1. September 30 Preview
Multiple sources are stating that Microsoft is planning to release an initial developer preview of Windows 9 in just over a month, on September 30. This will still be a beta release, and is likely to see significant changes before it reaches the public. Nonetheless, it will provide our best look yet at the operating system.
2. Mini Start Menu
Microsoft’s ‘Modern’ Start Screen was widely criticized in the initial Windows 8 build, and in the last year, some steps have been taken to revive the more traditional menu design. In Windows 9, the Start Menu will resemble a compromise between the Windows 7 and 8 Start Menus, with ‘Modern’ apps running inside the menu environment.
3. Dual Purpose
Windows 9 will reportedly be able to detect the kind of device which it is installed on and then decide whether to boot to the desktop for laptops and PCs, or to the Start Screen for tablets. This will be done to address concerns that the Start Screen was hurting productivity on desktop computers.
4. Greater Unity With Windows Phone
Microsoft is reportedly looking for ways to not only unify Windows 8 and Windows RT, but also Windows Phone. It is unclear however if this is only in design language and cloud services or also in the actual core elements of the operating system.
5. Windowed Metro Apps
The original build of Windows 8 confusingly came with two sets of apps for many functions: one for the ‘Modern’ interface, and the other for the desktop. Microsoft is hoping to eliminate this in Windows 9, through the use of windowed apps which would easily run in a desktop environment.
6. Kinect 3D Gestures
While it might sounds like something out of Minority Report, Microsoft is rumored to be working on ways to incorporate 3D gestures into the latest version of the Windows operating system. These gestures will probably be based on the Kinect technology already in use on the Xbox One.
7. Cortana Integration
Microsoft’s digital assistant software called Cortana, has been widely praised in the latest Windows Phone release, and the company seems intent on further integrating it into the Windows 9 platform. It is unclear however whether the desktop version of this app will be as powerful as the mobile version, given the former’s lack of GPS and constant connectivity.
One of the most interesting rumours which we have heard about Windows 9, is that Microsoft may actually offer the operating system for free. This would amount to a very bold, but extremely risky move by Microsoft, eating into its cash reserves in order to regain top position in the operating system market.
9. No More Charms
The Charms Menu was also one of the more misunderstood features of Windows 8. While it provided quick access to settings and other functions, it was nonetheless incredibly hard to use, especially with a mouse, rather than a touchscreen. For this reason it is likely to be removed altogether in Windows 9.
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