It has been more than six years since Microsoft first announced Windows 10. Even though the current OS operating system has received multiple updates so far, bringing new features each time, the software giant has been stuck with the same name.
It is nearly time for a next-gen version of the globe’s most popular desktop OS, Microsoft Windows. And reports suggest that on 24th June, Microsoft will announce a new Windows version.
There have been multiple speculations about the Windows 11 update for over several months now. And, thanks to some subtle hints Microsoft has dropped and a massive leak of a whole new OS, we know something big is coming for sure.
Microsoft has scheduled a “What is next for Windows” event for 24th June 2021. It will be live-streamed, and we will find out the official announcement then.
Keep reading to know more.
The Emergence of Talks of Windows 11
19th May 2020 – Microsoft Plans More Investment in Windows 10
It was clear last year that Microsoft would be investing in Windows OS further.
A move towards Windows 11 branding would also back up the software giant’s reinvestment in Windows. The company had signaled a renewed interest in Windows last year, during the initial months of the coronavirus outbreak, which demonstrated the importance of the operating system.
Notably, Windows usage had skyrocketed as students and workers worldwide turned to PCs and laptops to work from home. There had also been a surge in PC shipments last year.
Windows Central stated (1) that “It is fair to say that Microsoft has put Windows on the backburner in the past few years as it shifted concentration to other efforts. The fact that Microsoft is using words like “reinvestment” when speaking about Windows 10 is a breath of fresh air for fans of Windows who have been calling the company to refocus its efforts on Windows.”
28th October 2020 – User Interface Refresh called Sun Valley, OS called Cobalt
According to Windows Central (2), a major design refresh is coming to Windows in 2021, codenamed Sun Valley. It will have several key elements, including the Action Center, File Explorer, Start Menu, and more.
Notably, several readers who have been following the developments in Windows may have heard the term Sun Valley. Sun Valley is the term for new visual design for unversed users, which will come with Windows 11. The UI would deliver a better dual-screen experience and be more touch-friendly.
The release is codenamed “cobalt,” which at that time appeared like a Windows 10 version; now, it seems like a new OS version.
The whole operation seems to be led by Panos Panay, Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer.
Notably, after splitting Windows into two parts in 2018, Microsoft transferred parts of Windows development under Panay’s control last year. The transit was a clear affirmation that its Windows split did not work after months of disordered development experiences for Windows 10, delayed OS updates, lots of issues, and a lack of major new features.
4th January 2021 – Sun Valley to be a “Sweeping Visual Rejuvenation”
As per a job listing from Microsoft (3), Sun Valley is set to be a “sweeping visual rejuvenation” of Windows OS. The listing writes: “On this team, you will work with our key platform, OEM partners, Surface to create, and deliver a sweeping visual rejuvenation of Windows experience to signal customers that Windows is back and ensure that the OS is considered the best user OS experience for them.”
23rd February 2021, Sun Valley Will Offer Improved Multitasking
Several reports surged (4), stating that the Sun Valley design update will include enhanced snapping capacities and making it more user-friendly. Soon, users will be able to drag windows to the screen’s corners, and they will be able to resize for a perfect fit intuitively. It should mean that it will be much easier to multitask with side-by-side windows.
Aero Share is another notable feature where users shake a window to clear the screen, which will become an optional setting. There will also be an added ability to have separate virtual desktops for each monitor.
6th May 2021 – Microsoft Offers Icon Updates
The recent Insider Preview creation of Windows offers Microsoft revising icons that have been around since the Windows 95 time ahead of the new Windows release (5).
Notably, the software giant has been revising numerous Windows File Explorer icons since early 2021. It has given a new look to Stalwart Windows icons such as Documents, This PC, and Recycle Bin.
Here is a follow-up on the new streamlined Start Menu from early 2020 (6).
8th May 2021 – Microsoft Kills Windows 10X
At the Microsoft Surface event in 2019, it revealed the Android-toting Surface Duo and Surface Neo (7), which was supposed to run Windows 10X, Windows’ cut-down version.
Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 10X, its OS created for dual-screen products, will no longer see the light of day (8). So the software giant is now bringing the best bits of it into the main version of Windows 10.
In a blog post dated 18th May 2021, Microsoft wrote, “We are leveraging our learnings from our adventure thus far and accelerating the integration of vital foundational 10X technology into other parts of Windows and products at the organization.”
25th May 2021 – Microsoft Teases Windows’ Next Version is Coming Soon
There was nothing about Windows clients on the agenda for Microsoft’s Build developer this year’s event. It was pretty odd. However, the answer came right to us in the opening keynote from Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO.
Nadela announced that the upcoming Windows update would be the most notable update of the decade.
“We will share one of the most prominent updates to Windows of the last decade to unlock more prominent economic opportunities for creators and developers soon,”
“I have been self-hosting it over the last several months, and I am pretty excited about the next-gen of Windows.”
Microsoft is looking to reinvigorate its app store.
“Our promise to you is: we will offer more opportunities for every Windows developer and welcome every creator looking for the latest, most innovating, open platform to create, distribute, and monetize apps. We are anticipating sharing more soon.”
It certainly ties into Project Reunion (9) Microsoft revealed in 2020 as its latest attempt to sort out the Windows apps’ mess.
3rd June 2021 – Microsoft Confirms “next-gen Windows”
Microsoft sent out invites to the media to its “What’s Next for Windows” digital event on 24th June.
On 2nd June 2021, Windows announced an upcoming Microsoft event scheduled for 24th June 2021. A dedicated landing page Microsoft’s online portal also informs fans and users about the event. The inscription says, “Join us to see what is upcoming for Windows.”
Moreover, Microsoft’s event invite also seems to tease a new Windows logo.
10th June 2021 – Teaser for Windows 11 Startup Sound
Microsoft dropped a rather over-the-top video with Windows startup sounds.
In its new video on YouTube, the software behemoth published an 11-minute collection of startup sounds from several versions of Windows. They are all slowed down by 4k percent, and Microsoft has positioned it as a relaxing video for people far too excited by the Windows event on 24th June.
The YouTube caption writes, “Having trouble relaxing since you are too excited for the 24th June Microsoft Event? Take a slow trip down the memory lane with Windows 95, XP, and 7 startup sounds slowed down to a meditative 1k percent decreased speed.”
We believe it is very much teasing a new startup sound for Windows 11 or whatever the name is for Windows next version.
13th June 2021 – Microsoft Ends Support for Windows 10
A support lifecycle page for Windows 10 recently updated shows that support for the present operating system will end on 14th October 2025 (10). That is almost three months after its 10th anniversary. The support page talks about Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro, including Pro for Workstations and Pro Education.
The development has ignited the rumor that the new version of Windows Microsoft is launching next week will not be rolled out as Windows 10. While the name is still not confirmed, the tech giant usually continues the numerical naming scheme. Hence Windows 11 seems logical.
15th June 2021 – Leaks of Windows 11
Firstly, a Baidu user posted two screenshots of Windows 11, unveiling a Windows 10X like central Start Menu with rounded corners. Users can also put it back into its conventional positions on the left.
Almost simultaneously, the installation file of the operating system surfaced online through several download sites (11).
Why is The New Windows Version Coming Now?
Notably, the software giant has been stuck on Windows 10 for something, since 2015 to be precise. The reason is simple: Microsoft iterated the current OS through twice-annual updates but has not brought forth any major changes.
We believe it was because Microsoft wanted to stick with a successful version considering that even though its 2001’s Windows XP and Windows 7 had a huge success, the in-between Windows version, 2006′ Vista, and 2012′ 8 were not well received.
We can further confirm the speculations of a new version of Windows coming at the end of this month with a tweet from Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s Modern Life, Search and Devices Group Corporate Vice President.
Mehdi quoted a tweet by the official Windows account stating there would be an event on 24th June. While the original tweet does not mention what the event is for, a teaser video included hints related to the Windows OS. However, it is Mehdi who revealed that it is for Windows’ new version.
