Microsoft is set to unveil the next version of Windows on June 24. The software giant has stated in the past that Windows 10 would be "the last version" of the world's most ubiquitous operating system, but there's lots of hints that the company has changed its mind.
Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay posted a teaser for the event on Twitter that hints at the number 11 in the animation, and Microsoft recently posted an 11-minute video on YouTube that teases a new Windows 11 startup sound.
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It's also possible that Microsoft could dub the next Windows Sun Valley. The HTML meta description of the Windows application management website recently read “learn about managing applications in Windows 10 and Windows Sun Valley” before Microsoft removed that reference.
Regardless of the name, here's everything you need to know about could be coming with Windows 11.
Windows 11 release date
Microsoft has not given an exact release date for Windows 11, but does have a livestream planned for June 24 at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT. To get a sense of when it might come out, let's take a look back at Windows 10.
Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 on September 30, 2014. It followed it up by an early technical preview that Microsoft enthusiasts could sign up for. But it wasn't until July 29, 2015 that Microsoft officially launched Windows 10 to the public. That was a good ten months after its official unveiling.
If Windows 10 can be used as any measure, then Windows 11 would launch in April of next year. But we seriously doubt it will take Microsoft that long. The upcoming version of Windows is expected to be more of a robust refresh than a complete overhaul. That means the skeleton of Sun Valley is Windows 10. And with the structures already in place, then we expect this next version of Windows to land sometime this year. Maybe Microsoft will take a card from Apple and launch it 5-6 months after the unveiling.
Windows 11 features
Based on leaks, it seems that Windows 11 wont differ too much from Windows 10. It's still the same layout we've all grown accustomed to, but with a fresher coat of paint. A leaked image from last year, for example, suggests Microsoft may add a battery usage graph to the Windows Settings app to help laptop and tablet users tay on top of their charge.
Microsoft will introduce widgets to Windows 10, a callback to Windows Vista, as well as improved window snapping. This is great news for users with ultrawide displays that could use more options when snapping different apps across their screen.
It also seems that Windows 11 will try and meld some Windows 10X design — a now defunct version of Windows 10 meant to compete against Chrome OS — into Windows 11.
“Instead of bringing a product called Windows 10X to market in 2021 like we originally intended, we are leveraging learnings from our journey thus far and accelerating the integration of key foundational 10X technology into other parts of Windows and products at the company,” said John Cable, head of Windows servicing and delivery in a blog post.
Windows 10X included new app container technology, improved voice typing and a better touch keyboard.
The latest leaks also point to a visual overhaul that will see the hard edges of UI elements like windows and the Start Menu made round. We may also see a new, more rounded UI for voice input, a well as a new "gesture layer" that will let you use gestures on the touchscreen just like you can on the touchpad.
Apart from that, there's little else we know.
Windows 11 price
We expect Microsoft to follow a similar pricing strategy with Windows 10. Back then, anyone who owned a PC with either Windows 7 or 8 would receive a free upgrade to Windows 10. For PC builders, they would need to buy the operating system separately for $100. Although, it's now become relatively easy to buy keys from other key distribution websites at discounted prices.
It seemed that Microsoft realized the power of Windows was ubiquity. Getting everyone to jump to the new OS was critical for how it conducted its larger business strategy. Essentially, the more people on Windows 10 — and not on 7 or 8 — the better. It's why we believe Microsoft will make the jump from Windows 10 to 11 as seamless as possible.