All indications are that Microsoft isn’t prepared to sacrifice its future for the sake of pleasing longtime users of traditional desktop apps in Windows. On the other hand, new screenshots indicate that Microsoft is preparing to meet users who have a Desktop-interface preference in the middle with some changes in Windows 9.
According to screenshots leaked by Wzascok, Microsoft is already in the early stages of building Windows 9, the next major version of Windows that’s expected to arrive sometime in 2015. While most of the leaked screenshots don’t actually reveal anything too different from Windows 8.1, a final screenshot in the series showcases a new option to allow Windows Store apps to surface on the Desktop taskbar.
In theory, surfacing Windows Store apps on the desktop would make it more convenient for users who prefer the Desktop instead of using Windows Store apps.
Today, users have to hit the Start button or use Windows 8’s new tasking menu to see what Windows Store apps are running on that machine. Users have to exit the desktop and go back to the Start Screen if they wish to launch Windows Store apps too. To be clear, Windows Store apps are the new application types that only run in the Start Screen. For example, Windows 8’s Mail and Calendar apps are Windows Store apps.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible for anyone outside of Microsoft to actually vouch for these screenshots’ authenticity. It should be noted that most Microsoft watchers are referring to Wzascok as “a well-known leaker,” indicating that he’s at least shared accurate information about Microsoft’s plans in the past.
These screenshots back up the rumors we’ve heard about Windows 9’s purpose. Reportedly, Microsoft will use the operating system to introduce a more refined version of the Metro Design principles and Start Screen that it introduced in Windows 8. Part of that refinement includes tying the Desktop and Start Screen systems together so that they don’t feel like two completely different operating systems.
Windows 9 isn’t expected to arrive until early 2015.