Windows 12: UPDATED ! Everything we know so far

    Windows 10 was first referred to as “the last version of Windows,” with Microsoft issuing regular updates rather than releasing a new version.

    That all changed with the introduction of Windows 11, which moved from rumor to formal announcement in only a few weeks. Microsoft’s decision was impacted by the cancellation of Windows 10X, although the corporation had clearly been working on a new operating system for some time.

    It appears that Microsoft is moving to a three-year upgrade cycle for major versions of Windows, which means that Windows 12 might be released as early as next year. While Microsoft has not verified anything, there are several rumors circulating. Everything you need to know is right here.

    Will there be a Windows 12?

    It appears likely. Windows 10 and Windows 11 were released six years apart, however the latter is not likely to be the final major version of Windows.

    According to a July 2022 Windows Central post, a Windows 11 successor is in the pipeline, albeit there’s no assurance it’ll be called Windows 12. Some of the enhancements to be expected are detailed in a following March 2023 post. Both pieces claim author Zac Bowden’s’sources,’ although he has a long history of covering Windows news.

    In February 2023, reported on a since-deleted tweet from leaker @leaf_hobby in which the operating system list for a future Intel Meteor Lake desktop CPU allegedly contained Windows 12. We can’t confirm the veracity of this, but the leaker in issue has a solid track record of Intel disclosures.

    Soon later, Microsoft’s chief of consumer marketing, Yusuf Mehdi, suggested “develop future versions of Windows” in reference to AI features in an interview with The Verge. That may simply be a future upgrade, but a new major version makes a lot of sense.

    It implies that builds in the Canary Channel will be extremely unstable, but they will enable access to features that are still a long way from public release. It’s also worth noting that Microsoft’s synopsis of the Canary Channel below makes no mention of Windows 11 – this might imply that it’s just for Windows 12 features.

    According to Windows Central, this is “where the company intends to preview long-lead development items for the next major version”.

    Windows 12

    The Canary Channel, according to Windows Latest, “would lay the groundwork for the next-gen, most likely Windows 12.”

    There was no mention of Windows 12 at Microsoft’s Build developer conference in May 2023, as predicted. According to Windows Latest, the firm did offer a screenshot mentioning “the next generation of Windows.”

    This was not a true event, but Microsoft is most certainly working on “the next generation of Windows” behind closed doors. Will they be improvements to Windows 11 or a completely new version called Windows 12? That is yet to be determined.

    However, signals from Microsoft and Intel, as well as claims from two reliable magazines, indicate that a big new version of Windows is on the road.

    When will Windows 12 be released?

    We don’t know when Windows 12 (or its equivalent) will be introduced, as you might assume.

    So far, our best forecast comes from the same Windows Central article mentioned above, which predicts a significant new version of Windows every three years. With Windows 11 releasing in 2021, we may expect Windows 12 to arrive in 2024.

    Bowden stated in March 2023 that the “next major version of the Windows client” will be delivered in 2024. The fact that it already has an internal codename – Hudson Valley – supports this. In a June 2023 piece, he was a little more precise, saying it will come “in the second half of 2024.”

    Windows Latest has gone one step further, predicting a fall (autumn) 2024 introduction, followed by a larger release in 2025. However, it is unclear where author Mayank Parmar obtained this information.

    The German site Deskmodder, which initially hinted at the existence of Windows 12, said in another post that “we’ll probably get Windows 12 by the end of 2024.”

    Windows is expected to be on the agenda at Microsoft’s presentation in New York on September 21, although most likely only for the impending Windows 11 23H2 release. It’s “unlikely” that we’ll learn anything about Windows 12 from sources close to Windows Central’s Zac Bowden.

    For comparison, Microsoft has provided support for most current versions of Windows for 10 years or longer. The notable exception is Windows 8’s four years of mainstream upgrades, which were mostly owing to the platform’s poor reception.

    Microsoft has not said when Windows 11 will be discontinued, however most recent versions have gotten around ten years of maintenance from Microsoft. If Windows 11 is the same, we’ll need a new version by 2031 at the absolute least. However, it appears that this will happen much sooner.

    Remember that the release date of Windows 12 is not the day you will be able to use it. There will most likely be a slow rollout over several months, with newer devices being prioritized.

    Will Windows 12 be free?

    It should be, at least initially. Microsoft offered a free upgrade to Windows 10, and it’s technically still available.

    Upgrading to Windows 11 is similarly free, as long as your device matches the hardware requirements and there’s no sign that Microsoft is putting a time restriction on it. The price of a solo copy starts at $139/£119.99.

    As a result, when Windows 12 is launched, it will almost probably be free for a limited time. Microsoft will obviously want as many people as possible to use the new operating system.

    Will Windows 12 have different hardware requirements?

    Most likely, yeah. While laptops and PCs have had the same basic design for decades, many other specifications have altered since Windows 11 was launched.

    Its hardware requirements sparked debate, but security features like TPM and Secure Boot appear to be here to stay for the foreseeable future.

