Windows 11 is finally making its commercial debut after years of close calls and project delays, reports The Verge’s Tom Warren on Tuesday. Chinese electronics conglomerate Baidu recently dropped the ball and leaked screenshots. The Verge responded with a full video presentation on Microsoft’s newest operating system.
Check out the clip below:
Microsoft execs have been hyping Windows 11 since Windows 10X fell short of expectations last month. The tech giant had planned on releasing Windows 10X as an entirely separate entity, a simplified take on Windows 10 meant for dual-screen laptops, but the project failed to take off. That was before the pandemic. Microsoft eventually settled for a single-screen version of Windows 10X, the features integrated into a system update for Windows 10. 10X was scrapped alongside the now-defunct Surface Neo, Microsoft’s first dual-screen prototype. Head of Windows servicing and delivery John Cable explains: “Instead of bringing a product called Windows 10X to market in 2021 like we originally intended, we are leveraging learnings from our journey thus far and accelerating the integration of key foundational 10X technology into other parts of Windows and products at the company.”
The concept stuck, however. Microsoft cracked down on the numerous facets that made Windows 10X unique and bundled it into a brand-new user interface. The result was Windows 11. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella teased Windows 11 during last month’s Build 21 keynote speech, saying, “Soon we will share one of the most significant updates to Windows of the past decade to unlock greater economic opportunity for developers and creators. I’ve been self-hosting it over the past several months, and I’m incredibly excited about the next generation of Windows. Our promise to you is this: we will create more opportunity for every Windows developer today and welcome every creator who is looking for the most innovative, new, open platform to build and distribute and monetize applications. We look forward to sharing more very soon.” The company is holding a special Windows event on June 24 to formally unveil its more streamlined operating system.
Now, we want to stay optimistic, but longtime Microsoft patrons expecting cutting-edge technology may not like what’s coming. Windows 11 is more like an iPad than users realize, with its simplified UI, textually lacking taskbar, rounded corners, missing Start Menu, and emphasis on an easy-to-access app tray. New snap controls allow users to navigate the interface as quickly as switching open windows, and it’s bringing back Windows Widgets to really hit the point home that this is a computer for the tablet age.
The desktop is uncharacteristically clean, with all apps focused on a tray fixed on the lower-middle half of the screen. Microsoft had previously made attempts at mimicking the success of the smartphone with its foldable edges, 13-inch keyboard-lens monitors, and touch-screen technology, but the refinements were regarded as more of a high-priced gimmick. A reprint of an existing gadget isn’t exactly innovative, and now desktop and laptop computers are about to become less like Windows than ever. Microsoft’s distinctive ‘95 interface design, which served as the cornerstone of its product for decades, is being replaced by Apple and smartphone lineaments. For users who have always preferred Windows user interface over the Mac’s more iPad-like topography, the impending release of Windows 11 is hardly exciting.
The basis for Windows 11, Windows 10X, was Microsoft’s bid at competing with Chromebooks, which features Linus tech as its primary UI. Chrome OS is in every way a glorified Android phone, which in turn makes Windows 11 a copy of a copy. Again, the attempt is admirable, but it’s hardly the revolutionary, radical new computer Microsoft promised its legions of customers. On the bright side, Windows 11 features cascade windows, improved Xbox capability, and a new startup sound. The operating system is still in beta, but executives are promising a new Windows store to boot, one that offers third-party developers more mobility and better monetization options. The company is reportedly working on a new App Store that’s open to all software applications and video games, even indie browsers.
The company reveal later this month will only showcase the OS in beta form, so Windows 11 developers still have plenty of time to consider user feedback and make necessary adjustments. Right now, it’s basically a tablet with a pre-attached keyboard and mouse. But Microsoft is anything but insular, and will readily listen to any complaints (or commendations) on the ins and outs of their latest operating system for users.