It’s almost certain that Microsoft will release Windows 12 in the near future – sometime in 2024, probably – but the question is, do we need it? I was prompted to consider this question, having read Jim Hillier’s excellent article Are We Heading For An AI-Driven Windows 12? where he highlighted a serious Start Menu bug in Windows 11. Actually, I was reminded of the months prior to the Windows 10 launch in 2015 when Microsoft declared that it would be the last Windows version because the vision had changed over to Windows as a service. One was left with the impression that Windows 10 would be constantly updated and that would be that. It might not be related but it’s worth remembering that Satya Nadella became Microsoft’s third CEO in February 2014 and his influence may have changed that vision.
What’s In A Name?
Windows 1.0 was released in 1985, Windows 11 in 2021 and in between, there were twenty other versions (if you count XP x64) with only three having an alpha moniker – Windows ME, XP, and Vista:
- Windows 11, released in 2021.
- Windows 10, released in 2015.
- Windows 8.1, released in 2013.
- Windows 8, released in 2012.
- Windows 7, released in 2009.
- Windows Vista, released in 2007.
- Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, released in 2005.
- Windows XP, released in 2001.
I don’t know about you, but I find the alpha-named versions easier to remember, faintly nostalgic, and still harbour fond memories of Windows XP – a new millennium OS with a kind of Toys”R”Us feel, Windows Vista which was very shiny and widgety, but Windows ME not so much. Most of us rejoiced when Windows 7 came along because Vista felt bloated, not to mention the indexing factor. But then in 2012, something weird happened at Microsoft when that witches brew called Windows 8 came to haunt us, only partially redeemed by 8.1, but the memory would live on. I still wake up in a cold sweat when I remember that debacle, but quickly go all warm and fuzzy when I remember how we were rescued by Windows 10 in 2015. But what happened to Windows 9? And what’s so malicious about the number nine anyway?
“Windows 10, because 7 8 9.”
That’s an insider joke apparently and the deciphered version is, seven ate nine. The semi-official version as to why Nine was skipped is pure marketing, with Microsoft quite correctly wishing to distance itself from the hideous Windows 8 in the same way that one would wish to clamber aboard a very fast jet to escape a scorned woman. But the numbering system does make sense and I can’t see Microsoft returning to alpha monikers, but there will surely be considerations towards the end of this decade when Windows 12 needs to be replaced. Windows 13, anyone?
Although macOS follows a numbering system to identify its operating systems – 10.13 (2020) to 11 (2023) – it still maintains the dramatic alpha monikers. High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, and Big Sur are all sexy and memorable, even if you’re not an Apple fan. Android, on the other hand, has largely ditched its yummy-sounding operating system naming conventions with numbers. Remember Jelly Bean, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Marshmallow? As of today my Galaxy Note 20 is on Android 13 which I later discovered does still retain an internal codename of Tiramisu which I find both quaint and tasty sounding.
I’m Happy With Windows 11
We might not need Windows 12 but you can be sure that it’s on its way because Windows cannot stand still and stagnate. It wouldn’t make sense and, as Jim mentioned in his article, AI will most likely play a large part in what we experience when it finally releases. It already is in much of what we do whether we like it or not, but that’s another story. As for Windows 11, which has an internal codename of Sun Valley 2 by the way, I can only say that it does everything I need it to do for work and pleasure (gaming) without any major hitches. Furthermore, I’ll welcome new UI changes and improvements, but what I won’t appreciate is the inevitable changes in its bonkers hardware requirements. When an Intel i7 7700 quad-core CPU and Ryzen 3400G are not supported by Windows 11 yet the weedy Intel Atom is, one wonders what surprises Microsoft has in store for us with Windows 12. And that’s not even touching on TPM 2.0 which may well be 3.0 by this time next year. But then, as in all things Windows related, there’s always a workaround which no doubt the corporation will turn a blind eye to anyway.
We might not need Windows 12 in much the same as we might not need that nice cold beer on a summer’s evening, but we probably want it for its freshness and ability to revive our tired old bodies.