Windows 11 launch: rumors, release date, features and more

We rounded up everything we know about the potential Windows 11 OS release

Windows 11
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 10 launched in 2015 and was for a long time believed to be the last number change we would see from the platform – instead opting for yearly edition updates. However, rumors are circulating that Microsoft’s big Windows event on June 24 could see the release of Windows 11.

The change in tack is expected to be in part due to the shelving of Windows 10X, a lighter-weight platform that was being created for dual-screen devices, such as the Surface Neo. A lot of the design work originally for 10X is expected to make an appearance in the forthcoming Windows 11.

More cynically, the move could also be seen as a way to create more interest in the OS. Windows updates were once big events – like early iPhone announcements – but a yearly refresh of Windows 10 editions hasn’t had the same glamor to it. Even if it was ultimately more useful for the user.

The event on June 24 was planned to be the Sun Valley update for Windows 10, which, in itself, was due to be a significant update on the look and feel of the OS. However, as the date has got closer, rumors that this is something more have intensified. Many of these are thanks to the teasers released by Microsoft itself. The event invitation itself sparked rumors thanks to an 11-like reflection from the Windows logo.

Will there be a Windows 11?

Despite all the rumors, there has been no official confirmation that we will see a Windows 11. Even if Microsoft has chosen to move on from Windows 10, that’s doesn’t guarantee the next version will automatically be Windows 11. It could just as easily jump to Windows 20, or Windows 22, if it were following the old year-based system.

It could even drop the numbering all together, as Apple has done with mac OS and just call it Windows Sun Valley, or go down a similar route of naming after Washington State highlights. Are we ready for Windows Tacoma?

Microsoft Windows 11

Anyone spot an 11?

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 11 launch date

Microsoft are holding a significant Windows event on Thursday, June 24, with an invitation to “see what’s next for Windows.” We expect this will be the launch event for Windows 11. The event will be available as a livestream from (conveniently) 11am Eastern Time. For those in the UK, that’s 4pm BST and for Australia, that’s 1am ACT, Friday June 25.

If this is indeed a new version, it’s unlikely to be made available straight away. Based on previous timelines, it could be at least September before a public version is out.

Windows 11 price

As with previous upgrades – at least in recent times – we expect that there will be no charge for users upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11. Also any new desktop or laptop is likely to come with the software built in. The only charge will be for those building their own machines and is likely to follow that of Windows 10, with the Home edition from $139 and Pro from $199.

Windows 11 features

According to rumors, the new Windows 11 will borrow much of its new design from the now shelved Windows 10X. This platform had a more modern centralized design with many new icons, a new start menu and a new central task bar.

Windows 10X was designed to be adaptive to cope with folding and multiscreen devices, so hopefully this technology will also come to Windows 11.

Windows 11 latest news

With just two weeks until the Windows event, Microsoft has released a slow-fi remix of its start up sounds. The 11-minute video (another coincidence?), described as a relaxation track combines start-up sounds from windows 95, XP and Windows 7 slowed by 4,000%. Though I’m not sure it has the desired effect – see if you can last more than a minute of it.

These sounds are from significant releases and have been ingrained in most of our memories. Especially the legendary Windows 95 startup that was created by none other than Brian Eno. Does this mean we are going to hear a new start-up sound in Windows 11?

Mat Gallagher
Mat Gallagher

As T3's Managing Editor in the US, Mat is a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, cars, music or travel. Originally from the UK, he has written about technology since 2003 and is now based in Chicago.