Speaking at Computex in Taipei, Microsoft’s vice president of consumer and device sales Nick Parker took to the stage to tease what could be the most significant revamp to the Windows operating system in years. Maybe. It’s kinda hard to tell because Parker was relatively vague about things.
Instead of referencing a future version of Windows, Parker talked about what “a modern OS” should consist of. This “modern OS” mantra was then expanded upon in a blog post on Microsoft’s site. Quoting from the blog post directly, a modern operating system should be:
An OS that provides a set of enablers that deliver the foundational experiences customers expect from their devices, and includes a set of delighters that deliver innovative human centric experiences. Enablers include seamless updates – with a modern OS updates are invisibly done in the background; the update experience is deterministic, reliable, and instant with no interruptions! A modern OS, is also secure by default, the state is separated from the operating system; compute is separated from applications; this protects the user from malicious attacks throughout the device lifecycle. Always connected -with a modern OS Wifi, LTE 5G will just work – and users never have to worry about a deadspot. All of a users devices are aware and connected to each other. A modern OS provides sustained performance, from the moment a user picks up their device – everything is ready to go – without having to worry about the next time the PC needs to be charged. These enablers will satisfy customer’s basic needs, but to truly differentiate we must also delight them. A modern OS does this by enabling cloud-connected experiences that use the compute power of the cloud to enhance users experiences on their devices. These experiences are powered by AI, so a modern OS is aware of what a user is doing tomorrow and helps them get it done, and it enhances applications making them more intelligent. A modern OS is also multi-sense. People can use pen, voice, touch, even gaze – what ever input method a user wants to use works just as well as the keyboard and mouse. Finally, a modern OS provides the ultimate in form factor agility. A modern OS has the right sensor support and posture awareness to enable the breadth of innovative form factors and applications that our partner ecosystem will deliver.
So, if that does all refer to the next (or at least upcoming version) of Windows, here are the major things we can expect:
- Software updates that are carried out automatically and invisibly in the background
- Improved security via compartmentalization of states and apps, which will help protect against attacks
- 5G support
- Performance boost by leveraging AI cloud computing processing power
- A “smart” OS that can tell what the user is doing and thus suggest relevant apps or actions
- User inputs that go beyond mouse and keyboard, including pens, voice, touch, and eye control via gazes
Microsoft goes on to explain that “these enablers and delighters underpin our vision for a Modern OS, [and] they will provide the foundational elements for an evolution of the PC ecosystem and enable partners to deliver the more human-centric experiences of tomorrow.”
Note that there they capitalized “Modern OS” as if its a brand name. Could Microsoft be ready to ditch the Windows brand entirely in favor of a new OS name? (Apple did just that a few years ago by ditching the “OS X” name for “macOS.”) Either way, it’s clear Microsoft has big plans for the OS in the future.