A posting to a Chinese social networking profile belonging to Microsoft is claiming that the company has plans to reveal Windows 9 “soon.”
Earlier this morning, employees of Microsoft China posted to social network Weibo about Windows 9. The post, which translated exactly started, “Microsoft’s latest OS Windows 9 is coming soon,” ended asking users for their comments on the Start Menu making its return.
Just as if it had done something wrong, Microsoft China quickly removed the post without further comment, indicating that at the very least it felt it wasn’t information that should have been shared this morning. As the message also included a Windows 9 logo that was taken from a wallpaper designer it’s easy to conclude that this Windows 9 post was a mix up, however the timing of the post does seem interesting.
In recent weeks rumors have pointed to Microsoft revealing more about its plans for Windows 9. More specifically, rumors have said that Microsoft plans to hold an event on September 30th and release a technical preview shortly after. As the story goes, the Windows 9 Technical Preview will be aimed at IT professionals and those who need to test the operating system, but even enthusiasts at home will be able to download it to their machine.
Understandably, when Windows 9 arrives it’ll be a very big deal – even for people who don’t usually care about operating system updates for their notebooks, tablets and desktops.
For starters, Microsoft has already confirmed that it has plans to add some key features in a future version of Windows. The Start Menu that allowed users to access their favorite programs and files directly from the Desktop for years could make its return in this version. If the pictures that Microsoft showed off at its BUILD 2014 event are indicative of what we can expect, users will be able to check their mail and apps from Live Tiles inside this new Start Menu.
At that same time, Microsoft revealed that it had plans to decouple Windows Store apps from the Start Screen. With the change, Windows 9 users will be able to open apps like the new Windows Mail app alongside Desktop apps like Microsoft Office and iTunes. Both of these are features users who own Desktops and laptops that don’t have touch have clamored for.
Since Microsoft made those announcements, information about other potential Windows 9 features have surfaced at a steady pace. Windows 9, could be the first operating system besides Windows Phone 8.1 that includes Cortana. Cortana is the personal assistant and voice search features that give Apple’s Siri and Google Now a run for their money.
Just a few weeks ago, rumors surfaced that Microsoft plans to build on top the system for changing on-screen elements that it started on in Windows 8.1. Reportedly, Windows 9 will adapt to users devices. Those who have a laptop or desktop without a touchscreen will only see the Desktop interface. All apps will open there. Users who have a tablet running Windows 9 that can run Desktop apps will notice that the Desktop disappears on their device entirely. Presumably, convertibles like the Surface Pro 3 will still allow users to move between the two. No one will see the Charms Bar, allegedly, though we don’t know how Microsoft plans to surface their functionality in Windows 9.
It may sound a bit soon, but now is the right time for Windows 9. It’s been two years since the last major Windows release. That’s about the same time it took Microsoft to reveal what was in store for Windows 7 after Windows Vista.
It’s too early to know whether Microsoft plans to give Windows 9 to Windows 8 users free of charge. Microsoft did give away the Windows 8.1 update to Windows 8 users for free, but that update wasn’t as big as what Windows 9 is expected to be.