Microsoft recently unveiled their next generation of Windows with a Fall/Holiday 2021 release date, and since then we have been waiting for a more concrete answer on when the new OS will officially launch. Today, Microsoft has officially revealed that Windows 11 will be launching on October 5th.
Unfortunately, this does not mean every Windows 10 user can upgrade for free straight away, as Microsoft revealed their phased rollout plan: “new eligible devices will be offered the upgrade first. The upgrade will then roll out over time to in-market devices based on intelligence models that consider hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of device and other factors that impact the upgrade experience.”
Microsoft expects “all eligible devices to be offered the free upgrade to Windows 11 by mid-2022,” though this does only include the free upgrade for Win 10 users. But if you’re really desperate you can still go out and buy a physical Win 11 copy to install on your machine. October 5th is also the launch date for brand new devices with Windows 11 already pre-loaded on them.
Of course, W11 is set to be “the best Windows ever for gaming” which includes AutoHDR and DirectStorage features, as well as support for the upcoming Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake series CPUs (of which, Windows 11 is said to be optimized for making the most out of the new hybrid architecture design).
As a celebration of the launch date announcement, Microsoft also revealed their 11 key highlights of the release:
Windows 11 launch highlights
- The new design and sounds are modern, fresh, clean and beautiful, bringing you a sense of calm and ease.
- With Start, we’ve put you and your content at the center. Start utilizes the power of the cloud and Microsoft 365 to show you your recent files no matter what device you were viewing them on.
- Snap Layouts, Snap Groups and Desktops provide an even more powerful way to multitask and optimize your screen real estate.
- Chat from Microsoft Teams integrated into the taskbar provides a faster way to connect to the people you care about.
- Widgets, a new personalized feed powered by AI, provides a faster way to access the information you care about, and with Microsoft Edge’s world class performance, speed and productivity features you can get more done on the web.
- Windows 11 delivers the best Windows ever for gaming and unlocks the full potential of your system’s hardware with technology like DirectX12 Ultimate, DirectStorage and Auto HDR. With Xbox Game Pass for PC or Ultimate you get access to over 100 high-quality PC games to play on Windows 11 for one low monthly price. (Xbox Game Pass sold separately.)
- Windows 11 comes with a new Microsoft Store rebuilt with an all-new design making it easier to search and discover your favorite apps, games, shows, and movies in one trusted location. We look forward to continuing our journey to bring Android apps to Windows 11 and the Microsoft Store through our collaboration with Amazon and Intel; this will start with a preview for Windows Insiders over the coming months.
- Windows 11 is the most inclusively designed version of Windows with new accessibility improvements that were built for and by people with disabilities.
- Windows 11 unlocks new opportunities for developers and creators. We are opening the Store to allow more developers and independent software vendors (ISVs) to bring their apps to the Store, improving native and web app development with new developer tools, and making it easier for you to refresh the look and feel across all our app designs and experiences.
- Windows 11 is optimized for speed, efficiency and improved experiences with touch, digital pen and voice input.
- Windows 11 is the operating system for hybrid work, delivering new experiences that work how you work, are secure by design, and easy and familiar for IT to deploy and manage. Businesses can also test Windows 11 in preview today in Azure Virtual Desktop, or at general availability by experiencing Windows 11 in the new Windows 365.
What do you think? Are you excited for Windows 11? Will you be upgrading to the new OS at launch? Or will you wait for some bugs to be fixed first? And what new feature excites you the most? Let us know!