Microsoft has unveiled Windows 11 during a live-streamed event on Thursday with an all-new UI along with subtle changes to the design of the operating system. The new update comes six years after the company had launched Windows 10 in 2015.
The new Windows 11 gets a new Start menu without Live Tiles and new positioning of icons on the taskbar. The interface uses rounded corners to provide a more soft visual across the UI.
Microsoft revealed Windows 11 during an online event on Thursday.
Windows, which represents over 10% of Microsoft’s revenue even as the company has grown by selling cloud services, became more critical in the pandemic as people stayed home and spent more time with Windows 10 for class, work and gaming. Microsoft reported higher Windows revenue from consumer PCs — but Apple’s Mac revenue also rose, and shipments of PCs running Google’s Chrome OS skyrocketed.
During the event, Microsoft:
- Announced Windows 11. It will be a free update and is due out by the holidays.
- Showed new Xbox features coming to Windows 11
- Revealed big changes to its Microsoft Teams app in Windows 11
- Unveiled support for Android apps through the Amazon App Store in Windows 11
- It also took a shot at Apple and said its new Microsoft Store has lower fees
Microsoft has renewed its focus on apps with the new application store. The new OS also brings better compatibility with widgets. The OS also gets system-wide dark and light modes.
Microsoft has integrated Teams directly into the Taskbar which can instantly connect the user through text, chat, voice or video with anyone, anywhere across Windows, Android and iOS.
The new app store on Windows 11 will also support Android Apps through Amazon App Store. Users will be able to use the apps in a smartphone format similar to picture-in-picture mode with a new feature called snap layouts. The new feature will allow the OS to remember the shapes that the app was set in the last time it was used. The snap layout feature is an updated version of various split-screen options available on Windows 10.
The software company has claimed that Windows 11 will come with new features that are built for business users, specifically those who the operating system with an external monitor. For instance, the OS will automatically adjust apps to a single screen when users undock a machine to take a call in a quieter room and then readjust them when the user re-docks the machine.
For gaming, Microsoft has launched a new Auto HDR feature to enhance visuals. Windows 11 will also come with DirectX 12 Ultimate and Xbox Game Pass (sold separately).
Microsoft has announced that it will release the first Insider Preview build for Windows 11 next week. However, there are a few changes that the company is making to how the Windows 11 Insider Preview will roll out.
Since launching Windows 10 six years ago, a lot of hardware innovation has happened in the PC space. For Windows to move forward and take better advantage of the latest innovations, Microsoft will need to update the baseline system requirements for modern PCs. As a result, Windows 11 has updated hardware requirements which will be reflected in the Windows Insider Program.
Windows 11 will be available on new PCs and through a free upgrade for eligible Windows 10 PCs beginning this holiday season (US).