Microsoft is planning an event next week to unveil CEO Satya Nadella's vision for one of the biggest Windows updates of the last decade. Of course, it could be another top marketing marketing trick from Microsoft called Windows 11, and it has certainly gotten a lot of people talking about it.
A "leak" of this upgrade Windows 11 this week gives a partial preview of what's to come. If what we've all seen represents what Microsoft has to offer, it looks impressive. However, if the changes that Windows 11 will bring are only superficial, it can be another joke about the platform and its past.
To be clear, this information is based on leaks, reports from insiders, and a recent version of Windows 11 on the Internet. The final form of the next major Windows upgrade could be very different. This, however, will depend heavily on the development that Microsoft will make between next week's announcement and the final release of Windows 11 when it launches for good. Based on the company's history, however, it will probably take a miracle to see profound changes in Windows code.
Software release numbers are technically completely arbitrary. Their meaning is decided by the developers. Microsoft could call the next version of Windows 8765.1111.2 and no one can understand why.
At the same time, version numbers also convey some significance even to end users. Some features, such as Ubuntu version numbers, indicate when a particular version of the distribution was released. Numbers mean progress or some milestones achieved.
Considering what happened to Windows 10, the Windows 11 release number suggests something big is coming. But given the release numbers of Windows 10, we can assume that it will not be something like the 21H2 version. Unfortunately, based on what we've seen so far, it may look exactly like Windows 10 21H2.
The CEO of Microsoft described the next release of Windows as one of the most important in the last ten years, so many people will expect to see just that. But the statement is similar to that made for Windows 8, which brought many changes and greatly annoyed Windows users. Even Windows 10, which was officially released in 2015, brought changes not only to the user experience, but also to many underlying frameworks and APIs.
The leak of Windows 11 is serving too much right now. Displays almost half of what the upcoming operating system will bring. The new Start menu appears, the taskbar in the center, the thin rounded corners of Windows. All of this prepares users for what is to come.
Microsoft could really name the operating system Windows 10X, as the next version seems to have a lot in common with Windows 10. Unfortunately, Windows 10X will not be released and will be replaced by Windows 11, creating more expectations. Will Microsoft be able to impress or disappoint once again?
According to the CEO's promises, people are expecting something new and impressive. Unless something changes beyond the original user interface, many will wonder what the drumbeats are for. Microsoft will probably try to push Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 users to upgrade to Windows 11, and re-open old wounds for a way to use the upgrade as it did with Windows 10 a few years ago.
Some of the changes that Windows 11 will bring may be important to some users. Some of these, however, could be lost by people trying to find their way into the new Windows 11 interface.
The question is whether these changes, however significant, justify changing the version from 10 to 11, especially when the company promised that Windows 10 would be the latest version. Microsoft improves the usability of the operating system, modifies the appearance and changes the Start menu throughout the life of Windows 10. Now it does the same and names the operating system Windows 11.
The company probably shot its leg and does not know it.
Windows has been the dominant operating system in the world for personal and business use for years. Over the years the operating system has acquired users who choose software (software, see PhotoShop, gaming, etc.) based on Windows. Whenever Microsoft needs to upgrade Windows, it must ensure that it does not compromise compatibility with the many older programs used by its users. This of course prevents Microsoft from making improvements that can get away with old APIs and frameworks.
The promotion of a completely new operating system that focuses on improving the appearance and functionality due to marketing, can disappoint many, especially if after the first upgrade to version 11.1 we see a BSOD again.
Microsoft may still surprise us next week with revelations not only about new user interfaces and features, but also major architectural changes to the foundations of Windows. Windows 11 could deserve the new name, but Microsoft needs to find a way out of the past.