The pace at which Microsoft releases new Windows versions may be slowing, according to a new report, but the pace at which Microsoft releases new Windows versions Characteristics can pick up. In other words, you could expect Windows 12 in 2024.
Windows Central reports that Microsoft may be going back to a three-year release cycle for major versions of Windows, such as Windows 11. But instead of releasing groups of features for the current Windows release in both fall and spring (commonly referred to as, say, “22H2” or as the “Windows 11 May Update”) Microsoft can ramp up the pace up to four times a year.
That would be a change in a few areas. First, that would make Windows 11 less of an anomaly and just a return to a more normal release schedule. When a Microsoft employee made a confusing statement claiming that “Windows 10 would be the last Windows”, Windows 11 was assumed to be a one-time release. But apparently it wasn’t. Windows 10 should be discontinued in 2025.
However, if Windows Central’s report is true, the next major release of Windows will be in 2024, three years after Microsoft released Windows 11 in 2021. However, Microsoft has yet to confirm these details.
The other interesting consequence for consumers is that Windows feature updates should become more and more common. According to Windows Central, Microsoft plans to roll them out in what it calls “Moments,” or bundles of features that come at certain times of the year. (So far, those release dates don’t seem to have been set.) Normally, Microsoft releases feature updates for Windows 10 and 11 twice a year, in the spring and fall.
This isn’t exactly new. Microsoft said in February that it was exploring new ways to roll out new features for Windows on its own arbitrary schedule. Microsoft said it would do this through the use of “experience packs,” bits of code that would essentially just appear in Windows Update. These new features will just appear. Microsoft has also put several Windows applications on their own release schedule, freshening them up with the Windows 11 look and feel or adding new functionality.
For consumers, the new changes could be a little unsettling as the ground beneath them shifts and the operating system they’ve become accustomed to. On the other hand, those who like and appreciate new features and things to play with will be thrilled. However, businesses often shy away from unexpected updates that could introduce new bugs, so it’s likely that Windows 11 business customers will have the option to opt out.
However, the conclusion seems pretty clear: if the report is true, Windows 12 is only two years away.