Panos Panay is pumped for the "next generation of Windows"

Panos Panay staring longingly into the distance

Today was the first day of Microsoft's spring 2021 Ignite conference, and in a brief, 14-minute fireside chat, Chief Product Officer Panos Panay and CVP and Product Manager Roanne Sones sat down to talk about Windows for a bit. Unfortunately, there's not much that they actually talked about.

Panay did tease the "next generation of Windows" and say that he's pumped about it, but he also said that that's not for this event. In fact, one thing that was left unsaid is that Microsoft is actually planning a Windows-focused event. Here's what was said (thanks to transcription by Windows Central):

Windows is such an important platform, for connecting people, helping people be as productive as they possibly can be. It is the heart beat right now of what is modern work. It really is, just take a step back. But it's also the heart beat of what we do every day in our lives. It's familiar, it's intuitive, it adapts to you. These are really important elements.

This is a product right now that more than a billion people all over the world are relying on every day, to work, to learn ... and ultimately to create. And that's what this is about, how we continue to see where technology can take us versus what it does for us today and where is it that we will be and how can technology be there for you, Windows is the core of that.

It's there to light up Microsoft 365 experiences, it's there to light up the devices for OEMs, but most importantly like we talked about it's there for people to connect, create, and ultimately be productive as they need to. We have new features coming—here I got to tell you this—look and I haven't talked about the next generation of Windows and what's coming next, but I can tell you I am so pumped. We're not talking about that today."

... because we have so much right now, we talked about the depth of features and the breadth of what Windows can bring for each of you for IT Pros ... I know that the future of Windows is incredible, what we're bringing to the table for sure. But ultimately we're here today to talk about Windows 10 and what Windows 10 brings to the table, and how we can support our customers and partners here at Ignite.

The worst-kept secret at this point is that Microsoft actually has some big plans for Windows. Windows 10X should be set to launch this spring, arriving on entry-level devices. And while we know pretty much everything that there is to know about Windows 10X, which is coming in the spring, a big Windows 10 overhaul is coming in the fall.

That overhaul is codenamed Sun Valley, and either one of them could be what Panay was talking about when referring to the next generation of Windows. Windows 10X is mostly a new OS, shedding a lot of legacy components, so that could be considered what's going to be the next generation of the OS some day. On the other hand, Sun Valley is a major UI overhaul, a spiritual Windows 11, if you will.

More likely, of course, is that Panay is referring to both of those things as the next generation of the OS, and we'll have to wait and see what Microsoft chooses to reveal and when it chooses to do it.

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