It appears Microsoft is serious about its rapid release cycle. According to several Microsoft sources, Windows 9 will be released in the spring of 2015. There is no mention or rumor of a release date for Windows 9 yet.
This follows in the footsteps of releases from the likes of Apple, Chrome and other OS and software competitors looking to keep the attention of users in a constantly changing technological world.
Let’s look at what we know about Windows 9 and what we can speculate on for the future of Windows and what Microsoft has in mind.
What Will Windows 9 Look Like?
It’s safe to assume Windows 9 will retain the majority of the Windows 8 design and functionality. Metro 2.0, anyone? However, beyond that, there’s no telling what Microsoft might revamp in these early stages to regain its footing in the PC industry. With the lack of true consumer support behind Windows 8, ditching the 8 brand for a new Windows 8 look and feel could be just what the PC consumer needs to feel Microsoft is back in its corner.
The last major announcement about the “future” of Windows came in 2003. Yes, 2003. Anyone remember “Longhorn?” It looks like BUILD 2014 may be our new Longhorn. Expect announcements from BUILD that rival the excitement, curiosity, and passion for the Windows OS.
Is Threshold Windows 9? Chances are, it is, especially with the announcement of the Service Pack-style upgrade for Windows 8.1 coming this spring. Would Microsoft be so daring as to call Windows 9 Threshold… Let’s not hold our breath on that one.
One thing is for certain about Windows 9: Without a clear-cut solution to consumer issues with the Start Menu, Microsoft will continue to drive its core consumer away from the Windows OS and into the hands of just about anyone else.
What about Windows 8.1?
According to Microsoft, Windows 8.1 will see one major upgrade considered along with the lines of a Service Pack. Service Packs are a throwback to the Windows XP/Vista/7 era, something many consumers didn’t think would be seen with the Windows 8 to 8.1 release. However, Update 1 – as many on the Web – are calling it has already been released in its developer preview stage.
Update 1, similar to the Windows 8.1 upgrade for users, will be free of charge. It will not be the size of Windows 8.1 or have the scope of changes we saw with that update. It will not follow the same pattern of being released via the Windows Store, which was one of the fundamental flaws in release for Microsoft and users. Instead, you’ll get this Update 1 through the Windows Update tool like Service Packs before.
Update 1 is expected to be released to the public in April 2014, during or directly after the BUILD developer conference running April 2nd through April 4th. If this release date holds true, we may see a Spring release cycle from Microsoft, including Windows 9 in 2015.
As always, Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley are on top of the rumor mill over Windows 8.1, Threshold and Windows 9. What would us tech folks do without them?
Can Microsoft Save the Windows Brand?
Windows 9 has the potential to be the middle-ground between what consumers want and the future of the PC OS. However, Microsoft has to be willing to listen to what its users are saying, especially when it comes to the core functionality issues with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
Without taking that input and at least meaningfully taking a real look at it, Microsoft might as well throw darts at a dartboard and hope for the best when picking features to add and remove in Windows 9.
Will Windows 9 be able to take away from the negative connotation associated with Windows 8? Hopefully. Many consumers felt threatened, thwarted and frustrated with Windows 8 and the first positive step Microsoft has taken is changing the name entirely. When April rolls around, we’ll finally get some concrete information on what to expect for the future of Windows, including details on Windows 9, at the BUILD developer conference.
At TechNorms, we will have continuing coverage of all things Windows 8, 8.1 and 9 well into the future, so stay tuned as more news breaks about Windows 9 and the future of the OS.
What features do you want to see in Windows 9 and the future? Comment and let us know! We’ll be compiling your features into a post down the line, so make them good and functional!