Windows 11 was finally announced today.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made sure to tell everyone at the event that this was the first version of a new era for Windows.
While a very early build of Windows 11 had leaked, showcasing a new refreshed look and a new name, we finally got to see the new user interface and new features officially.
While Microsoft had in the past said that Windows 10 was going to be the only version of its operating system for years to come, it's now been around for six years, and this new update brings significant features to help justify the jump to a new number.
So here are the important details
Windows 11 release date:
Microsoft says Windows 11 will be out "this holiday season" – so likely sometime between late November and Christmas. In the meantime, you can download a tool to see if your desktop PC or laptop will be able to run Windows 11.
How much is Windows 11?
Windows 11 will be a free update for existing Windows users – you'll need to be online to download, install and activate Home versions, and you'll need to have a Microsoft account when installing it on or upgrading your PC or tablet.
Windows 11 features.
There are refined features across the board in Windows 11, with updates now 40% smaller, alongside them touting Windows 11 to be 'the most secure release yet'.
The taskbar is optimized for touch as well as mouse peripherals, now renamed the Dock.
New multitasking features are also here, with multiple windows able to be snapped across the screen, not just side by side, called Snap Layouts. By highlighting a window, you can have multiple windows in columns, sections and more, able to look at your content equally with no compromise.
Another feature is Snap Groups, where you can go back to previously snapped windows from the dock, so you can go to your email app, Edge browser windows or anything else without looking for this workflow again.
There's improved multi-monitor support, so when you reconnect an external monitor, Windows 11 remembers the previous positions with the windows that were on this monitor.
Teams is also integrated to the dock, so you can easily join in with meetings and family. This looks like the first inkling of Skype disappearing, especially with the Skype sounds being heard in the demo when a call was incoming.
The Microsoft Store is finally seeing a redesign, with much better curated content, and a better way of managing your purchased shows, such as mirroring them to your television.
A new look for 11.
At the event, the start menu has been moved to the center, which is 'cloud powered', so it dynamically changes depending on the time of day and your content that you manage each day.
Light Mode and Dark Mode are official, with rounded corners and a unified design across the operating system.
There are some windows that look Aero-esque from Windows Vista, showing you byte sized information.
Gaming on Windows 11
Gaming is now a big push for Windows 11, not just as an Xbox app. Lighting is a big thing, with HDR coming to devices on the new Windows.
Direct Storage is also here, with the main assets able to be downloaded and installed, so you can play your games even faster than before.
Xbox Game Pass is built right into the Xbox app at last, making it much easier for you to access and download even more games, from Doom Eternal to soon Halo Infinite.
Tablet mode has been one of Windows' weaker points ever since Windows 8.
These tablet features could be a showcase for Windows 11, especially with future Surface products in the pipeline from Microsoft. To have a new, numbered operating system for its upcoming tablets could be a big selling point for new users in due time.
At the event, Microsoft touted bigger touch targets and easier ways to move windows around, and better rotate optimizations, such as window management. Gestures on the trackpad of the Surface models are also coming to the touch-screen, bringing in some familiarity here. Haptics is also coming to Windows 11 when using a pen, making it much easier for you to tell how a line or a drawing is. The touch keyboard has also been redesigned, with a smaller keyboard just for your thumb also here, with emoji's ready to be used. Dictation is also much improved, alongside voice commands, with 'delete that' and more in Windows 11.
Are you looking forward to windows 11 yet? We will be testing the beta in the office and will have a demo unit for you to look at and play with soon in the future, In the meantime let us know if you have any questions or concerns for this new OS coming soon.