Microsoft unveiled its next-generation operating system – Windows 11 – at a virtual event on 24 June. According to Panos Panay, chief product officer of Windows and devices at Microsoft, the new software aims to help users “create, learn, play, and connect in all new ways”.
The new software – which will be available as a free update to existing Windows 10 users – offers a simplified design and user experience to “empower your productivity and inspire your creativity”, said Panay. As part of this, the ‘start’ button has been moved to the centre of the screen and uses the cloud and Microsoft 365 to show recent files accessed from a user’s various devices.
Also new are Snap Layouts, Snap Groups and Desktops, which allow users to run multiple windows and place apps side by side.
“The last 18 months drove new behaviour for how we create meaningful connections with people digitally,” said Panay. “Even as we start to return to more in-person interaction, we want to continue to make it easy for people to stay close with each other no matter where they are.”
With this, Microsoft has integrated Chat from Microsoft Teams into the taskbar. “Now you can instantly connect through text, chat, voice or video with all of your personal contacts, anywhere, no matter the platform or device they’re on,” said Panay.
Windows 11 has also been designed with gaming in mind. The new operating system uses some of the latest gaming technology for immersive graphics, faster load times and more detailed game worlds.
Microsoft has leveraged its expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) in the new release with Widgets – a personalised feed powered by AI and browser performance from Microsoft Edge.
The business is also working to create a more open ecosystem for developers and creators, by enabling developers and independent software vendors to bring their apps to the Microsoft Store, regardless of the framework, which will create “an opportunity to reach and engage with more people,” said Panay.
“We’re also announcing a progressive change to our revenue share policies where app developers can now bring their own commerce into our store and keep 100 per cent of the revenue – Microsoft takes nothing. We believe creating a more open ecosystem ultimately benefits our customers – giving them secure, frictionless access to the apps, games, movies, shows and web content they want and need.”
An early preview of Windows 11 will be released for app developers in late June.