If you’ve been near a Windows PC (or maybe even on a Mac via Bootcamp) recently, you might have heard that Microsoft is holding a special event this Thursday, June 24. This event was billed to focus on “what’s next for Windows,” but the secret details got out ahead of time thanks to a “leaked” build of Windows 11, which we just so happened to get hands-on with.
It is believed that come June 24, Microsoft will officially reveal Windows 11. When that happens, you might see and hear about some things in Windows 11 that are not present in the leaked version of the operating system. Microsoft even teased this in a YouTube video, and the company’s own executives have repeatedly mentioned “next generation of Windows” at recent developer and partner events. Here’s a look at everything we expect at Microsoft’s June 24 Windows 11 event.
Outside of Microsoft’s Build developer conference, Microsoft rarely holds dedicated events to talk about Windows. Surface events usually have hints about upcoming Windows releases, but Windows itself is not as huge of an extravaganza for Microsoft as it had been in the past. This is especially true in the “Windows as a service” world, where Windows 10 just got small twice-a-year updates, falling behind what Apple and Google have done with MacOS and Chrome OS, respective.
The fact that Microsoft is holding a specific event for Windows shows a striking change in tone. It’s all likely the result of behind-the-scenes work by Microsoft executive Panos Panay, who takes a much more flashy approach to marketing products. In 2020, the Microsoft Surface inventor took the helm of a new group at the company called “Windows + Devices,” which includes both the Surface hardware and the operating system.
Windows 11 is definitely his child, so expect Panay to show up with his usual flair and charisma.
Judging from the leaked build — and Microsoft’s own little hints over the past few months — we expect that Windows 11 will deliver a massive visual overhaul to Windows not seen since Windows 10 itself. Though things so far seem very familiar to Microsoft’s now-canceled Windows 10X operating system, there are some changes that might come soon which many people believe have not yet been enabled.
These changes include more tweaks to the Start Menu itself, as well as the Action Center and widgets. In the current leaked version of Windows 11, these areas do not feel feature-complete. While they are visually impressive, with rounded corners and glasslike aero effects, there’s a lot that is missing.
For instance, you can’t create or use custom widgets, the Action Center doesn’t have the same touch controls as Windows 10X, and the Start Menu can’t be personalized as much as it was in Windows 10. Even the tablet mode lacks some of the gestures and other things in Windows 10. And, let’s not forget that Live Tiles are missing.
On June 24, Microsoft could showcase a newer version of Windows 11 that has more features than what we’ve already seen. Who knows, the company might even talk about how you can safely test it out yourself through the Windows Insider program. Or how you can upgrade to Windows 11 for free.
The Microsoft Store in Windows 10 has always been a mess, but we’re expecting some changes to be announced for it during the June 24 event. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently mentioned that he “self-hosted” and was “excited for the next generation of Windows.” He even went as far as to say that ” we will create more opportunity for every Windows developer today and welcome every creator who is looking for the most innovative, new, open platform.”
Clearly, the Microsoft executive knows something that we don’t and is teasing some updates for the way the store and apps work in Windows 10. And there are plenty of rumors that only stir up what Nadella said. It’s believed that in Windows 11, the Microsoft Store might finally get support for Win32 apps like Google Chrome or Firefox. And developers are also expected to make more money from their apps, thanks to changes in the store revenue system. There’s even talk of Android apps in the Microsoft Store, possibly via the Windows System for Linux.
But don’t take our words and rumors too close to heart. Microsoft is holding its own Windows developer breakout event on the same day as the Windows event. This breakout event is set for 12 p.m. PT on June 24, and we’ll be watching closely to hear what’s next for Windows developers. It’s rare to see a separate developer event outside of the company’s usual Build developer conference, so something big has to be coming.
The last of what to expect has to do with Windows fans. While Windows 10 updates have been largely disappointing as of late (focused on the enterprise and patching bugs,) Windows 11 is expected to bring some changes. This is especially true because Microsoft last reported there being over 1.3 billion Windows 10 devices in the world. Windows is out in the wild and is popular, and Microsoft wants to power that productivity.
Anyway, rumor has it that Windows 11 could bring lots of fan-requested features. Of those is Auto HDR on PCs, as well as DirectStorage, which should boost the performance of some games. We’ll just have to wait see what Microsoft has in store. But for now, expectations are set high.
We’ll be covering the June 24 event live, so stay tuned to Digital Trends for more updates.