Some reports that reached the web yesterday claimed that Microsoft might launch a new Windows 8.1 update this fall, while Windows 9, the next major version of the operating system, could see daylight in early 2015.Citing insiders close to Microsoft’s development plans, ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley is reporting today that Redmond could actually launch the second Windows 8.1 update as soon as this August, as the company is already working on the features that could be part of this new release.
No specifics have been provided, so we can’t tell for sure whether it’s going to be called Windows 8.2 or Windows 8.1 Update 2, but one thing is sure: Microsoft is trying to tweak the operating system to better work on desktop computers, so expect some pretty big changes in this product.
Terry Myerson, head of the OS unit within Microsoft, said at BUILD 2014 in San Francisco that a future Windows 8.1 update would also bring back the Start menu, which was removed in Windows 8 in order to force users discover the newly-introduced Start screen.
Myerson also revealed a mockup of the upcoming Start menu, explaining that it’s going to be aimed at desktop computers, which means that touch devices, including tablets, might not get it at all.
Not much is known about this Start menu, but the concept shown by Microsoft revealed a mix of the classic design, which was already implemented in Windows 7, and modern elements, such as live tiles.
At the same time, Microsoft is also working to implement options that could allow users to launch Metro apps in dedicated windows right on the desktop, without the need for accessing the Start screen. This basically indicates that Redmond is trying to merge the two working environment into a single one that would better tackle the needs of users still relying on mice and keyboards as the main input methods for their computers.
Some of these features might not be offered to touch devices, but Metro is very likely to receive plenty of other improvements as well.
Microsoft hasn’t yet confirmed that the update coming in August is the one to bring all these changes, but given the fact that the company is already believed to be working on Windows 9, this could be the right timing to introduce so important updates.
In the meantime, take everything with a grain of salt and let’s just hope that Microsoft will break the news on the second Windows update anytime soon.