Microsoft is preparing to launch Windows 12 in the fall of 2024, with a wider rollout in 2025, and it is internally experimenting with several new design ideas, including a new desktop experience with a ‘floating’ taskbar. Microsoft wants to create a floating effect for the taskbar by separating it from the desktop and rounding off the edges.
Microsoft has yet to confirm the existence of Windows 12, but we know it is coming soon; at least, this appears to be the company’s current plan. Microsoft sticks to this new engineering process, we might get Windows 13 in 2027 or later, but the tech giant’s plans are always subject to change as they have in the past.
At the Build 2023 developer conference, Microsoft announced several exciting updates for Windows 11, such as Windows Copilot and AI integration in the desktop operating system. During the event, Microsoft also dropped a hint that it is working on a “next-gen Windows”, which seems to imply Microsoft plans to launch a new iteration of Windows – potentially Windows 12.
During one of the keynotes, we noticed a screenshot of one of the videos that included references to a session titled “Next-gen of Windows”. This session hadn’t been discussed, but the clear mention of “the next generation of Windows” suggests this could be an allusion to the next-generation Windows 12.
Previously, Microsoft indirectly referred to ‘Next Valley Prototype Design’, a term signifying their next-gen Windows. Based on the company’s internal tests, there’s a likelihood that Windows 12 may present a different-looking desktop with a unique feature – a floating taskbar.
During Microsoft’s 2023 Ignite conference, Microsoft accidentally teased a version of Windows 11 with a floating taskbar. Some speculated that it might be a concept or human error by the tech giant’s designer, but that doesn’t appear to be the case, as Microsoft is exploring a “floating taskbar”.
Note the term “exploring”. According to sources, this is one of the design upgrades considered by a section of the team working on next-gen Windows.
Evidence supporting this new design can be traced back to the preview builds of Windows 11. Recent preview builds included an option to disable the system tray clock and date, which aligns with our reporting.
The wait might not be long if the rumour mill holds any truth. Speculations suggest that Windows 12 – or whatever the final name might be – could make its debut in 2024.
According to sources familiar with the development, Microsoft is optimizing Windows 12 for ARM processors, and we’ve also seen references to “deeply integrated AI features”, which are not Smart Snap UI and Windows Copilot.
This article was originally published on June 12 and republished today with new information.