Project Neon Outlook MSPU
Image: MSPU

Microsoft is in the process of developing a refreshed UI for Windows 10. While these changes are unlikely to make it for the Creators Update this spring, they will be ready in 2017. This refresh is working under the title Project Neon and now there are leaked images that show how the UI will look.

MSPoweruser has obtained screenshots that are concepts for Project Neon. This overhaul of Windows 10’s design was first discovered last year. The interesting aspect of the project is that it will take influences from previous Windows builds.

For example, the Aero Glass look of Windows Vista and Windows 7 will be an inspiration, at least in part. Microsoft will use visual blurring and will look to more animations. Ok, we know in description alone, this sound like Windows 10 is being dumbed down. One of the things we love about the platform right now is its efficient and professional look.

Image: MSPU
Image: MSPU

However, any worries about blurred visuals and animations should be eased with a glance at the concepts. We think the new Project Neon design looks slick and clean. We can see inspiration from Zune (a good thing) and even Apple. In general, the mix of minimalist design and information is a balancing act Microsoft appears to be doing well.

The blurred backgrounds and transparency also add to the appeal. We are sure plenty will disagree, but we are on board if this is the UI direction Windows 10 is heading in.

Microsoft is also planning a new UI component called “Acrylic”. It will give developers tools to customize their Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps beyond current capabilities.

Windows 10 Changes beyond Creators Update

Of course, Microsoft is currently putting the Windows 10 Creators Update through its paces on the Windows Insider Program. The feature update will land in the spring, too soon for Project Neon to be put into action. However, Insiders are already seeing some influences of the new UI. MSPU points to Groove Music, which is carrying some elements of Project Neon on current Insider Builds.

As for when the new design will launch, later in the year is a good bet. Microsoft has promised two feature updates for Windows 10 each year. The Creators Update will be the first of 2017, with a second expected to land in late fall. That second, as yet unofficial, update will almost certainly deliver Project Neon to the masses.

Insiders will undoubtedly see the UI difference before that. Once Microsoft has rolled out the Creators Update, the company will turn to the next major release. We expect 2017’s second feature update to be announced at the company’s Build conference. With that in mind, Project Neon should also make an appearance at the event.