It has long been predicted that 2021 will be an important year for Microsoft. In the first two months of the year alone, we’ve already seen the enterprise-focused Surface Pro 7+ and the expanded launch of the foldable Surface Duo.
The Pro 8 and a new Surface Laptop are expected this year, while we might as well have a new Surface Go before the end of the year.
However, this is only on the hardware side. Windows 10X is expected to launch this spring, as rumors have circulated since October suggesting that Windows 10 itself will be overhauled.
Product manager Panos Panay seems to be referring to the latter when he spoke of “the next generation of Windows” at Microsoft’s Ignite developer conference on March 2.
As usual, Panay went on to say that he was “very excited” even though Windows was not the center of the story. He was probably referring to the Windows 10 update to Sun Valley, which is expected to arrive at the end of 2021.
It is expected to be the biggest update to the operating system since its launch six years ago, incorporating a new design language, improvements in multitasking and several improvements under the hood.
Despite all the new features added to Windows 10, the main aspect has not changed. Someone picking up a device with the 20H2 update will have a hard time noticing the difference from a 2016 version.
Perhaps that’s understandable: Microsoft experimented with wholesale design changes in Windows 8, but a wave of criticism sent the company back to a proven and trusted design in Windows 10.
However, you can only maintain this for a while before the software is considered outdated and people are looking for alternatives. Windows 10’s market share has remained relatively constant, but the rise of Chrome OS has caused some users to move away from Microsoft.
There is also a new wave of tablets aimed at replacing the laptop, led by Apple’s iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard.
With the launch of Windows 10X, the first operating system for the web, on the horizon, Microsoft might think the time is right for a change. In fact, many of Sun Valley’s supposed features appear to have been inspired by the development of the Windows 10 spin-off.
These include redesigned system apps, a streamlined action center, and more in-depth multitasking options. All of them are likely to bring minor but noticeable improvements to the way you use your PC, and the large number of new features planned make this a major update.
Is this news likely to change the way you use your Windows 10 device? Probably not, but Sun Valley’s update represents the most exciting changes we’ve seen in Windows in years.
Before that, we’re expecting a much smaller 21H1 update, which seems to focus on the remote working experience.
Original article published on our sister website TechAdvisor UK.