Now that the dust has settled following the highly anticipated launch last week, we thought we’d summarise the Windows 11 updates and highlight what the opportunity is for partners. It has been 6 years since the launch of Windows 10, which is now the world’s most widely used PC operating system, with over 1.3 billion devices using it. Last week, Microsoft announced Windows 11, complete with a fresh new design and feature updates which will be available late 2021. Panos Panay, Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer, has described the new operating system as “the Windows that brings you closer to the things you love”.
What new features can we expect?
- A new user interface which has rounded corners, new desktop wallpapers, pastel colours and a centred Start menu and Taskbar. The Windows icon has also had a facelift and is now a simple square with four equal-sized panes. The UI feels very mac-esque and is very comparable to what we saw with the now cancelled Windows 10X project.
- Android Apps are coming to Windows via the Amazon Appstore.
- The App Store has also had a revamp, it’s now faster and is “the safest and most secure way for you to get your apps on Windows”, according to Panay.
- Widgets. You’ll be able to access these directly from the Taskbar and with the use of AI be able to personalise the content.
- Teams will be integrated directly into the Taskbar enabling you to initiate calls and meetings as well as mute yourself. This is a big move away from Skype that was bundled in to Windows 10.
- Xbox is a large part of Microsoft so it’s unsurprising that there are also some updates about PC Gaming with Windows 11. The new OS will get features like Auto HDR and DirectStorage which are found in Xbox to improve the gaming experience on PC.
- “Snap Layouts” make multi-tasking and the transition from monitor to laptop much easier. You can create collections of the apps you’re using which sit in the Taskbar and can then be max/minimised at once allowing you to switch between tasks seamlessly. It seems like a useful feature if you’re using multiple displays or a laptop connected to a monitor and ensures that the apps always open on the correct screen.
- Longer battery life. Windows 11 will deliver more performance whilst browsing the internet with Microsoft Edge. Updates will also be 40% smaller and fewer – one per year as opposed to the 2 per year with Windows 10.
What is the partner opportunity for Windows 11?
The most obvious opportunity is for ISVs and app development. Windows is the world’s most widely used operating system and Windows 11 gives ISVs the opportunity to develop, launch and sell apps on a fresh API platform.
But what about traditional MSPs and resellers?
Windows 11 provides a new platform for these partners to grow their business around the message of digital transformation. It can accelerate device refresh through showcasing the benefits of modern hardware on Windows 11, and in leveraging Windows and Microsoft 365 solutions and tools partners are in the best position to deliver recurring and scalable cloud based services whilst ensuring the delivery of zero-trust ready services to their customers.
When can I get it?
The upgrade will begin rolling out to all new and compatible PCs in late 2021 – likely November/ December time. If you want to try an early version, you can access it starting this week through the Windows Insider Program.