Windows 12 is likely to be Microsoft’s successor to Windows 11 – and it could be coming sooner than you might think.
Rumors are pointing to the fancifully titled operating system coming in 2024, and the possibility that Windows 12 could follow so soon after Windows 11 has some of us at TechRadar excited.
And while that still leaves Microsoft behind with the yearly updates that manage macOS and some other operating systems, Microsoft’s upcoming “Moments” releases will at least be updated more regularly.
Whenever it comes, we’d like to see a bigger evolution compared to what Windows 11 brought. What improvements and new features could Windows 12 have? Users have been bombarding Microsoft with feature requests, with some of those requests having been granted with the 2022 update, which brought with it a refined taskbar.
With that in mind, here’s everything we’ve found out so far about the next big update for Windows, plus five features we’d also like to see in Windows 12.
Windows 12: In a nutshell
- What is it? Windows 12 is the supposed successor to Windows 11
- When will it come out? Possibly 2024 based on the three year plan
- How much is it? Should be free as Windows 11 currently is
Windows 12 release date rumors
This is very early for Windows 11 – we’re not even on the one-year anniversary of the update’s announcement. In terms of previous versions, however, we expect Windows 12 to launch in late 2024, just as support for Windows 10 ends.
Devices supported by Windows 12
When Microsoft announced the availability of Windows 11, the main requirement was for computers to have a hardware feature called TPM, a security feature found on most motherboards.
While the same requirement will most likely be requested again by Microsoft, it may be at a point where almost every PC has TPM enabled anyway.
Apart from that, it will probably have similar requirements as Windows 11:
- 64-bit processor
- 1 GHz clock frequency
- 4GB of RAM
- 64GB hard drive
- UEFI, Secure Boot capable
- TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module)
- A display larger than 9 inches with HD resolution (1366 x 768)
- DirectX 12 compatible graphics / WDDM 2.x
- internet connection
what we want to see
We don’t know much about Windows 12 just yet, or if the rumored upgrade is even a reality, but we have a good idea of what we want from it, with the following features high on our list.
1. Merge Skype and Teams into MSN Messenger 12
It’s no secret that Microsoft’s efforts in video calling and collaboration via messaging apps have been less than stellar over the past few years. At a time when people needed to communicate more remotely, Zoom took the lead and Skype, amazingly, fell by the wayside.
Although some new features have been introduced for both Teams and Skype, there is still some confusion as to which ones you should be using. For example, if you need to attend a job interview on Teams, you probably need to quickly install the app and make sure it works.
Instead, let’s see how they both retire and mark a fresh start for Windows 12, with the return of MSN Messenger to do the job these two apps have continued to lag at.
Not only would we love to see the return of nudges, winks, and classic sounds if users so choose, but we’d also be keen on powerful features to make it toe-to-toe with Zoom, Google Meets, and FaceTime. Perhaps you have an integration with Slack, so if a video conference is needed, a channel can request it and a button will launch MSN Messenger with the necessary invitees.
Microsoft needs to restart how it perceives itself for messaging apps, and the return of MSN Messenger could be a good start.
2. Live wallpaper
A request from Matt Hanson, TechRadar’s Senior Computing Editor, and an intriguing one at that. Similar features have existed in iPhones and Android phones for a number of years, with animations moving across these devices. But for PC and Mac, they’ve been relegated to third-party apps like Wallpaper Engine (opens in new tab)to have animated wallpapers with the ability to display information from your PC.
In order to achieve something similar in Windows 12, Microsoft could further push its efforts in themes, which has been improved in Windows 11 thanks to its dark themes.
A dedicated wallpaper area where you can place static bytes of information on the desktop that works with an animated live wallpaper could appeal to all types of users.
Microsoft could also bring back previous wallpapers like Windows XP’s hill, but let them animate, alongside some clouds showing battery status or the weather.
This can refresh the desktop significantly and make it much more up-to-date without having to rely on widgets or a taskbar to show changes.
3. Dedicated podcast app
While it was great to see the return of Microsoft’s Windows Media Player, having extra features like podcasts feels irrelevant to Media Player’s purpose.
macOS has had its own podcast app since Big Sur in 2019, but if you want to use a similar app on Windows it’s not clear where to start since Microsoft doesn’t offer a dedicated podcast app.
That’s why Windows 12 should include a dedicated podcast app that can also be used on other platforms like iOS and Android, so your subscriptions can be synced across all your devices.
Podcasts are very popular, and managing them all in one first-party app would be great for Windows users. This could really boost the company’s efforts to make content available on almost any device.
4. Dedicated streaming app
A whirlwind idea from our resident Computing writer, Jess Weatherbed, as there isn’t yet a built-in option in Windows to stream what you’re playing.
Apps like OBS and Twitch have been around for years to let you stream what you’re playing or watching with others. However, these apps always required extra effort to ensure that you are streaming to viewers in good quality and with low latency.
Then there’s the added aspect of peripherals that streamers use to show them in a better light, or Stream Decks to easily control their setups with keyboard shortcuts.
It can be overwhelming to manage multiple apps just to control them all, which is why Windows 12 could benefit from having one app that can manage your streams and peripherals.
Microsoft has been pushing gaming in Windows 11 since its June 2021 announcement with a redesigned Xbox app and HDR support. But countless players are also streaming these games on Windows, so there’s a big opportunity here.
Having an app to control ring lights and the streams for viewers, for example, is appealing and puts the heavy lifting on an app. It could automate streams based on schedule and games played, along with different lighting scenarios for different times of the day.
This could encourage more gamers to see Windows as a service, as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has noted since the release of Windows 10 in 2015, while also making Windows 12 an enticing prospect for streamers to seek more followers and income to earn for their career.
5. Companion app for Android
A suggestion from our Editor-in-Chief at TechRadar Pro, Desire Athow – this may be an extension of Your Phone, Microsoft’s effort to sync your phone with Windows. But when you open this new app in Windows 12, it would have a layout reminiscent of Windows Phone and its tile layout and would allow for a desktop experience from your phone.
This would be similar to Samsung DeX, which can turn your Galaxy S22 or Galaxy S22 Ultra into a desktop once connected to a peripheral.
However, this new app would go beyond the efforts of DeX and Microsoft Your Phone. When you connect to a monitor, it becomes a full Windows 12 desktop showing everything from your main PC. And when you click an icon, it downloads the content from the cloud and displays it in its native resolution.
It would be an innovative extension of the cloud where you can access your files anywhere. Here you would carry your desktop with you and all you would have to do is connect your smartphone to a monitor, either with touchscreen capabilities or with a keyboard and mouse.
As with the streaming feature above, this would once again push Nadella’s plans to see Windows as a service. Having your PC in an app is a tempting thought, and could be helpful in situations where you have a short window of time to work somewhere with a spare monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
https://www.techradar.com/news/windows-12 Windows 12 – new features, supported PCs, everything we know so far