However, moving to Windows 11 would still be a surprising move for Microsoft. The software giant previously referred to the Windows 10 OS as “Windows’ last version” in its big push to position the OS as a continually updated service.
Nonetheless, OEMs would be happy to see a Windows 11 release as Windows’ new version release always drives new hardware sales and increases interest in the operating system.
And if Microsoft managed to back it up with a new user interface and a fresh look and feel for its Windows, it will be a typical game we have seen on Windows for decades.
Features and Name of The New Windows Version
Microsoft has scheduled 24th June as the date to unveil the new version of Windows.
While the software giant has not officially revealed the new version’s name, there are speculations that it will roll out as Windows 11.
According to several speculations, the new version will be launched as Windows 11, quoting the teaser in the tweet and that the event is scheduled for 11 am. In addition, the event teaser also had a reflection of the Windows logo, shown as two vertical bars, 11.
The new Windows version should come with changes in the user interface and a slew of new features, some of which were likely to launch with the now-canceled Windows 10X (12).
Regardless of the name of the new Windows version, it is likely to come with visual changes like new icons, improved Bluetooth audio support, and an improved file explorer.
In addition, the Windows on ARM initiative for making its OS more ARM-friendly by Microsoft may also receive an update. According to multiple reports on Windows 11 leaks and hints, the new operating system would bring 64-bit emulation for ARM-based products.
Nadella appeared to mention “next-gen of Windows,” which is pretty interesting, as Microsoft typically refers to everything as “Windows 10.” And the language hints that the giant is preparing a more significant shift with Windows branding than some UI changes.
Some of the work is already started with new system icons, end of Windows 95 era icons, and improvements in File explorer. Microsoft is also concentrating on improving Window’s basic foundations, with fixes for arranging applications on multiple monitors. It is also adding Xbox Auto HDR features and improvements in Bluetooth audio support.
At Microsoft Build 2021, the software maker had announced that it would be more developer-friendly in the upcoming years and “develop platforms for content creations.”
In recent months, Microsoft has been working on a new app store for Windows for the past few months alongside some major UI changes to the OS. Nadella seems to hint at the store changes with a promise to unlock a better economy for developers and creators within Windows.
It could be a hint at a new Microsoft Store, where developers could send their apps with ease.
It is likely to include some major changes to Windows Store, allowing developers to submit any Windows application, including Firefox or Chrome. Rumour also suggested Microsoft may also allow third-party commerce platforms in applications so developers can avoid Microsoft’s 15% cut on apps and 12% on games (13).
Microsoft allowing developers to bypass the cut is a significant change.
As with the rollout of Windows 10, anyone who already had Windows 7 or 8 could upgrade it. Microsoft may follow the same approach this time as well. It would facilitate an effortless transition of users from the present version of Windows to the new version.
However, the question is, would Windows 11 be free? It is highly likely to be free for users with a genuine version of Windows 10 as several users are using Windows on an entry-level desktop or laptop and may not be able to pay for an upgrade.
If Microsoft is truly ready for the next version of Windows OS, we expect to see big visual changes to reflect it. The software maker has been working on something codenamed Sun Valley, which the company, after all, referred to as a “Sweeping Visual Rejuvenation.”
One thing we have noticed is Microsoft often struggles to name these updates. We have seen Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Fall Creators Update, and dates like November 2019 Update. The software maker has also adopted yet another naming pattern recently, referring to updates as 20H1 or 21H1, indicating both the rollout year and the part of the year the update was released (14).
While a shift to Windows 11 would not necessarily clear up the giant’s update naming issues, it would be certainly useful for IT admins and consumers to promptly understand the latest version of Microsoft adopts point releases such as Windows 11.1.
Notably, Microsoft’s Satya Nadela and Panos Panay will be speakers at the event.
Notably, Microsoft’s Satya Nadela and Panos Panay will be speakers at the event. However, we will find out whether Microsoft is ready to dial Windows’ version number to 11, or name it Windows Sun Vallely, or something else, its features, release date, and more details on 24th June.
Nonetheless, we are excited about this new version of Microsoft Windows and can’t wait to see what it has in store for us. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!