While Google I/O and Apple’s WWDC are aimed at developers, they also tend to reveal some of the biggest consumer news of the year. Microsoft’s Build has tended to be the nerdier and more developer-centric one of the big three spring tech conferences, but today’s keynote was the most sparse I’ve seen yet, barely lasting 15 minutes.
In the keynote, CEO Satya Nadella focused on developer and cloud news, and barely mentioned updates to Windows 10 at all. It turns out there was a good reason for that: according to Nadella, Microsoft apparently is planning to share more information about “the next generation of Windows” very soon.
Specifically, Nadella said:
“…and soon we will share one of the most significant updates to Windows of the past decade to unlock greater economic opportunity for developers and creators. I’ve been self-hosting it over the past several months, and I’m incredibly excited about the next generation of Windows. Our promise to you is this: we will create more opportunity for every Windows developer today and welcome every creator who is looking for the most innovative, new, and open platform to build and distribute and monetize applications. We look forward to sharing more very soon.”
It’s not clear exactly what’s meant by “next generation of Windows.”
For the past few years, Microsoft has released a ‘big’ Windows ‘ 10 update twice a year, adding on new features and major tweaks. When Windows 10 was released, Microsoft promised it would be “the last Windows” due to its schedule of constant updates, so unless something has changed, I wouldn’t exactly expect a Windows 11.
Still, it seems that this so-called next-gen Windows may be bigger than any update we’ve seen since Windows 10 was launched in 2015. The fact that Microsoft is planning to hold a separate reveal for the update is telling, as its normal bi-annual updates are the type of thing it loves to talk about at Build.
It’s also curious that Nadella specifically referred to it as “the next generation of Windows” as opposed to just “the next update to Windows 10.” But maybe I’m just reading too deeply into it.
We’re also still living with coronavirus, so maybe Microsoft thought it might be best to highlight Windows separately rather than meshed in with the rest of its developer-oriented news.
We know Microsoft has been working on a major visual refresh codenamed ‘Sun Valley‘ that will include new icons, rounded corners, a new Start menu design, and an overall more modern look. The company is also reportedly planning to update the Windows store to include a wider range of apps.
In any case, we should be learning more “very soon.” Let’s just hope the next version of Windows finally gets all those old icons updated.