Is this the Windows 12 UI?

October 13, 2022

They say life is a beautiful accident. But is this accident also beautiful? Microsoft may have unintentionally revealed the Windows 12 UI at its Ignite 2022 event.

And how good looking it is, depends on your tolerance for change.

Initially, this user interface design was thought to be one of those many prototype creations that designers behind Redmond walls continue to work on. After all, Windows 11 itself is rapidly evolving, more so at the UI level that the company continues to refine and polish.

Windows 11 Floating Taskbar

But when Zac Bowden got wind of it, he confirmed that this likely is an early UI exploration prototype that Microsoft is working on for the next version of Windows.

The software titan is hard at work on the next iteration of its OS, which some believe to be Windows 12, while it is internally referred to as Next Valley. We know that the company has returned to a three-year development cycle for Windows, which means that this next release may be here some time in 2024.

Bowden talks about how this above design that was shown in a brief cutaway at Ignite 2022 was something that he had seen before.

According to his sources, the UI briefly shown off at Ignite yesterday is representative of the design goals that Microsoft hopes at achieve with the next version of the OS.

And since the UI mockup shown during Ignite was of very low quality, Bowden went ahead and recreated the design to provide us with a better idea of what it is supposed to look like:

Windows 12 UI Prototype

Hmm, very Interesting!

He says that he seen different variations of this design layout, including one that houses the system icons and system elements along the top in a translucent bar instead of them simply floating on the desktop, as illustrated in this image below.

Windows 12 UI Translucent Bar

And since things are at the very early stage, the company is readying more sweeping UI changes that were obviously not shown at Ignite. These include a new lock screen, login prompt, notification center and more.

Apparently, Microsoft aims to achieve an interface that is better optimized for touch without diminishing the experience for mouse and keyboard users. The idea being to scale this new UI across desktop, laptop, and tablets for factors, foldable displays included.

All said and done, these are still very early days for Next Valley, and this is just Microsoft exploring. The real interesting question is why such a confidential prototype ended up in the main keynote of a high-profile conference.

Guess we all know the answer to that!

Article Categories:
Design · Featured · Leaks · User Interface · Windows 12

Fahad Ali is a professional freelancer, specializing in technology, web design and development and enterprise applications. He is the primary contributor to this website. When he is not typing away on his keyboard, he is relaxing to some soft jazz.

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