A possible tease of Windows 12 UI by Microsoft

Though it might seem like Windows 11 was just released yesterday, Microsoft is already hard at work on the upcoming version of its operating system. The tech behemoth briefly demonstrated a never-before-seen Windows interface at Friday's Ignite 2022 conference, which is Microsoft's annual development and innovation conference. Windows 12 is widely believed to be the interface. During the Ignite Keynote, a welcome speech outlining the major themes and objectives of the conference, a tease was given. During a cutaway involving Microsoft Teams, viewers had a brief glimpse of an alien desktop with a floating taskbar and system icons in the top right corner. Images display the weather in the top left corner and a floating search bar at the top center of the screen.  The layout differs greatly from Windows 11, which keeps Microsoft's static taskbar (where system icons are likewise tucked away) and leaves the top of the screen entirely blank. As soon as they saw the disparity, Keynote viewers wondered whether the interface had something to do with Windows 12, which is scheduled to launch in 2024. Certain people have also noted how the UI has some fundamental components in common with the recurrent macOS design. Zac Bowden, the senior editor for Windows Central, has seen some of Microsoft's Windows 12 prototype designs, and the user interface he saw at the Ignite Conference reminded him of some of those concepts. Although Microsoft is still ironing out its plans for Windows 12, there may be some overlap between the leaked design and those being evaluated behind closed doors. Better yet, in the opinion of Bowden's sources, the interface is a good representation of the design objectives that Microsoft is aiming to meet with the upcoming release of Windows. This makes it safe to believe that Windows 12 is involved, even if the final OS will likely appear different than the interface seen at Ignite. However, did Microsoft intend to give fans such a sneak peek? Some "leaks" are done on purpose, as was likely the case with the Xbox streaming device that was unveiled last week, which is widely believed. With Windows 12, this is conceivably true. Since the 1990s, Ignite has existed in one form or another and has recently racked up hundreds of thousands of views across the globe. The teams in charge of creating the Ignite materials are not likely to be so careless as to unintentionally reveal a top-secret OS. Furthermore, Microsoft has some background in carefully orchestrated leaks. Whether it was done on purpose or not, the interface preview shows visitors what Microsoft plans to offer in the future. According to Bowden's sources, Microsoft is attempting to create an OS that is more touch-friendly without compromising any aspect of the experience of using a mouse and keyboard—a balance the company has previously had difficulty striking. In addition to having an impact on operating systems, this may also have an impact on Microsoft's hardware objectives, particularly in light of the company's ongoing development of the dual-purpose Surface tablet.