Windows 10 is Microsoft's follow up to Windows 8, and is due to be released some time around the middle of 2015 and will run on PCs, tablets and smart phones.
What's in a name?
Why is it called Windows 10 and not Windows 9? Microsoft said this was to state that it was a clear break from the past - so we can expect things to be quite different in Windows 10.
Despite their intention to break from the past, Microsoft have acknowledged that they need the product to remain intuitive - even to those users who are migrating from older versions of Windows. The jump from Windows 7 to 8 represented more of a learning curve than previous upgrades to the iconic OS - so it is important that Windows 10 does not forget about users who never even saw Windows 8.
Microsoft states that "Windows 10 will be familiar to end users whether they're coming from Windows 7 or Windows 8." For businesses, this means that workers thrust into a new, upgraded environment will be immediately productive, irrespective of which version of the OS they are used to.
Responding to Criticism
One of the biggest (and most hated) changes in Windows 8, was the removal of the start menu. Windows 10 will bring this back - but it will be a customisable split menu with apps and live tiles side by side. Microsoft are also getting rid of the "app experience" on desktops. In Windows 8, launching a video in the media player app would open it in full screen mode, covering everything including the task bar. You couldn't resize it easily, and it was a little bit surprising and uncomfortable for users who were used to the old style of "windows" that would open up.
On Windows 10, Joe Belfiore, a corporate vice president with the OS group said:
"We want users on PCs with mice and keyboards to have their familiar desktop UI -- a task bar and a start menu. And regardless of how an app was written or distributed to your machine, it works the way you expect."
Windows 10 is also borrowing a feature from Apple, where you can essentially zoom out to see everything that is open on the device - and then select or close it. This is because some users were finding the split between apps and "windows" confusing, and couldn't figure out how to close the new style apps, exit them, or return to those that had previously been open.
Windows 10 is also more compatible with mobile device management software which is used by many IT Support companies and IT teams to manage all of their devices, including PCs, laptops, tablets and phones.
Touch functionality is still supported - although it wasn't a much loved aspect of Windows 8. Even so, you'll still be able to use touch to scroll or zoom on touch enabled PCs. Laptops with detachable screens will prompt you to enter tablet mode - and the UI will change to better suit tablet use.
Windows 10 should be available some time between April and July next year, and it should drastically improve on many of the new features introduced in Windows 8 whilst doing away with the less useful ones.