Windows 12 Screenshot and AI Features.

Colstan

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It has been rumored that Microsoft is working on Windows 12, code-named "Next Valley", which is slated to be released next year. Rumors suggest that the software giant plans to move toward a three year cadence for major versions of the company's flagship operating system.

To support this notion, earlier this month, a reliable leaker on Twitter claimed that Intel's upcoming Meteor Lake-S CPUs, a chip expected to be released in late 2023 or early 2024, has Windows 12 on the supported operating system list. Intel has long been a close partner with Microsoft, so it is natural that a CPU expected to ship within a similar time frame would include support for the latest OS version.

An older but relevant story is from last year's Ignite keynote, primarily devoted to Microsoft 365, where the software company briefly displayed a screenshot of Windows running Microsoft Teams. What was most notable is that the interface didn't resemble any known version of Windows 11, including the latest builds from the dev channel. Windows Central took a screenshot of the event, which may feature a Windows 12 prototype interface, leaked by Microsoft themselves.

Win12leak.jpg


It's difficult to make out the changes between standard Windows 11, and what Microsoft showed in the presentation, therefore Windows Central recreated a mockup so that we can better focus on the details.

Win12Enhanced.jpg


When isolated, the differences become more obvious, such as the floating taskbar. Zac Bowden, the author of the Windows Central article, confirms that he has seen similar concepts for Windows 12, stating:

"I've seen different variations of this design layout, including a version that houses the system icons/elements along the top in a translucent bar instead of just floating on the desktop. There are also plans for more sweeping UI updates that were not shown at Ignite, including a new lock/login screen, notification center, and more. I'm told this proposed design prototype aims to achieve an interface that is better optimized for touch without diminishing the experience for mouse and keyboard users. It's something that Microsoft wants to be able to scale across desktop, laptop, and tablet form factors, including those with foldable displays."

There has been some criticism of Windows 11, which borrowed much from the canceled Windows 10X project, an operating system that was primarily designed for dual-screen devices with touch interfaces. Therefore, many Windows users have decided to stick with Windows 10, for the time being, believing that Windows 11 is not necessarily the best experience for desktop PCs. This would also follow the old notion that every other version of Windows is better than the previous release, with Windows 12 being the next "good" version.

Aside from a refined interface, Windows 12 is expected to leverage the dedicated artificial intelligence engine introduced with AMD's Ryzen 7000 family, with Intel planning core AI capabilities for their upcoming Meteor Lake chips. This is presumably part of the reason for Microsoft's multibillion dollar investment in OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT. The software company is already implementing AI functionality with Bing search in the Windows 11 taskbar. In an an interview with The Verge, Microsoft VP Yusef Medhi stated: "As we start to develop future versions of Windows we'll think about other places where AI should play a natural role in terms of the experience".

As the Windows Central article points out, a lot can and will change before the release of Windows 12. However, it is notable that Windows Central have confirmed that the concept in the screenshot is in line with the general interface prototype that Microsoft has been working on for their next operating system version. Windows 12 is rumored to launch sometime in 2024.
 
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