Earlier today, Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider Preview build 16199 to PCs in the Fast ring. It's the latest preview of what will eventually become the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, formerly known by its development codename, Redstone 3.
In its announcement detailing build 16199, Microsoft inadvertently included an image - which it has since deleted - showing a new icon on the Windows 10 taskbar (just to the left of the clock in the image below). It had the same design as the Settings 'cog' icon used elsewhere in the OS, leading to speculation that Microsoft was preparing to add a shortcut to Settings on the taskbar, for easy access.
However, Windows Central's Zac Bowden
tortured spoke with his sources to get some insight into what the new icon was for - and as it turns out, it's more than just a simple shortcut.
Zac reports that Microsoft is actually testing a new 'Control Center' that removes the Quick Action buttons - such as brightness controls, Tablet Mode, and Wi-Fi - from the Action Center, and relocates them to a dedicated panel that can be activated via that new Settings icon on the taskbar, as shown in the image above.
The larger Control Center provides a lot more space to lay out the Quick Action buttons, with larger, clearer labels for some features, such as Network, Connect, and Project.
Clearing out the action buttons from the Action Center will leave it with nothing more than app and system notifications, and as the tweet below from Thurrott.com's Rafael Rivera shows, it seems that Microsoft is considering a revised, more minimalist design, and perhaps a new name, for what remains - the 'Notification Center':
The Control Center is included in the latest Windows 10 preview builds, but disabled by default - and as Rafael's screenshot below from build 16193 shows, it's clearly a work in progress:
While the plan seems to be for the separate Control Center and Notification Center to replace the Action Center with the Fall Creators Update, there's a long way to go before that update arrives. Microsoft may well decide not to implement the changes further; but even if they make it into future Insider Preview builds, their design and implementation could change considerably - or be removed entirely - before the Fall Creators Update is released, based on feedback from the Windows Insider community.
Source: Windows Central