According to The Verge, Microsoft will unveil the consumer features of its long-awaited new Windows 10 platform in January. Can we expect the issues that have plagued Windows 8 to be rectified?
We know already that it’s going to run on smartphones, notebooks, 2-in1s, desktops and servers, each of which will have a customised interface, and gamesters will find that it also runs on Xbox One. There’ll be a single Windows Store providing apps for all versions of Windows 10 and Windows 8 and 8.1 users could well find that they can get Windows 10 from the Store free of charge.
There’ll be a Multiple Desktops feature, which will let users flip effortlessly between tasks, and a “Snap” system that lets you sort your apps according to the tasks they perform (and you’ll be able to put up to four different apps on screen simultaneously).
However, app developers need to take heed of one small detail that will make or break their apps: the new software will include a new internal number. Microsoft has always followed the convention of using a marketing name (e.g. Windows Vista or Windows 7) and an internal number or “name” that it uses to identify itself to services and apps.
Windows 7, for example, identified itself to apps as Windows 6.1 while Windows 8 is, internally, Windows 6.2, and Windows 8.1 is Windows 6.3. These small changes enabled Microsoft to maintain app compatibility. Windows 10 is different. The internal number will change to match the marketing name, i.e., 10 (Microsoft, we believe, is making a clean break with Windows 8, hence the decision to skip the number 9 altogether and the introduction of a new internal number). App developers will need to update their apps if they want the content therein to work.
The good news is that Windows 10 does fix the flaws of Windows 8. The infuriating disappearance of the Start Screen will be remedied: it’s back in Windows 10 and featuring Live Tiles. In addition, lovers of musical content will be slobbering over this: Microsoft has just announced that Windows 10 will support the superb FLAC audio codec, massively extending its availability (it never loses any data in compression, making it vastly superior to the MP3 format).
We’ll be keeping an eye on developments in January.