It is about time that we are learning a bit more about the next Windows: An Italian website has obtained the slides of what appears to be a presentation that was given by Microsoft under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
There aren't many new features discussed, but it appears to be clear that Microsoft is taking clues from Apple in creating a much stronger brand value and perception "people will pay for." There are several slides that are reminiscent of traditional Apple ideas and there is one slide that explicitly analyzes Apple's OS strategy.
As far as new features are concerned, there will be an App Store that will enable the user to run apps in full screen and download any apps that may get lost because of a system crash. Microsoft plays with the idea to use facial recognition for user logons and store at least some user data in the cloud - to enable the PC to sign on to websites and services automatically. This seems to be an idea that is based on Chrome OS - with the addition of facial recognition support.
Microsoft believes it is time to use this feature as cameras will be ubiquitous in PCs 2012. Should we take this as a hint that Windows 8 could be surfacing in 2012? Possibly, since Windows 7 has been on the market since 2009 and Windows 8 is apparently already distributed as M2 release. We would say that a beta release in late 2011 or early 2012 is more than likely. The slides can be found here. Screenshots of Windows 8 M2 are posted here.