Did Microsoft just give us a glimpse of the next Windows desktop?
Windows 10 is not the last Windows operating system. Microsoft released Windows 11 despite stating years earlier that nothing would be coming after Windows 10.
Now, the company appears focused on its new operating system Windows 11. New major updates will be released once a year and a new feature drop functionality will push new features to the operating system several times in-between.
Rumors suggest that Microsoft could be working on Windows 12 already. Nothing has been confirmed by Microsoft, and there is a chance that Microsoft will continue to evolve Windows 11 in the coming years instead of moving on to Windows 12 just years after the release of Windows 11.
A screen that Microsoft included in a presentation on this year's Ingnite event sparked the imagination of tech enthusiasts and journalists.
The screen shows a prototype of the Windows desktop. It features a floating taskbar with central icons, and several key elements of Windows 11's taskbar are now found at the top of the screen.
There is the Windows Widgets powered weather icon at the top left corner, and the system tray area with the clock on the top right.
While it is certainly possible that Microsoft is working on Windows 12, and that the desktop prototype shown is from that operating system, it is also possible that Microsoft just showed the next iteration of the Windows 11 desktop instead.
The usual development disclaimer aside, that everything may or may not be released in this state, what Microsoft has shown is certainly as disruptive as moving the taskbar icons, including the Start menu icon, to the center of the taskbar.
Apple uses a similar layout on macOS. The system has a taskbar-like floating area at the bottom and a top row that is displaying the time among other information. Microsoft's design is not copying the entire macOS desktop, but it certainly has similarities.
Zac Bowden over on Windows Central claims that he saw a similar design prototype some time ago, and that sources close to the matter told him that Microsoft aims to improve the upcoming interface for touch access.
How did the prototype image end up in an official presentation? There is a slim chance that the inclusion happened by accident. Someone did not pay attention and no one else noticed. More likely is a deliberate act to get initial feedback on the new design. With millions of eyes on every frame of the presentation, it was clear that someone would spot the new desktop, considering that it strayed away significantly from Windows 11's desktop.
Major design changes are often disliked by users. Workflows need to change and information is found elsewhere, all of a sudden. Microsoft does have the habit of removing features during design overhauls.
In summary, what Microsoft revealed is a glimpse of how the future Windows desktop could look like. Whether it could launch with Windows 12 or a new Windows 11 update remains to be seen. There is also a chance that the company picks another interface for the next desktop iteration entirely.
Now You: floating taskbar and elements at the top, what is your take on that?Advertisement