Windows 12 rumors and hints: what we know so far

Jul 5, 2023, 11:00 AM UTC
3 mins read
Windows 12 rumors and hints: what we know so far
(Photo by Harole Ethan on Unsplash)

Microsoft, the tech giant known for its popular operating system Windows, is reportedly gearing up to unveil a new iteration, Windows 12, in the coming years. While the company has yet to officially confirm its existence, hints and rumors have emerged, indicating that Windows 12 may be on the horizon.

Scheduled for a potential release in the fall of 2024, with a wider rollout anticipated in 2025, Windows 12 is expected to bring forth a range of fresh design ideas and enhancements. One of the intriguing features being explored is a ‘floating’ taskbar, aimed at creating a visually distinctive desktop experience. Microsoft envisions achieving this effect by separating the taskbar from the desktop and introducing rounded edges.

Windows 12 rumors and hints: what we know so far
Floating taskbar for Windows 12.

Although plans are subject to change, Microsoft’s current engineering process indicates a potential release of Windows 13 in 2027 or beyond. The company has a history of adapting its strategies, so it’s worth keeping an eye on any updates that may arise.

At the recent Build 2023 developer conference, Microsoft unveiled exciting updates for Windows 11, including the introduction of Windows Copilot and AI integration within the desktop operating system. Amidst these announcements, a subtle hint was dropped regarding a “next-gen Windows,” hinting at the possibility of Windows 12.

During one of the keynote presentations, keen observers noticed a screenshot featuring references to a session titled “Next-gen of Windows.” While the session itself was not discussed in detail, the explicit mention of “the next generation of Windows” strongly suggests that it could be alluding to Windows 12.

Windows 12 rumors and hints: what we know so far
Teased at Build 2023 developer conference.

In previous instances, Microsoft indirectly referenced a term known as ‘Next Valley Prototype Design,’ which served as a placeholder for their upcoming next-generation Windows. Based on internal tests conducted by the company, it seems plausible that Windows 12 may offer a revamped desktop appearance, with the standout addition being a floating taskbar.

Further evidence supporting this new design concept can be traced back to preview builds of Windows 11. Recent iterations of these builds have included an option to disable the system tray clock and date, aligning with the reports and speculations surrounding the floating taskbar feature.

If the rumors hold true, the wait for Windows 12 may not be too lengthy. Speculations suggest that the new operating system could potentially debut in 2024, although the final name is yet to be confirmed.

Sources familiar with the development of Windows 12 have indicated that Microsoft is optimizing the operating system for ARM processors. Additionally, references to “deeply integrated AI features” have been uncovered, which go beyond the already introduced Smart Snap UI and Windows Copilot.

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