Windows 10 could have two different designs when Microsoft shows off the operating system’s consumer-oriented features later this January. Screenshots indicate Microsoft plans to add a light theme and a dark theme in Windows 10 – just like Apple’s OS X Yosemite operating system and Microsoft’s own Windows Phone.
Photos leaked this past weekend provide a glimpse of what some are calling the dark theme for Windows 10. The picture, which was posted by CNBeta, is reportedly of Spartan. That’s the browser that’s expected to replace Internet Explorer in Windows 10.
In the picture, Spartan doesn’t have borders but does have a title bar. In Windows 8.1, this title bar would be completely solid and have a different color based on background photos and theme colors. It’s black in this picture, matching the task bar that sits on the bottom of the screen. The task bar itself features a Start button, a space to type out questions for Cortana, Windows’ personal assistant, and simplified icons.
A report from The Verge indicates Microsoft has plans to introduce a dark theme in Windows 10, plus a light one for users who prefer it. Instead of being solid black all the time, the Windows 10 taskbar and themes will accept highlight colors, reportedly.
To date, we’ve heard nothing from Microsoft on the subject of themes for Windows 10. That being said, there have been hints that a big design overhaul for the Desktop is on the way with the operating system upgrade.
Windows 10 9901 leaked to the web during December. It included a newly black task bar for the Desktop interface. It was a noticeable change, in Windows 7 Microsoft made the task bar translucent by default. Users can customize the color of the task bar with different accent colors, but that’s about it in Windows 8.1.
Allowing more customization is always a good idea. The task bar remains one of the most easily identifiable elements of Windows in general. Light and dark themes will allow users to tailor the desktop more to their tastes in different situations. For example, there could times — like on an airplane at night – when a bright white theme is comfortable to use.
Apple’s Mac OS X picked up light and dark themes with the Yosemite update this past fall. Windows 10 borrows a few ideas from Mac OS X. A new task view allow users to see everything on their screen at the same time. Windows 10 also includes multiple desktops for organizing relevant apps for the same activities.
How changing your theme will affect Windows 10 on tablets remains unclear. In fact, we don’t even know if these themes will make in changes in what touch users see on their screen. Microsoft hasn’t shown off Windows 10’s touch interface or Continuum, the user interface that’s meant to blend the Desktop and Start Screen for 2-in-1s.
It’s likely we won’t find out if these rumors about different themes are true until Microsoft takes to a stage at its campus on January 21st to reveal Windows 10’s consumer features to the world. Windows 10 is available now, but it’s a glimpse, a small window into what Microsoft has planned for the release. Since launching the Technical Preview Microsoft has added a unified notification area for all apps, MKV support for videos and options for turning off new features. Many teams inside Microsoft have already started refreshing their apps for the upcoming release too. The Camera app works and behaves just like the Lumia Camera app from Windows Phone 8.1. The Pictures app has a side menu for easy navigation. Cortana also appears in some leaks.
Microsoft plans to launch Windows 10 in final form sometime in 2015.