Six years is a long time in software, and someone at Microsoft realised you can’t just leave your flagship consumer product at version ten forever while iOS and Android keep cranking through the numbers. All hail Windows 11, the version we weren’t supposed to have.
The reveal of Windows 11 shows a cleaned up user interface and it looks like a Mac. You better like rounded corners because there isn’t a square corner in sight.
Windows 11 will be available as a free download for existing Windows users commencing in the ‘holiday season’ – so around Thanksgiving in the US – anytime between October and November 2021, continuing into 2022. No specific date was announced.
The upgrade to Windows 11 will be free for those with an activate Windows 10 license. You can bet the boxed retail edition won’t be cheap.
Despite Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s launch statement, this doesn’t look half as revolutionary as he makes out.
“Today marks a major milestone in the history of Windows. It’s the beginning of a new generation. I’m excited by what we have shown you today and how we are reimagining everything from the operating system itself to the browser to the store and the feed.”
Feature highlights seen so far include:
- Apple iOS-like interface
- Centred Start menu and Taskbar – don’t call it a Dock
- Integrated Android apps on the desktop in containers
- Widgets accessible direct from the Task Bar
- Mac-like virtual desktop support
- Xbox gaming improved
- Microsoft Teams integration – access it from Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS
“Re-imagining” might be overstating the case.
The hardware requirements given on the Microsoft site specify:
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with two or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or system on a chip (SoC).
- RAM: 4 gigabytes (GB) or greater.
- Storage: 64 GB* or greater available storage is required to install Windows 11.
Additional storage space might be required to download updates and enable specific features.
- Graphics card: Compatible with DirectX 12 or later, with a WDDM 2.0 driver.
- System firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable.
- TPM: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0.
- Display: High definition (720p) display, 9″ or greater monitor, 8 bits per color channel.
- Internet connection: Internet connectivity is necessary to perform updates, and to download and use some features.
- Windows 11 Home edition requires an Internet connection and a Microsoft Account to complete device setup on first use.
* There might be additional requirements over time for updates, and to enable specific features within the operating system.
TPM 2.0 might be a deal-breaker for some older machines.
It’s early days and hardly anyone has gotten hands-on with Windows 11 yet to confirm how much of a departure this new version really is. Have patience, young padewan. AJS