Whether you love or hate Windows 11, something about Windows 12 is alluring because Microsoft might get everything right this time. I’m still rocking Windows 10 on my PC — it works, and I’m afraid that upgrading to Windows 11 may potentially break something. Consumers shouldn’t have to worry about that, but unfortunately, Windows can be a buggy nightmare.
Tech gets better with time, sure there’s the occasional misstep, but eventually, it does get better and easier to use. That’s my hope with Windows 12. I want something as clean and smooth as macOS, but still just as configurable as Windows. My entire Microsoft Store shouldn’t stop working and never function again because I looked at it wrong.
Here’s everything we know so far about Windows 12, from the rumored release date and price to the design and features.
Windows 12 release date and price
There’s nothing official from Microsoft that tells us when we can expect Windows 12 to arrive. However, there have been leaks, which you should take with some skepticism.
Hardware leaker @leaf_hobby tweeted details of Intel's Meteor Lake Xeon chips and they mention features like Windows 12 support. And since these chips are reportedly arriving in 2024, that could be when we see an official launch for Windows 12.
There is also another report (via Windows Central) that suggests we won’t see Windows 12 until 2024 due to their newly adopted release cycles. Apparently, people inside Microsoft are calling it “Next Valley.”
"Next Valley" could also be the Windows refresh mentioned by Intel EVP David Zinsner at the Citi Global Technology Conference. While Zinsner didn't mention Windows 12 by name, he did reveal that we can expect a Windows refresh in 2024 and this lines up with other dates we've seen for the next major OS release from Microsoft.
We don’t know if Windows 12 will be a free upgrade for current Windows users, but it seems likely given that Windows 10 and Windows 11 upgrades were free for anyone with Windows 7 or above.
Naturally, Microsoft also hasn’t given any hints as to how much Windows 12 might cost for those building new PCs. If they follow current pricing, it will be $139 for Windows 12 Home and $199 for Windows 12 Pro.
However, a recent rumor may have thrown aside the conventional pricing of the Windows OS as it suggest Microsoft could be looking toward a subscription-based model for its latest operating system.
Windows 12 design
We’re not expecting drastic changes for Windows 12, but ones that make the OS cleaner would be much appreciated.
Like most things with Windows 12 right now, we don’t have anything official, but we might’ve seen an early look at the new OS during the Microsoft Ignite keynote hosted by CEO Satya Nadella. In the presentation, we can see Windows with a floating taskbar and system icons being displayed at the top of the screen, similar to macOS.
As long as I don’t have to type obscure phrases in my search bar to find settings that should be automatically accessible, I’ll be happy.
Windows 12 features
We can’t see a future where AI isn’t involved with Windows 12 in some shape or form, especially with ChatGPT being integrated into Microsoft’s Bing. Who needs Cortana when you can have a bot spit out plagiarized poetry?
A report from Windows Central tells us that sources who are familiar with Microsoft’s plans claim that the company is working on a project codenamed CorePC, which is attempting to modernize Windows with innovations from Windows Core OS. Microsoft is playing with a CorePC that’s “silicon-optimized,” designed to reduce legacy overhead, focus on AI capabilities, and vertically optimize hardware and software experiences in a way similar to that of Apple Silicon. What that all means for Windows 12 is likely more AI.
It makes sense when you consider that Microsoft reportedly invested $10 billion into OpenAI, the organization behind ChatGPT. AI has its uses, for sure, but with all of the backlash from creatives, Microsoft will need to pin down the use cases for AI in Windows 12 without everyone immediately hating it.
Windows 12 code is likely being tested right now via Windows 'Canary Channel' (via Windows Central). The new channel is designed to test unstable builds that focus on long-lead platform work for future versions of Windows.
Windows 12 is coming. Do people care? Only if it actually improves our day-to-day work, which, as the world’s biggest desktop and laptop operating system, it should. I’m not entirely optimistic about Windows 12.
There’s not a lot of competition between macOS and ChromeOS relative to the massive waves of products that Windows finds itself in, so Microsoft might not feel enough pressure to put its best foot forward in updating Windows.
I hope I’m wrong and that Windows 12 is a banger.
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Rami Tabari is an Editor for Laptop Mag. He reviews every shape and form of a laptop as well as all sorts of cool tech. You can find him sitting at his desk surrounded by a hoarder's dream of laptops, and when he navigates his way out to civilization, you can catch him watching really bad anime or playing some kind of painfully difficult game. He’s the best at every game and he just doesn’t lose. That’s why you’ll occasionally catch his byline attached to the latest Souls-like challenge.