look and design, a new Start menu, better support for tablets, improved multitasking, a spruced up clipboard for copying and pasting, and updates to several key apps.
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So, could the June 24 event be about Windows 10 version 21H2? If so, it would be a first. Microsoft has never hosted an entire event dedicated solely to one of its biannual Windows 10 updates. Unless the Sun Valley refresh is so impressive and feature-packed that the company wants to promote it, then Microsoft likely has more up its sleeve.
Then there’s the late and lamented Windows 10X. After promising a version of Windows designed for devices beyond regular PCs and tablets, Microsoft pulled the rug out from under it. Instead, the core 10X technology would be added to the regular version of Windows. Maybe Microsoft wants to show off a new version of Windows that incorporates the 10X functionality.
That brings up the topic of Windows 11. Rumors have been popping up that Microsoft is getting ready to release a new version of Windows with a new name. Some have speculated that Windows 11 would be the next monicker. Others have said that Microsoft will simply call it Windows and dispense with the version numbers. Either way, this could be a totally new flavor outside of the Sun Valley refresh, one rousing enough to drive Microsoft to hold a dedicated event to promote it.
For now, we’ll just have to speculate over what Microsoft has in store and see what the company actually pulls out of its hat.