Windows 12 news, release dates: what we know thus far Windows 12 news, release dates: what we know thus far

From October 2023, Windows 12 feels like a long time out there in the future. Rumors circulate, suggestions are being made, ideas advanced. The new Microsoft’s OS, if the company does work on it, is still a project far from fruition, and yet the web is already full of bits and pieces of information about it. What is it going to be? Are we in for a facelift and more of a marketing special operation, or, on the contrary, the new system will be drastically different from what Microsoft has taught us to expect? Let’s sum up what’s on the table so far, and what’s still in the air.

Windows 12 release: what’s certain

Off the bat, there should be a disclaimer here: Microsoft hasn’t confirmed an upcoming release of Windows 12 in any way. You already know that, most likely, but maintaining trustworthiness of our site as the source of Windows news requires laying out the current status.

That said, there are some hard facts that indicate the new Windows release is in the works. Microsoft’s notorious aptitude to change plans rather drastically may turn it into Windows 11.X, or Windows 12, or Windows Infinite, for all we know. But something is definitely brewing.

Snaps from Windows confs

Meeting dedicated to next gen Windows in Outlook calendar, snapped at Build 2023 developer conferenceMeeting dedicated to next gen Windows in Outlook calendar, snapped at Build 2023 developer conference (source: Microsoft)

In the domain of visual evidence, there are two snapshots from a couple of conferences about all things Microsoft, Ignite 2022 and Build 2023. The former was perceived by the audience as an advanced rendering of Windows 12 desktop, and the latter is a very good tease: it was shown as a screenshot of Outlook calendar that has a meeting entitled “The next generation of Windows,” which was instantly interpreted in favor of the looming release of the new OS.

Is this the evidence allowing concrete conclusions? Of course not, especially given Microsoft’s habit of launching and scrapping projects (Windows X comes to mind). But it’s out there, and it feels like these were not accidental leaks.

Canary Channel

In March 2023, Microsoft added the Canary Channel to its Windows Insider Program, which allows users (millions of them, actually, and virtually anyone can apply) to get their hands on bleeding edge builds. 

Currently, there are four channels to the program: 

– Canary Channel,

– Windows Dev Channel,

– Windows Beta Channel,

– Windows Release Preview Channel.

Canary channel gives the earliest possible access, and its introduction does hint there is a major release of Windows coming. But will it be another iteration of what’s already marketed or a brand-new version of the OS?

Words from Intel’s CFO

Possible Windows 12 desktop shown by Microsoft at Ignite 2022 (Source: Microsoft)Possible Windows 12 desktop shown by Microsoft at Ignite 2022 (source: Microsoft)

This is probably the strongest evidence confirming that we are to expect Windows 12, indeed. David Zinsner, Intel’s CFO, mentioned a “Windows refresh” at the 2023 Citi’s analyst conference. Since this guy is with the hardware giant, he teased developments in his department, but those do entail respective updates of the software portion.

Specifically, David Zinsner’s speech pointed to an AI coprocessor they are adding to the latest CPU, Meteor Lake. Coupled with Yusuf Mehdi’s statements about “natural role” AI should play in user-OS interactions, and factoring in the recent Windows Copilot rollout, this may be interpreted as a strong signal confirming it’ll be a new system, not just a facelift of the existing ones.

Windows 12 release: (un)reliable guesswork

Most news on the subject are far from being news per se; they are more along the lines of “this is what I believe will be in Windows 12.” But some guesswork feels more to the point. Let’s see the basis behind it.

Microsoft’s 3-year Windows development and release cycle

Back in the middle of 2022, Zac Bowden, a senior editor with Windows Central, posted a piece stating that Microsoft is shifting to a three-year OS development and release cycle. While Windows 10 and Windows 11 are six years apart, prior to the former, the company did release new versions of its flagship product every three years. If the double-backing announced by Zac is true, simple arithmetic puts the release of Windows 12 to 2024.

Sidenote: Zac Bowden is widely accepted as a reliable source of information on Windows. According to his other insights, the new version will have:

– AI features built-in, as confirmed by Intel’s CFO,

– lightweight modular code, which means faster processing of everything and much wider customization options,

– codename Hudson Valley, although this one sounds Apple-ish.

Bits of code in versions released in the Canary channel

The aforementioned Canary channel is also a source of information of sorts. In the code of versions released there, some users have noticed peculiar combinations of words, such as “subscription edition,” “subscription type,” and “subscription status.” These may point to two things:

  1. Since Windows 11 is not a subscription-based product, there will be something brand new from Microsoft;
  2. The company is toying with the idea of making its next OS a subscription.

Again, this is just guesswork, although substantiated with something concrete.

What do you think about Microsoft’s plans for Windows 12? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

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