Since Microsoft launched Windows 10 back in 2015, the company has been talking up the platform as a platform as a service (PaaS). Windows 10 gets regular service and feature updates that make it more fluid than previous Windows versions. So, it comes as something of a surprise that Microsoft is now said to be introducing Windows 11 this month.
Just yesterday we reported on Microsoft's What's Next for Windows event, which is happening on June 24. I mentioned yesterday that this would be a significant event that will introduce an overhaul to Windows 10. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Product Chief Panos Panay are helming the event, pointing to its importance.
We already know Window 10 Sun Valley (21H2) is going to bring some major changes to the platform, in the form of new designs and more. However, it is now emerging that Sun Valley may not be a Windows 10 build at all. Instead, it may signal a brand new version of the platform.
Microsoft watchers Mary Joe Foley and Paul Thurrott, spoke about this new version on the Windows Weekly YouTube show. They both think we will see a brand new version of Windows released leaving Windows 10 in the past.
This new version could be called Windows 11, or even just Windows. That latter name would finalize Microsoft's shift to a PaaS that no longer goes through major generational upgrades but rather moves constantly to keep up with changing user needs.
During the video, Thurrott and Foley discuss what features and changes will underpin Windows 11.
Firstly, it seems Microsoft itself is teasing Windows 11. On a tweet to confirm the event, Panay provided a small GIF with the Windows logo reflecting onto the ground. That reflecting seems to show the number 11 moving across the ground. Yes, we are in plain pre-launch speculation mode here, you know the drill for how silly it can get.
— Panos Panay (@panos_panay) June 2, 2021
It is worth noting while Foley thinks Windows 11 or “Windows” are likely names, Thurrott thinks Microsoft will continue to use the Windows 10 brand. At the moment, I fall on his side because I do not see the point of making a generational leap on a platform that is serviced regularly. Let's not forget Windows 10 has received some major updates in the past.
Does Windows 10 Sun Valley (21H2) really look like a bigger upgrade that, say, the Creators Update? Yes, it brings a design overhaul, but we have also seen that before on Windows 10 with the launching of Fluent Design.
At the moment, there seems to be nothing coming to Sun Valley that is big enough to move to Windows 11. Unless, Microsoft had some major changes planned for Windows 10X before cancelling it and is now folding all those unknown changes into Sun Valley.
Microsoft told Bloomberg Windows 11/Windows/Windows 10 “will change the design and opportunities for developers via the Windows App Store, and more easily build connections between users and communities they care about.”
That means it seems the Windows App Store will be replace the Microsoft Store. Connecting users with communities seems like the company will integrate Microsoft Teams into Windows.
It seems we are getting a new UI and Store… again, is this enough for a new generation of Windows?
One possibility is this is a rebranding effort to give OEMs something new to sell on their box. The speculation is Microsoft is still eager to be a major player in the consumer market, an area the company has consistently failed. With enterprise cornered, Windows 11 could focus on another push to the consumer.
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