A brief look at a desk. Just a moment to enjoy what you were looking at. But then it hits you. Did Microsoft accidentally leak your next version of windows during the company’s Ignite event? Many of those who watch the event ask themselves the same question.
Zac Bowden in Windows Center you’ve done a great job of breaking down what, exactly, you saw. For a moment, there was a Windows desktop with a floating taskbar along the bottom and a Mac-style Dock across the top, and a floating search box in the center of the screen.
This is not the first time we have seen this design. Microsoft is working on a three-year update cycle and the next version of Windows is known internally as “Next Valley.” The UI shown briefly in Ignite matches What we know over Next Valley. Of course, the update won’t happen until 2024.
For starters, the floating taskbar along the bottom of the screen takes direct inspiration from macOS, right down to the rounded corners and frosted glass background. Icons look bigger and brighter, a la macOS.
Next, the toolbar along the top featured a battery icon, a Wi-Fi icon, the date on the right, and the weather on the left. All of this was on the same frosted glass background as the taskbar. If you didn’t know better, you might think it was actually a Windows MacBook.
But the giant floating search bar in the top middle of the screen belies that notion. It was pure Microsoft from the icons to search and near the source in the search box. What he was doing there on the screen is a big question.
Is Microsoft planning to add a big floating search box to Windows? If so, it could work a lot like Apple’s new Dynamic Island on the iPhone. In fact, we’ve seen a leak for Dynamic Island on Mac, and we weren’t fans. It would take up a lot of usable space, slow down the system with unnecessary animations, and while not terribly useful. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft plans to handle it.
This brief glimpse of a strange Windows operating system may have been nothing more than a mockup of someone’s idea for Windows. It could have been an experimental concept that accidentally made it into the presentation. Or it could have been an intentional leak of what Microsoft has planned in Next Valley, giving us a glimpse of what’s to come.