Microsoft has officially unveiled Windows 11, the new operating system that will replace Windows 10. Windows 11 looks to feature a more streamlined design layout, with a centralised tool bar and windows with more curved edges.
It looks very similar to macOS, but that’s certainly not a bad thing.
Microsoft has confirmed a number of new features such as a personalised feed with widgets, an all-new Microsoft Store, multi-tasking improvements and Teams Chat integration.
Windows 11 will also reportedly be faster than Windows 10, with quicker boot up times, improved speeds for web browsers and more efficiency to maximise battery life for laptops. There have even been a number of enhancements for gamers.
Microsoft didn’t confirm a specific release date just yet, but did reveal that Windows 10 users will be able to upgrade at the beginning of this holiday season.
Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 11 will be a free upgrade for eligible Windows 10 PC users.
The price hasn’t been confirmed for those who don’t fit that description. That said, Windows 11 is expected to start coming pre-installed with future pre-built PCs and laptops
Microsoft unveiled a number of interesting features for Windows 11, all of which should bring lots of improvements on Windows 10.
Here are the most noteworthy new features that Microsoft has confirmed:
A new macOS-esque design
Revealed earlier by various leaks, Windows 11 features a new streamlined layout that looks similar to macOS. There’s a central taskbar and app dock, while window tabs now have curved edges to give it a more stylish look.
You also get a new personalised feed with widgets, so you add the likes of the weather or your calendar to pop up. A new ‘Recommended’ app will also let you pick off from the last app you were using, whether that’s Microsoft Word or your emails.
A faster performance
Windows 11 isn’t all about style over substance, as Microsoft confirmed it will also see faster speeds whether you’re booting up from sleep or using a web browser.
Microsoft also claims that Windows updates will be 40% faster than they are now, and can happen automatically in the background to make the tedious process more seamless.
It’s also good news for laptop owners, as Microsoft suggests Windows 11 offers improved battery efficiency. How much of a difference it will see to laptop battery life is unknown at this point, but any improvement is a good in our books.
An all-new Microsoft Store with Android apps
Microsoft has confirmed that it will be launch an all-new Microsoft Store that will be built from the ground up. This is great news, as the current offering is pretty naff.
Faster speeds and a more easy-to-use interface look to improve the experience significantly. new third-party apps will also be making the move to the store, including Visual Studio, Disney+, Adobe Creative Cloud, Zoom and Canva.
The most showing reveal, however, was that the Windows Store will now support Android apps, which can be downloaded via the Amazon Appstore.
Improved gaming performance
Microsoft has promised that it will be improving the gaming experience for Windows by borrowing a few Xbox Series X features.
Firstly, Windows 11 will support DirectX 12 Ultimate which can allow for boosted visuals and frame rates. DirectStorage also helps to speed up loading times and enable developers to make more detailed gaming worlds.
And then there’s Auto HDR, which automatically boosts the visual quality for supported titles
It also seems like Microsoft will be pushing Xbox Game Pass more with Windows 11, making it one of the keys apps on Windows 11.
Integrated Chat from Microsoft Team
Instead of offering it as a sperate app, Microsoft Teams will now be integrated into the taskbar.
This means it will be easier than ever to message or video call a friend. Your personal contacts will also move with you, whether you’re on Windows, Android or iOS.
What’s more, you’ll be able to message those who don’t even own the Teams app, as it will instead connect with them via two-way SMS.
Improved multi-tasking features
Microsoft has already offered some multi-tasking features on Windows 10, but it’s clearly pushing even harder with them this time round. Snap Layouts will offer you more customisation of how you want multiple apps displayed on your screen simultaneously.
You can even group some of these Snap Layouts together, so can jump to another app and not have to worry about losing your carefully curated layout.
Windows 11 will also allow you to create multiple desktops, each of which can be customised for a different use case, such as having one for work and another for gaming. This isn’t just great for organisation, but also for helping you to separate your work from your downtime.
What about Windows 10X?
That’s a good question because Microsoft put a lot of stock in the Windows 10X offshoot it hoped would be the answer to the Chromebook-powering Google Chrome OS, as well as a new-generation of dual-screen devices like the Surface Neo.
However, last year, as the remote working switch gathered speed, Microsoft put the update on the back burner.
Now the company says it is cancelling the update altogether. In a blog post, the company confirmed: “We concluded that the 10X technology shouldn’t just be confined to a subset of customers. Instead of bringing a product called Windows 10X to market in 2021 like we originally intended, we are leveraging learnings from our journey thus far and accelerating the integration of key foundational 10X technology into other parts of Windows and products at the company.”
It now looks like Microsoft will be integrating the Windows 10X features into Windows 11 rather than having two separate operating systems.
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