Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, has recently teased a “Windows refresh” for 2024, which could mean the launch of a new version of Microsoft’s operating system, possibly called Windows 12. The company’s CFO David Zinsner made the remark during Citi’s analyst conference last month, saying that he expects a strong year for client devices, especially because of the Windows catalyst.
This is not the first time Intel has dropped hints about Windows 12. Earlier this year, leaked internal documents from Intel revealed that its next-generation Meteor Lake desktop platform will support Windows 12. Meteor Lake is Intel’s first CPU with different chiplets for each component and the first on its Intel 4 process node. It also features a dedicated AI co-processor, which could be important for Microsoft’s push for AI features in Windows.
Microsoft has not officially announced any plans for Windows 12, but there are signs that the company is working on a new version of Windows that will integrate AI-powered features. Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s head of consumer marketing, said in an interview with The Verge earlier this year that “as we start to develop future versions of Windows we’ll think about other places where AI should play a natural role in terms of the experience”. Microsoft has also added its AI-powered Copilot directly into Windows 11 recently and focused heavily on AI during its recent Surface event. Microsoft also added a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU) chip to its Surface Laptop Studio 2, which will enable Windows Studio Effects like direct eye contact and background noise removal.
Another clue about Windows 12 came from Microsoft Ignite, a conference that focuses on the IT community. The company showed a Windows desktop interface with an altered appearance, which many have speculated represents what we’ll be seeing in Windows 12. The image features a floating taskbar, floating search bar at the top, and system icons relocated to the top-right corner. A weather button is in the top-left corner. However, these design changes may not be enough to justify a whole new Windows version.
Windows 12 rumors have also been fueled by speculation that the next version of Windows will require a subscription to use it. However, this claim has been debunked by several sources, who say that a subscription may only be required for some optional features or services.
It is unclear when Microsoft will officially reveal Windows 12, but based on Intel’s comments and leaks, it seems likely that we will see a new version of Windows in 2024 that will focus on new AI features and possibly some design improvements. Whether it will be called Windows 12 or something else remains to be seen.