Last Updated: April 14, 2022
Six years after introducing Windows 10 to the world, Microsoft has finally revealed the next version of their OS—Windows 11. The long-anticipated announcement was made at an online event on Thursday, ending speculation on what the next OS chapter for Windows would look like.
Over a week ago, it became known that Microsoft had scheduled Windows 10’s retirement for October 2025, prompting discussion about what the tech giant has in store next. There were theories on whether a new OS would be announced during Microsoft’s (then) upcoming event, what features could be anticipated, and what it would be named.
Well, the wait is over. Confirming predictions, product manager Panos Panay introduced Microsoft 11 to the world during a live-streamed event on June 24. The new OS is expected to become widely available during the holiday season this year as a free upgrade for all Windows 10 users.
However, there are certain compatibility requirements for the new OS, so if you want to check whether your PC is compatible, download the PC Health Check app.
Here is what to expect from the new OS:
The most obvious difference Windows 11 users will notice is the design of the new OS. The latest version has a sleeker, more minimalist look that’s designed with productivity in mind. The design focuses on rounded edges and muted pastel colors. The Start menu can be found at the very center of the taskbar along with other app icons arranged next to it, reminiscent of Mac OS’s signature look. In simpler terms, as per Microsoft’s blog post, “Windows 11 cuts through complexity and brings you simplicity.”
Multitasking Made Easy
Some other new features include Snap Layouts, Snap Groups, and Desktops, which allow users to have flexibility while working on their PC and multitask more easily. With these features, the desktop can be customized until the perfect layout is achieved, balancing work, education, gaming, etc.
Chat from Microsoft Teams
Following the 2020 remote work revolution (according to recent statistics), Microsoft is embracing the importance of remote work, education, and communication. Microsoft Teams has been widely used for remote communication during the pandemic, which is why it’s now being incorporated into the new OS. Chat from Microsoft Teams will be a feature integrated into the taskbar to allow users an instant connection to their contacts on any platform.
PC and Xbox Gaming Support
According to recent gaming statistics, 65% of American adults play video games. Microsoft acknowledges those using Windows for gaming and is including some of the latest gaming technology in their new rollout.
This includes DirectX 12 Ultimate, DirectStorage, and Auto HDR to improve the graphics, high frame rates, quicker loading times, and an overall sharper look of the game’s design. Additionally, Windows is introducing Xbox Game Pass, giving members access to over 100 high-quality PC games—a list Microsoft promises to expand.
Continuing the theme of productivity enhancement, Windows 11 will also contain Widgets—an AI-powered personalized feed that lets users stay in touch with their interests while working. According to Microsoft, using Widgets, they aim to “create a vibrant pipeline for global brands and local creators alike, in a way that both consumers and creators can benefit from.”
A New and Improved Microsoft Store
Microsoft Store is also getting a revamp to operate faster and offer a more user-friendly interface. Not only will a large number of apps be available, but games, shows, and movies will also be included. Apps such as Visual Studio, Disney+, Adobe Creative Cloud, Zoom, and Canva can be expected to be found in the Microsoft Store.
However, the standout announcement of this section is the incorporation of Android apps into Windows—a first-time collaboration between the two. Android apps can be discovered through the Microsoft Store but can be downloaded through Amazon Appstore.
Economic Opportunities for Developers and Creators
Developers and independent software vendors will be able to bring their apps to the Microsoft Store, regardless of the app framework they were built on. With its new revenue share policy, Microsoft will allow developers to keep 100% of their app revenue if they bring their own commerce. If they choose to use Microsoft’s commerce, the revenue division will be 85/15.