Later Today will see the first official look at Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 9. Microsoft has now sent out invites for an event on September 30th for the Windows 9 Reveal. The question remains whether it’s called Windows 9 or something more whimsical. When the President of Microsoft France accidentally confirmed the impending Windows 9, Microsoft PR was quick to step in and clarify that whatever it is might not be called “Windows 9.” Either way, we’re going to call it Windows 9 from here on.
Windows 9 is expected to be a stark reversal from Windows 8. Windows 8 updates have already blurred the lines between Modern-style apps and windowed applications, and there’s another update on the horizon that will even bring back the Start Menu. Windows 9 is intended to further cleave the touch and desktop sides in twain. Or at least to give that appearance.
Return of the Desktop and Start Menu
Windows 9 devices that identify as traditional computers will have desktop view only. At least, that’s the way the shift is being pitched by leakers. The Metro-swathed Start Screen isn’t exactly gone, though. Instead it will just be condensed down into the Start Menu (complete with live tiles), and the Start Menu will be optionally expandable into a full-screen view. That is to say, the Start Screen. A video leak from WinFuture shows what this would look like in practice:
The rumors surrounding the price are pretty outrageous. Depending on what you’re running right now. Leaks from MYCE have suggested that the cost to upgrade from Windows 8.1 to 9 could be anywhere from free to $20. Meanwhile Microsoft is said to offer a vague but “awesome” incentive to get people off the dead and dying Windows XP.
Other users (like folks on Windows 7) may have to pay a bit more though. Unlike Google and Apple who have operating systems but make money on ads and hardware (respectively), Microsoft still relies on Windows to bring in a lot of its money. That said, Microsoft has a big incentive to just get Windows 8 over with already.
Even though we will see our first proper look Today, all signs so far point to a release sometime in spring of 2015, though rumors about when it will rear its head as an official announcement have been a bit more varied. The first rumors of Windows 9 started before Windows 8 was even out, with more appearing in January of this year, citing a spring 2015 release window, but also predicting a Windows 9 shout-out at Microsoft’s big BUILD developer conference in April.