    So far, the sole rumored system requirement comes from Deskmodder, who claims you’ll need at least 8GB of RAM instead of the existing 4GB. Other Windows 11 minimums, such as 64GB of storage and 720p resolution, may also be upped, but there is no proof of this yet.

    Windows 12
    The first-gen Surface Go from 2018 isn’t compatible with Windows 11

    With AI expected to play a significant role, you may want a processor with artificial intelligence capabilities. Microsoft’s recent investment in ChatGPT developer OpenAI and subsequent introduction of Bing Chat hints at this possibility.

    AMD was working on CPUs with AI integrated in, according to Windows Latest in January 2023. Intel and ARM are likely to follow suit at some time, however one of these CPUs may not be required to run Windows 12.

    Then, in a June 2023 Windows Central piece, author Zac Bowden hypothesized that some (mostly AI) functions would be “restricted to more recent PCs with an NPU [Neural Processing Unit] or GPU.”

    What new features will Windows 12 have?

    As one might assume, it’s unclear what Windows 12 will look like. The majority of its new features are assumed to be in the works, although a lot may happen between now and the ultimate release.

    However, the corporation may have accidentally released an early prototype of the Windows 12 user interface. At Microsoft’s Ignite conference in October 2022, a mock-up displays a significantly different design:

    The floating taskbar and pill-shaped search bar in the top-center are key elements here, with the latter evocative of the Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro. The Widgets panel and Action Center are also at the top rather than the bottom of the screen.

    Bowden later stated in a Windows Central piece, “my sources say this is an early prototype of the UI that will ship with Windows 12.”

    It’s not particularly clear from the tweet above, but Bowden created something similar:

    Of course, there is no certainty that this is how Windows 12 will appear. However, Microsoft has certainly thought about it.

    AI is also expected to play a significant role in Windows 12. Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay stated during AMD’s CES 2023 presentation in January that “AI is going to reinvent how you do everything on Windows.”

    Microsoft’s investment in Bing AI (based on ChatGPT) and inclusion in the Windows 11 search bar (although in a restricted capacity) appears to be just the beginning.

    In a June 2023 Windows Central article, Bowden suggests the following features could be on the way in Windows 12:

    • New lock and login screens that are optimised for touch
    • New notification centre with ability to group notifications by person or app
    • Ability to pin widgets to desktop
    • New dynamic wallpaper feature, using AI to create “parallax” effect as you move cursor or device

    Microsoft is working on a new project to “modernize the Windows platform,” according to a previous Windows Central report. The ‘CorePC’ project is not guaranteed to be ready by Windows 12, although that is the stated goal. Contextual prompts based on information on the screen, as well as the detection of objects and text inside pictures, are among the AI functions described.

    Another distinguishing characteristic of CorePC is its flexibility, which allows Windows to scale up and down the degree of capabilities and program compatibility to fit various devices. Developing a’state separated’ platform is similar to what you’ll see on iPadOS and Android, and should result in speedier upgrades and improved security. This will limit the amount of data exposed to the user and third-party programs to what is really essential.

    CorePC will also allegedly allow Microsoft to compete with Chrome OS by creating a lightweight version of Windows 12 that runs only essential programs yet is extremely fast. It would aid Microsoft’s re-establishment in education areas dominated by Chromebooks.

    Deskmodder previously stated that Windows 12 will be constructed from the ground up, rather than being based on earlier versions. That’s what we saw with Windows 10X before many features were added to Windows 11.

    This opens the door to a dramatically new look, however drastic changes may not be acceptable among Windows’ massive user base. Indeed, in an August 2022 video, Windows Central’s Zac Bowden stated that he’d be “shocked if they did a Windows 8-style change, but I wouldn’t write it off.”

    However, if foldable PCs become popular, Bowden believes “lots of enhancements to the Windows design and UX” would be required with Windows 12. Microsoft may opt to create a foldable replacement to the canceled Surface Neo, but Windows 11 doesn’t support any of these form factors especially well in its current form, raising the possibility of a dedicated tablet mode.

    This was ditched with the introduction of Windows 11, although the experience on tablets is now good enough that it’s not needed.

    The initial Windows Central report that hinted at a 2024 release date also failed to provide any actual new features. However, it did imply that the present practice of major “Moment” upgrades every few months will be maintained.

    Minor enhancements are most likely elsewhere. Microsoft should prioritize making Windows 12 reliable and bug-free.

    Want a more detailed look at what Windows 12 may be like? 4RMD has developed an idea based on several current rumors, as well as things that people have requested:

    YouTube video

    Of course, the final version may alter significantly from this. Addy Visuals’ Windows 12 idea, on the other hand, imagines what the OS may look like if Microsoft entirely revamped its appearance and feel:

    YouTube video

    This isn’t based on any concrete evidence, but hopefully it’ll provide some inspiration for Microsoft.

    If you want to try out potential Windows 12 features before anyone else, it’s worth signing up to the Canary Channel of the Windows Insider Program. This certainly won’t be bug free (and so isn’t recommended on your primary device) but may provide an early look at features in the works. However, not all of these will make it into the final version.

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