Microsoft is set to unveil the next version of Windows on June 24. The software giant has stated in the past that Windows 10 would be “the last version” of the world’s most ubiquitous operating system. Yet, over at our sister-site Windows Central, reporter Zac Bowden penned an opinion piece saying it’s best for Microsoft to rename this upcoming Sun Valley update as Windows 11. It would help set it apart in the eyes of consumers as an update worthy of an increased numeral.
While Bowden was likely being cheeky with his headline, it seems to be catching on. Even The Verge went so far as to title a recent article with Windows 11 instead of 10. At least from a messaging perspective, Windows 11 is easier than saying “the next version of Windows.”
Either way — whether this update going to be called Windows 10 Series W, Windows 11, or Windows 10-2 — here’s everything we know so far about the upcoming Sun Valley update.
Will Microsoft even call this next upgrade Windows 11?
While it’s easier for reporters to refer to this next update as Windows 11, we expect Microsoft to stick to its guns and continue going with Windows 10. It will be in keeping with its “Windows as a service” idea, plus, Microsoft skipped Windows 9 just so it could land at at a clean and easy number with 10. So, why would it want to go to an odd number like 11? Granted, Microsoft could pull a Samsung, and jump from 10 to 20.
While fans and the press might call this next version Windows 11 for convenience’s sake, do not be surprised if Microsoft sticks to Windows 10 for the foreseeable future.
For the remainder of this roundup, we’ll refer to the next version of Windows as Windows 11.
Windows 11 release date
Microsoft has not given an exact release date for Windows 11, but does have a livestream planned for June 24 at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT. To get a sense of when it might come out, let’s take a look back at Windows 10.
Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 on September 30, 2014. It followed it up by an early technical preview that Microsoft enthusiasts could sign up for. But it wasn’t until July 29, 2015 that Microsoft officially launched Windows 10 to the public. That was a good ten months after its official unveiling.
If Windows 10 can be used as any measure, then Windows 11 would launch in April of next year. But we seriously doubt it will take Microsoft that long. The upcoming version of Windows is expected to be more of a robust refresh than a complete overhaul. That means the skeleton of Sun Valley is Windows 10. And with the structures already in place, then we expect this next version of Windows to land sometime this year. Maybe Microsoft will take a card from Apple and launch it 5-6 months after the unveiling.
Windows 11 features
Based on leaks, it seems that Windows 11 wont differ too much from Windows 10. It’s still the same layout we’ve all grown accustomed to, but with a fresher coat of paint.
Microsoft will introduce widgets to Windows 10, a callback to Windows Vista, as well as improved window snapping. This is great news for users with ultrawide displays that could use more options when snapping different apps across their screen.
It also seems that Windows 11 will try and meld some Windows 10X design — a now defunct version of Windows 10 meant to compete against Chrome OS — into Windows 11.
“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,” said John Cable, head of Windows servicing and delivery in a blog post.
Windows 10X included new app container technology, improved voice typing and a better touch keyboard.
Apart from that, there’s little else we know.
Windows 11 price
We expect Microsoft to follow a similar pricing strategy with Windows 10. Back then, anyone who owned a PC with either Windows 7 or 8 would receive a free upgrade to Windows 10. For PC builders, they would need to buy the operating system separately for $100. Although, it’s now become relatively easy to buy keys from other key distribution websites at discounted prices.
It seemed that Microsoft realized the power of Windows was ubiquity. Getting everyone to jump to the new OS was critical for how it conducted its larger business strategy. Essentially, the more people on Windows 10 — and not on 7 or 8 — the better. It’s why we believe Microsoft will make the jump from Windows 10 to 11 as seamless as possible.