Back in December, a rumor surfaced in regards to Windows 8 and the existence of two separate interfaces. These will reportedly coexist in the same way Basic and Aero currently reside in Windows 7.
For Windows 8, one interface codenamed "Wind" will be fully 3D, requiring around 170 MB of dedicated video memory. It will also be "fully dynamic" by adapting to the user's habits. This includes the ability to speed up daily tasks by changing shortcuts and icons to fit within different usage scenarios. "Wind" will reside in all copies of Windows 8, but remain inactive within the 32-bit environment.
The last two days have now brought information and images regarding the second (Mosh?) interface which will ultimately replace the current Windows 7 Basic. Dubbed as "Aero Lite," the new UI will supposedly borrow various flat transportation-like arrows and fonts offered in Microsoft's Metro UI, the same style set used in Microsoft's Media Center, Windows Phone 7 and the newly revised Microsoft Store. And like Windows 7 Basic, this simplified UI will be geared for low-end machines that can't run Windows 8's rumored 3D "Wind" interface.
As seen in the provided image, the Aero Lite interface will feature large, clear buttons and symbols. Included in the set are defined forwards and backwards buttons, and revamped symbols for window corners including maximize, minimize, resize and help buttons. The fonts are thin and tall but stylish, moving away from the current dull and drab typeface that seems to have graced every incarnation of the Windows platform.
Microsoft Office 15 will also supposedly receive the Metro UI treatment. In milestone 2 build 15.0.2703.1000, Outlook uses Metro UI at the foot of the application to simplify switching between various functions. Outlook also sports a cleaner, "flattened" user interface for easier access to email. So far, the other Office products including Access, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint and Word have not implemented the new typeface.
Microsoft's Steve Ballmer has previously stated that the company was taking a huge risk in developing Windows 8. This will supposedly be the biggest overhaul since Windows XP, and on a visual level, it's certainly time for a change. We already know it will be modular, with a version slated to appear on Microsoft-sanctioned tablets in 2012. We may have also caught a glimpse of the 3D user interface as seen here, appearing in the form of bubbles that are modified based on changes in schedule, social updates and so on.
Expect to hear more about Windows 8 in June when Steve Ballmer is slated to demo the OS running on a tablet.