Windows 12 release date, new features and compatible devices
Windows 12 release date, new features and compatible devices
Windows 10 was originally described as “the latest version of Windows”, with Microsoft providing regular updates rather than releasing an all-new version.
However, that all changed with the release of Windows 11, which went from an abstract concept to an official announcement within weeks. The cancellation of Windows 10X swayed Microsoft’s decision, but the company had clearly been working on a new operating system for some time.
It doesn’t look like Microsoft is stopping there either. Reports suggest a successor, likely to be known as Windows 12, is in development ahead of a potential release next year. Here’s everything you need to know.
Will there be a Windows 12?
It seems likely. There was a six-year gap between the release of Windows 10 and Windows 11, but there is no indication that the latter will be the last major version of Windows.
A Windows Central article from July 2022 suggested that a successor to Windows 11 is in the works, although there is no guarantee that it will be known as Windows 12. Author Zac Bowden cites “my sources”, but he has a solid background in Windows news.
A February 2022 article from German tech site Deskmodder suggested that Microsoft was gearing up for Windows 12. The article cites “our information” as the source, although it also references a now-deleted tweet from SwiftOnSecurity which turned out to be a joke:
With two reports from reputable publications indicating that there will be a new version, it seems very likely that Windows 12 is on the way.
When will Windows 12 be released?
As you might expect, we don’t know exactly when Windows 12 (or its equivalent) will be released.
Our best guess so far comes from the same Windows Central article, which says there will be a new major release of Windows every three years. With Windows 11 released in 2021, this suggests we’ll see Windows 12 at some point in time. 2024. As of July 2022, it was reportedly in the “early planning and engineering stages”.
This matches the Deskmodder article, which says Microsoft started working on Windows 12 in March 2022.
For context, the most recent versions of Windows have had around 10 or more years of support from Microsoft. The big exception to this is Windows 8’s four years of consumer updates, but that was mostly due to its poor reception.
Microsoft hasn’t said when Windows 11 will end support, but a decade after release would suggest around 2031. A new version should be available at least a few years before, but it looks like we’ll get it much sooner. .
Remember that Windows 12 release date is not the day when you can start using it. There will likely be a gradual rollout taking several months, with newer hardware usually taking priority.
Will Windows 12 be free?
It should be, at least at first. Microsoft offered a free upgrade to Windows 10, and it’s technically still available.
Upgrading to Windows 11 won’t cost you a penny either, provided your device meets the hardware requirements, and there’s no indication that Microsoft is imposing a time limit on it. Purchasing a standalone copy starts at $139 / £119.99.
So once Windows 12 is released, it will almost certainly be free for a while. Microsoft will naturally be keen to bring as many people as possible to the new operating system.
Will Windows 12 have different hardware requirements?
Probably, but it’s impossible to predict what they might be. While laptops and PCs have kept the same basic design for decades, many other specs have changed rapidly over the years.
Windows 11’s hardware requirements have proven controversial, but security features like TPM and Secure Boot will only become more important to Microsoft in the future.
You’ll probably need a recent chip like Intel, AMD, or Qualcomm, but other chipmakers might be popular by then. Expect the current minimums of 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and a 720p display to all be increased.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
It’s also possible we’ll see a requirement for AI, given Microsoft’s recent investment in OpenAI, the company behind the ChatGPT bot. As Windows Latest reports, AMD is working on processors with built-in AI, and it’s likely Intel and ARM will follow suit at some point.
What new features will Windows 12 have?
As you’d expect, we have no idea what new features will be available in Windows 12. At this point, it’s likely that Microsoft doesn’t know about most of them either.
However, the company may have inadvertently revealed an early version of the Windows 12 UI. A mockup at Microsoft’s Ignite conference in October 2022 shows a very different design:
Key features here include a floating taskbar and a pill-shaped search bar in the top center, the latter reminiscent of the dynamic island of the iPhone 14 Pro. The Widgets panel and Action Center are also at the top of the screen rather than the bottom.
It’s not particularly clear from the tweet above, but Windows Central’s Zac Bowden recreated it:
Zac Bowden/Windows Central
Of course, there’s no guarantee that this will be what Windows 12 will look like. A lot could change between now and a final release.
Previously, Deskmodder suggested that Windows 12 would be built from the ground up, rather than being based on previous versions. This is what we saw with Windows 10X, before many features eventually made their way to Windows 11.
This opens up the possibility of a radically different design, although big changes may not prove popular with Windows’ huge user base. Indeed, Windows Central’s Zac Bowden said in an August 2022 video that he would be “shocked if they made a Windows 8 style change, however, I wouldn’t undo it.”
But if foldable PCs take off in a big way, Bowden said “we should see a lot of improvements in Windows design and UX with Windows 12.” Microsoft may decide to release a foldable alternative to the canceled Surface Neo, but Windows 11 doesn’t cater particularly well to either form factor in its current form, which would raise the prospect of a tablet mode. specific. This was discontinued with the introduction of Windows 11, but may later return in Windows 12.
It also looks like AI will feature prominently in Windows 12. During AMD’s CES 2023 keynote in January, Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay said “AI will reinvent the how you do everything on Windows”. We don’t yet know what kind of features it will power, but it’s likely to rely on the NPU (Neural Processing Unit) found on the ARM models of the Surface Pro 9.
Other than that, minor improvements are very likely. Making Windows 12 stable and above all bug-free should be Microsoft’s top priority.
The original Windows Central article that hinted at the 2024 release date also didn’t reveal any concrete new features. But it suggested that new features would be added to future versions of Windows every few months, potentially up to four times a year. They’re known internally as “Moments,” but author Zac Bowden says the branding might not make it into the public release.
Until you know more, check out our full Windows news coverage on Tech Advisor, both Windows 10 and Windows 11.