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Windows 12: Everything you need to 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 release of Windows 11, which moved from an abstract notion to an actual announcement in only a few weeks. Microsoft’s decision was impacted by the cancellation of Windows 10X, although the corporation had obviously been working on a new operating system for some time.

Microsoft does not appear to be stopping there. According to reports, a successor, dubbed Windows 12, is in the works for a possible release next year. Everything you need to know is right here.

Will there be a Windows 12?

It appears likely. There was a six-year gap between Windows 10 and Windows 11, although there are no indications that the latter will 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. Although author Zac Bowden claims “my sources,” he has a solid track record delivering Windows news.

According to a February 2022 story on the German tech blog Deskmodder, Microsoft is preparing for Windows 12. The post cites “our information” as a source, but it also alludes to a now-deleted SwiftOnSecurity tweet that was later discovered to be a joke:

With two stories from respected sites revealing a new version, it appears quite likely that Windows 12 is on the way.

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, 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. It was allegedly in the “early planning and engineering phases” as of July 2022.

This is consistent with the Deskmodder story, which stated that Microsoft began working on Windows 12 in March 2022.

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 stated when Windows 11 will no longer be maintained, although a decade after its debut suggests about 2031. A new version would need to be released at least a few years prior, but it appears that we will have it much sooner.

Remember that the release date of Windows 12 is not the day you will be able to use it. A slow deployment over several months is probable, with newer devices generally prioritized.

Will Windows 12 be free?

It should be, at least at first. Microsoft provided a free upgrade to Windows 10, which is still theoretically accessible.

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.

So, when Windows 12 is launched, it will very 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, although it’s difficult to say what they may be. While laptops and PCs have had the same fundamental architecture for decades, many other specifications have evolved swiftly.

The hardware requirements for Windows 11 have sparked debate, but security technologies like TPM and Secure Boot are only expected to grow more crucial to Microsoft in the future.

You’ll almost certainly need a current chip from Intel, AMD, or Qualcomm, although other chipmakers may be popular by then. Expect to see an increase in the existing minimums of 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a 720p display.

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

Given Microsoft’s recent investment in OpenAI, the firm behind the ChatGPT bot, there’s also a risk that AI may be required. According to Windows Latest, AMD is working on AI-enabled CPUs, and it’s probable that Intel and ARM will follow suit at some point.

What new features will Windows 12 have?

We have no clue what new features will be accessible in Windows 12, as you might assume. Most of these are probably unknown to Microsoft at this point.

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.

The tweet above doesn’t make it apparent, so Zac Bowden of Windows Central replicated it:

Windows 12

Of course, there is no certainty that this is how Windows 12 will appear. A lot may happen between now and the final release.

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.

Windows 12

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

However, if foldable PCs become popular, Bowden believes “plenty of upgrades 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 dropped with the release of Windows 11, however it might be reinstated in Windows 12.

AI appears to be a major element in Windows 12. At AMD’s CES 2023 presentation in January, Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay declared that “AI is going to redefine how you do everything on Windows”. We don’t yet know what features it will power, but it will very certainly be based on the NPU (Neural Processing Unit) seen in ARM variants of the Surface Pro 9.

Aside from that, modest enhancements are anticipated. Microsoft should prioritize making Windows 12 reliable and bug-free.

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 new features might be introduced to future versions of Windows every few months, maybe four times a year. Internally, they’re called as “Moments,” but author Zac Bowden believes the branding may not make it into the public edition.

Achraf Grini
Achraf Grini
Hello This is AG. I am a Tech lover and I have long been a promoter and editor for a shopping company, I have followed smartphones and headphones and others. I covers iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, writing tutorials, buying guides and reviews.
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