Earlier speculation that Microsoft was departing from the three-year Windows update cycle has turned out to be true. In an official blog post, Microsoft announced that “Windows 11 24H2” will be the major update in 2024, pushing the expected release of Windows 12 to 2025 or later.
Microsoft subtly revealed this strategic change in the changelog of the recent Windows 11 Insider Preview Build. The changelog states:
“Starting with build 26-xx today, Windows insiders on the Canary and Developer channels will see an update in Settings, System, About (and winver) to version 24H2. This means that Windows 11, version 24H2 will be this year’s annual feature update. As mentioned, Windows 11 will have an annual feature update cycle that will be released in the second half of the calendar year.”
The company has now made a clear commitment to release one annual update for Windows 11, scheduled for the second half of each year. This marks a shift from the smaller, more frequent “Moments” updates of the past.
This decision may be due to Microsoft’s concern about the increasing fragmentation of the user base. Windows 10 continues to hold a dominant 66% market share, while Windows 11 lags behind at 28%. The introduction of Windows 12 in 2024 could further divide the Windows ecosystem, which Microsoft probably wants to avoid.
Instead, users can expect significant AI-powered features and other improvements in the Windows 11 24H2 update. The exact details of what these AI features will be have not yet been disclosed, but we can expect more details to emerge in the coming months.
However, previously rumored concepts, such as the redesigned desktop interface with a “floating taskbar” that is a feature of Windows 12, will not come to fruition in the near future. Therefore, a significant visual update of Windows is unlikely until 2025.
In terms of release dates, Windows 11 24H2 builds will ship to manufacturers (RTM) in April 2024. General availability is tentatively expected sometime between September and October 2024.
Let us know what you think. Are you frustrated with the Windows 12 delay?