Microsoft officially revealed Windows 11 on June 24 at a digital event where it walked viewers through the new interfaces and features. Among those is the addition of Android apps to the Microsoft Store, a snap tool for easy multitasking, and Teams being integrated directly into Windows 11. We also learned the OS will be a free upgrade for eligible Windows 10 laptops and desktops.
Windows 11 was revealed today, ushing in a new era for Microsoft’s desktop operating system. What we previously suspected would be a transformative update to Windows 10 ended up being an entirely new OS. Where Windows 10 undid some of the mistakes of Windows 8 by reverting to a more familiar layout, Windows 11 attempts to modernize, simplify and introduce new features designed to make users more productive.
From what we’ve seen, Windows 11 appears to be a gorgeous remodel of Windows 10 and a breath of fresh air from the antiquated interfaces found in the world’s most popular laptop OS. We will learn more about Windows 11 next week when the OS beta goes live. Until then, here is a breakdown of everything we do and don’t know about Windows 11.
Microsoft didn’t provide a specific release date for Windows 11 but we know the new OS will arrive this holiday. But first, a beta will launch starting in July so testers can get their hands on the operating system and provide valuable feedback before the worldwide launch.
Microsoft had long teased a major update to its desktop operating system. Called Sun Valley, this update was assumed to be an overhaul rather than an entirely new OS after a Microsoft exec called Windows 10 the “last version of Windows.” We now know better.
Windows 10 will eventually be phased out in favor of Windows 11, which Microsoft will arrive holiday 2021. Windows 11 will be a free update for users of Windows 10, Windows 8 and Windows 7.
Microsoft will eventually phase out Windows 10 by dropping support. As it stands, Win10 will stop receiving support on October 14, 2025, giving users about 4 years before they are strongly encouraged to transition to Windows 11.
Microsoft wrote in its support document: “Microsoft will continue to support at least one Windows 10 Semi-Annual Channel until October 14, 2025.”
Outlook of Windows 11
Windows 11 is poised to be the next-gen OS Windows users have demanded, and frankly, deserve. Now 5 years old, Windows 10 is getting long in the tooth, having received a trickle of new features and design updates over the years. As much as Windows has improved in its lifetime, Microsoft’s OS has a long way to go. Unstable updates have left a bitter taste in users’ mouths while a fragmented UI lags behind modern web standards. With Windows 11, Microsoft has a chance to start over by delivering a fluid operating system that performs well even on budget hardware. Modernizing the layout, adding new quality of life features, and promising significant (and stable!) updates should reverse the adoption of alternative operating systems and grow the Windows market share. Microsoft showed last year that it could create contemporary, compromise-free software with the new edge browser. If Windows 11 delivers, then Windows users will finally have some ammunition to bring to the age-old Microsoft vs. Apple war.
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