Microsoft updates Windows twice a year, usually adding a few welcome new features (a new screenshot tool, a cleaner Start Menu, etc.). This year’s spring update will be another one of those minor updates that adds polish and squashes bugs.
But in the fall, Microsoft is expected to unleash a full-scale Windows 10 redesign. We know this for a few reasons.
Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.
Why Windows needs a refresh
Most of Windows’ recent tweaks have been aimed at specific audiences, particularly gamers and corporate customers. But the PC is back as a consumer staple — the work-from-home era brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has made productivity cool again. Microsoft wants to ensure its new everyday users are enjoying the experience of using their PCs.
Apple’s new Mac OS Big Sur takes advantage of the new chip by integrating features people have grown accustomed to on their iPhones and iPads. The convergence of smartphones, tablets and PCs is underway.
Still, this new kind of chip could disrupt the staid PC world, lighting a fire under Microsoft to redesign Windows for new kinds of PCs that it hasn’t conceived of yet. So it’s about time Windows 10 gets a major refresh.
Sad history of Windows updates
It doesn’t appear as though the “Sun Valley” version of Windows 10 will be the kind of completely new experience of previous new iterations of Windows. That’s probably a good thing, as Microsoft has a reputation for delivering a good operating system every other attempt:
- The original Windows was successful. Windows 2.0, not as much.
- Windows 3 was a huge hit. Windows 95 was a buggy mess.
- Windows 98 fixed all of 95’s mistakes. But Windows Me might be the worst iteration of Windows ever.
- Windows XP may be Microsoft’s biggest-ever success. Windows Vista was a disaster.
- Windows 7 was beloved for going back to basics. With Windows 8, people didn’t even know how to get to the desktop.
- Windows 10 has been a runaway success. So let’s not screw this up, Microsoft.