Is Windows 12 going to launch in 2024? This has been one of big questions for Microsoft, alongside whether Xbox Game Studios is going to become a third-party publisher — both fueled by a rather rabid rumor mill. But now, the company has definitively answered the Windows speculation.
In a blog discussing the new Insider Preview builds of Windows 11, the company confirmed that the next big feature update will be named Windows 11, version 24H2, and will be released in the second half of this year. While Microsoft didn’t overtly say Windows 12 is not coming in 2024, this is as clear of an indication as you’ll ever need.
Small but impactful changes
So what is coming to these new Windows 11 builds? The improvements are small in nature, but will improve some of your UI experience. Here are the three that are going to be huge.
- Copilot is becoming more prominent: Currently, Windows Copilot is something that you can manually open use like an AI chat assistant. In these next versions, it will be further baked into Windows 11 — opening on startup, and appearing in the system tray when certain actions are taken. For example, if you copy text, the Copilot icon will change appearance to show you it can help do things such as explain complex sentences and summarize the text.
- Joining a Wi-Fi network just got easier: Right now, it is a case of selecting the network from Wi-Fi settings and entering your password. In this new build, you’ll be able to scan a QR code and click the link to join a network. Plus, with Build 25977, you can even create your own code to share a Wi-Fi network with others.
- Bluetooth security: When you search for Bluetooth devices to connect to, you’ll notice that the list is smaller than usual. That’s because Windows is filtering out uncommon devices. This is especially helpful for identifying the accessories you want to pair with quickly, and is a good protection layer against potentially harmful devices.
Rumor mill be damned
It’s been a busy time for Microsoft speculation, which was most recently fueled by some comments by Qualcomm CEO, Cristiano Amon. You see, Snapdragon X Elite-armed laptops are set to launch in “mid-2024,” which Amon stated is by design to coincide with the “next version of Windows.”
The first inclination everyone had is that we just heard a pretty big tip-off for Windows 12. So it’s good that the software company has jumped in to quickly lay out plans for this. Now we just need the team to talk about Xbox plans sooner rather than later.
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Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He has previously written for Laptop Mag, Tom's Hardware, Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.