For Windows 11, “the Start button is right there. It’s right in the middle of the screen. It’s not gone.”
When Windows 10 came out, Microsoft declared it would be the “last version” of the system. That has obviously changed.
“We’re in a time where there is a bit of a new era for the PC happening right now,” Mr. Panay said.
“I think Windows 11 kind of stamps that moment and it is a signal for that moment.”
Across the operating system, the design favors rounded corners and has simplified most menus and folder views. And there are new, improved options for arranging windows and “snapping” them into grids.
Widgets, a major selling point of 2007’s Windows Vista, also make a comeback – but instead of “floating” on the screen where the user puts them, they live in a sidebar on the left, and are also linked to Microsoft services.
Some changes go deeper than the interface and design.
System integrations for Microsoft Teams – replacing Skype – and the Xbox app both feature heavily in Microsoft’s advertising.
The Microsoft Store – the Windows version of an app store – has been completely redesigned and will allow third-party apps to sell inside it, without taking a substantial cut.
And one new feature which raised eyebrows in the technology world was that Windows 11 would run Android smartphone apps through the Amazon app store.