With the release of Windows 11 in 2021, Microsoft has officially ended the idea of Windows as a Service. The company is rumored to be on schedule to release a new version of Windows every three years, with the next major version, Windows 12, expected sometime in 2024. Microsoft is tight-lipped about their plans, but speculations are burgeoning, suggesting that Windows 12 will be another major release. Anticipated features include AI capabilities, such as the Copilot feature, which has been made available as a preview in Windows 11 and Windows 10 and is expected to expand further over time. Windows 12 is expected to bring hardware features with custom neural processing units optimized for AI functions. Although there will likely be additional AI-based features, PC models that meet the requirements for Windows 11 should perform acceptably on Windows 12, despite potential new hardware requirements. New hardware for Windows 12 is expected to deliver improved performance, battery life, and manageability, potentially bringing a significant advancement in the Windows PC market. Despite a few anticipated advancements, backward compatibility with apps and services, as well as enhanced security over older apps, will continue to be a core focus in Windows 12. Virtualization of legacy Windows functions and sandboxing for Arm-based PCs is also expected to strengthen against traditional attacks. There is an expectation that changes in Windows 12 will include refinements to the Windows 11 UX features, possibly to address feedback from users. However, backward compatibility and enhanced security are expected to be unchanged. Windows 12’s official release is expected to be in late July or late October, within the traditional H2 release dates, with insider builds due roughly three months before the final release. Despite the excitement for Windows 11’s Subsystem for Android, the arrival of Google Play Store on the Android on Windows subsystem seems unlikely due to conflicts between Google and Microsoft. Regardless of the potential innovation Windows 12 may bring, most people buy Windows on a new PC and do not pay Microsoft directly, and Microsoft is not expected to raise its prices in the Windows 12 era.
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