Microsoft hints new features coming to Windows 12 at Qualcomm event

Windows 12 is expected to unleash a new wave of advances in AI with Copilot and major interface changes.

Copilot on Windows 11
Copilot on Windows 11 / Image: Mauro Huculak
  • Microsoft has revealed several changes coming to future releases of Windows.
  • The company didn’t say the word “Windows 12,” but many of the new features are expected in 2024.
  • In the Qualcomm event, Microsoft talked about AI, hybrid computing, and UI changes.

At the Qualcomm media event, Microsoft didn’t explicitly mention “Windows 12.” However, the company talked about the future of the operating system (via Windows Central), including new features and experiences that could arrive as part of the next version of Windows.

In short, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and CVP of Windows and Devices Pavan Davuluri make it clear that the company will continue to invest heavily in AI that will bring context-awareness integration, hybrid AI processing, and significant changes to the Windows 12 (and higher releases) interface.

According to Satya, generative AI integration (when referring to Copilot) will change how we interact with devices. The company wasn’t specific on the details, but it implies that we can expect major interface changes coming to the operating system around Copilot.

Satya also referred to the Start button as the main feature of Windows since the beginning, and now, he said that we can think about Copilot similarly. However, now, the AI chatbot can improve the experience as it can help you to jump to an activity or workflow based on your current context.

It’s unclear, and I’m speculating here. However, the company could be contemplating two scenarios, including replacing the Start button and menu with Copilot, or it could be the case that we may see a Copilot integration in the Start experience.

On Windows 8, the company tried to remove the Start button from the operating system in favor of a swiping gesture to access the Start screen (the Start menu replacement). However, it backfired as it made it more difficult for users to access their apps and the search functionality. As a result, Microsoft was forced to release an update to bring back the Start menu and button to the Taskbar.

Microsoft also sees that the future of the operating system includes a hybrid approach, where some of the computing tasks will happen on the device locally, and others will happen in the cloud. This is critical as most computers are not capable of rendering AI workloads locally, even though they may include Neural Processing Units (NPUs) for AI tasks.

The hybrid approach will also help Microsoft save costs as not everything will have to be processed in the cloud as AI computing time is costly. Also, it’ll help the company save on its carbon footprint.

In addition, Davuluri hinted at another feature coming (possibly) to Windows 12, and that’s the ability of Copilot to work as your personal assistant, similar to Cortana, saying that AI will “be able to orchestrate across multiple apps, services, and devices, functioning as an agent in your life that can connect and keep context across entire workflows.”

Of course, the implementation would be more advanced as this version of the AI will be able to recognize you and learn your habits as you use the device and services to be more helpful, no matter the platform.

Finally, Davuluri also shared some insights about the emulation engine performance and efficiency improvements for applications on ARM-based devices, saying that applications designed for the x86 platform will run more seamlessly as if they were designed for the ARM platform. In part (I believe), this is because of the new technology advanced coming with the Snapdragon X Elite that seems to be even more powerful than the Apple M2 chip and the optimizations and compatibility improvements that the company is adding to the operating system.

Although it’s unclear when this new way of computing will arrive, Microsoft is for sure working on the next version of the operating, which we’re currently referring to as “Windows 12,” and it’s expected to include more AI integration, improvements for faster updates, and improved security thanks to the new modern modular system implementation currently known as “CorePC.”

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].