Microsoft’s next OS might not be Windows 12 or release in June

Windows One X, by any chance?

Microsoft is hard at work envisioning life after Windows 11 with a new operating system in the works. Ignoring chronological numbers for the first time in 16 years, the brand may call it something other than Windows 12. It might not even launch in June, like previously expected.

Citing inside sources, Windows Central explains that the new Windows and Web Experiences team is reluctant to fragment users even further. Windows 11, launched under ex-chief product officer Panos Panay, introduced new system requirements, slowing adoption to a crawl. Of 1.4 billion total users, just 400 million run the latest operating system, leaving the majority on Windows 10.

Sources claim the next-gen Windows is “groundbreaking” with mature AI features. Copilot, which is testing on current systems, should improve search using contextual prompts rather than keywords. The feature will even animate your static desktop background with a parallax effect. This is just the tip of the iceberg. It sounds like it warrants its own version rather than arriving in an update.

Although Windows 12 is just a name, Microsoft’s reportedly conscious that another chronological edition of its OS could hinder getting everyone back on the same version. It likely won’t matter what the company calls it, though, if people simply can’t upgrade. Hudson Valley, as the upcoming software is codenamed, will likely still require the same security chip as Windows 11, if not introduce loftier requirements of its own.

Another mixed signal comes from Microsoft’s rumoured willingness to move back to an annual release schedule. Instead of the three-year rotation of major versions with updates trickled throughout, there could be another Windows every year. It’s reminiscent of the days of old, from Windows 1.01 right through to Windows XP. I struggle to see how this will help get everyone on the same version, mind you, but there might be a method to the madness.

There’s still so much we don’t know about Hudson Valley and the Germanium platform it’s built on. While recent rumours suggest a June release, Windows Central says this could just be a feature-incomplete Germanium for Qualcomm’s new Arm hardware. The full fat Hudson Valley isn’t likely to finalise until August, aiming for a September or October 2024 release.