On May 28th, Microsoft officially launched Windows 10 May Update (v2004) for users across the globe. So far this year’s largest Windows 10 upgrade cycle has ended here (usually the first half of the year involves feature updates, and the second half is mainly bug fixes). As the current version of the Windows update cycle has settled, more and more users have begun to focus on the next version of Windows 10.
Understanding the major changes in the next generation of Windows 10
According to Microsoft, the next generation of Windows 10 (i.e. the significant feature update) will be unveiled in the first half of 2021. It will be code-named Windows 10 21H1 (or Iron). There is very little news about this version, but from the official statements, we can still sort out the basic outline of the next generation of Windows 10.
Table of Contents
Highlight 1. Fully updated UI beautification
For a long time, everyone complained a lot about Windows 10’s UI. It’s not that its design is bad. It’s just that it is unacceptable to “fuse” too many styles at the same time in a system.
At the beginning of the year, Microsoft released a new set of screenshots of the start menu on the Internet and even provided a video for it. However … as you can see, the new menu did not appear in the May 2020 edition. In other words, if it does not appear in the May edition, it means that we can only see the new menu at this time next year at the earliest.
The new start menu that was officially released before
Compared with the current version of the start menu, the new menu weakens the concept of tiles, but it does not completely cancel it. From the preview, Microsoft only retains the tiles of some built-in applications, and more programs are still based on icons. In terms of details, the new version has optimized the light / dark style design, cleared the colour blocks under the icon, and the menu style has begun to automatically match the system theme. Especially with the new micro-stereoscopic icon, the visual aesthetic of Windows 10 has greatly improved.
The new menu is no longer trying to be too colourful. It’s more concise and bright.
Highlight 2. Better Search experience throughout Windows.
Although Windows 10’s search has gone through many iterations, it’s still far from perfect and lacks good third party integrations!
At this year’s Build 2020 Microsoft Developers Conference, the official announced a new feature called “Windows Version Focused Search”.
Screenshot of the new Windows version of “focused search”
Similar to command + space in Listary or Mac, Microsoft’s “focus search” is also activated by shortcut keys. After pressing Alt + Space, a search box will pop up on the screen. Enter the software name or text to get the search results. From the screenshot, the entire search experience is very similar to MAC’s “focused search”. In addition to local search, it also takes into account functions such as web search, quick calculation, and favourites access. Rather than saying that this is an innovation from Microsoft, it is better to say that the software giant is learning from a third-party manufacturer for the first time, and for users, this is definitely a much welcome situation!
Highlight 3. Microsoft-flavoured Edge Chromium browser
Since Edge changed its engine to Chromium, Microsoft has been adding various small features to it. This is obviously not in line with Chrome’s thinking, but it is very similar to Microsoft’s previous routine.
Microsoft recently announced at the Build 2020 Developer Conference that it will launch a new Edge feature. That is, that through the right-click menu, a new set of search fields is opened directly on the right side of the current webpage to avoid the trouble of switching back and forth between different tabs.
Edge search sidebar
Unlike all Chrome-dependent plugins, although the Chromium version of Edge inherently has the ability to install Chrome plugins. But Microsoft seems to be more willing to integrate some small functions into the browser to make its own browser more user-friendly. Although we cannot say that this approach is right or wrong, perhaps this is a step in the right direction!
Highlights 4. Global Clipper
Traditionally favorites can only store URLs. Is there a container that can store web pages, pictures, texts, and diaries globally?
In Microsoft’s vision, a feature called “Collection” will soon be launched. This is a sub-function attached to Edge. In addition to the traditional web collection, you can also use the “collection” function to collect URL pages, pictures, and text, which is equivalent to a comprehensive web page clipper. At the same time, “Collection” supports partition management, which can create tags for different collection categories (such as learning, film and television, work, etc.) like a notebook. In addition, it also has the function to exporting to Microsoft Office and OneNote with one click, which can be easily used across devices (cloud synchronization).
Upgraded version of “Favorites”
Highlights 5. SETS regression
What is “SETS”? Old users will certainly not be unfamiliar with it. It is a multi-tab feature of the resource manager launched in the early version of Windows 10. However, for unknown reasons, SETS was completely cancelled after only staying in the preview for a period of time. It is reported that Microsoft plans to restore this feature in the 21H1 version.
SETS will return
The simple understanding of SETS is the broad version of Edge multi-tab. But its scope is no longer limited to Edge, and the content displayed also extends to web pages, folders, office software, etc. It is reported that the reason why the previous SETS was cut off is because its core was the old version of the Edge browser, and now that Edge has successfully transferred to Chromium, does it mean that the new version of SETS is also returning soon?
Highlights 6. Full touch support
Although Microsoft has always advertised that Windows 10 was born for touch, but due to the incoordination of internal components (with UWP and Win32), the actual experience is not as good as expected. As more and more Windows 10 components begin to be UWP, there are still few components designed using Win32. Among them, the resource manager is the most outdated one.
At present, Microsoft has not disclosed more details about the UWP version of Explorer, but from the previous video and the Windows 10X details, we can still figure out a preview of what it might look like!
Windows 10X Explorer
The new version of the resource manager uses the standard new design. The left side can be expanded or collapsed, and the right side is designed as the content area like the current version. Commonly used functions and the address bar are folded and displayed on the right side, while maintaining existing habits, effectively improving the touch user experience. Unlike the traditional Win32 module, the UWP version has better compatibility with the light / dark theme, so the visual sense is better than the former. At the same time, the boundaries between the cloud and the local are no longer concrete, and the synchronization of files across devices is fluent. And this actually reflects the future development direction of Windows.
Although Windows 10 has been available for more than 5 years, consumers still want something better and visually appealing. In addition to poor stability, the current version of Windows 10 also has issues such as high resource consumption, a poor interconnection of components, and inconsistent UI style. With the new update of Windows 10 in May 2021, the new generation of Windows 10 might become even better or not? This is a question that only time can answer!
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