Tony Prophet, corporate vice president of Windows Marketing, provided some insight about what Microsoft plans to implement in the next version of Windows, namely Windows 9 Threshold. He said the company is "hard at work" on the next-generation OS, which backs up claims that Microsoft is pushing to get Windows 9 out to customers as quickly as possible.
For starters, Prophet said that the new Start Menu will be better because it will have Live Tiles and Modern UI apps. This we already know thanks to the screenshot provided by Microsoft during BUILD 2014 in April, and the more recent leaks surrounding Windows 9. But the timing of the new Start Menu is unknown. It will either find its way into Update 2 slated to launch next month, or Windows 9, which could arrive as a public beta in Q4 2014 followed by the full release in April 2015, according to some reports.
Previous reports claim that Microsoft is working to bring Modern UI apps to the desktop, meaning they will be windowed when on the desktop, and full-screen on the Start screen. This will pull both sides of the Windows coin even closer together, a relationship Microsoft introduced with the release of Windows 8.1.
"The second feature we're thinking about is enabling modern apps to run windowed on the desktop versus only running in the immersive full-screen mode," Prophet said. "This will enable you to run multiple modern apps side-by-side or layered or a combination of modern apps and desktop programs side-by-side or layered."
As previously reported, the Windows platform will supposedly load in two separate ways. For desktop users, Windows will boot to the desktop when there is no touchscreen connected and a keyboard and mouse is detected. If the customer has a touch screen or tablet, then Windows will boot to the Start Screen.
When Microsoft released Windows 8 back in late 2012, many desktop customers complained that it catered to the touch-based users. Microsoft is pushing to change that, releasing Windows 8.1, Update 1 and the upcoming Update 2. Based on leaked information, Windows 9 may match Windows XP and Windows 7 in popularity, bringing the desktop and Start Screen even closer together than Microsoft originally intended.