Next week, Microsoft will hold another event that will focus on the new features of Windows 11 for hybrid work. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Windows & Devices head Panos Panay are expected to speak at the presentation.
So, what should we expect from the upcoming event?
Announcement of the first functional update for Windows 11
Microsoft is currently testing the next version of Windows 11 (22H2) among WIndows Insider members on the Dev and Beta channels, although there has been no official announcement of the new version of the system yet. The April event is great for showing off new features that are already being tested by Insiders. In particular, the company can talk about improvements in File Explorer, the Notification Center, new touch gestures, productivity innovations, security improvements, performance improvements, and so on.
This event is also intended for corporate customers, to whom Microsoft will try to “sell” its vision of Windows 11. The company will probably spend a lot of time talking about how well Windows 11 is suitable for enterprises through improved security features and new Group Policy capabilities.
In addition, Microsoft can talk about several new features in Windows 11 that are not yet available to members of the WIndows Insider program. Let’s talk about them in a little more detail.
Microsoft is working on a new smart feature called “Suggested Actions” that will give you quick access to common tasks when copying dates, times, and phone numbers to the clipboard. For example, if you copy a date or time from a Word document or website, the system will offer you a quick action to create a calendar event using that data. And when you copy the phone number, you will be prompted to create a new contact in Outlook.
New Outlook client
It is likely at this event that Microsoft will announce the new Outlook desktop client, which is being developed under the code name “Project Monarch” but also known as “One Outlook”. The app is expected to eventually replace the current preinstalled Mail and Calendar app in Windows 11, but the company is unlikely to take such a drastic step right away. Most likely, the new app will be pre-installed alongside the old UWP app so that users can gradually migrate to the new client.
“Project Monarch” is web-based, so the interface of the application will be the same on both Windows and macOS. Testing of the application should begin in the coming weeks, so an announcement on April 5 looks very likely.
Tabs in File Explorer
In the latest Insider builds of Windows 11, Microsoft added an early implementation of the tabbed interface in File Explorer. This feature is designed to make it easier to manage and organize your files, as you can open multiple folders at once in a single File Explorer window.
Note that macOS and many Linux distributions have supported this feature for a long time, so it’s really time for Microsoft to bring it to Windows. However, it is not yet known whether the company is ready to talk about the tabbed interface now, or whether this feature is planned for next year.
Third Party Widgets
Of course, the audience of this event is not very suitable for a detailed story about this feature, but Microsoft can still talk about when third-party developers will be able to create and publish their own widgets. Currently, the Widgets panel in Windows 11 can host only a small number of Microsoft-developed widgets, most of which are not of interest to enterprise customers.
Details about the development of widgets for Windows 11, of course, will be revealed as part of the developer conference Build 2022, which will be held from May 24 to 26.
Microsoft 365 subscriptions are also likely to be discussed at the event. For example, the company has long planned to bring the Play My Emails feature to Outlook on the web, and this event is great for the announcement.
Of course, we should also talk about a new service. Microsoft Loopwhere users can create versatile canvases with the ability to host various items that sync with Microsoft 365.
At this event, Microsoft may also introduce new devices, although the likelihood of this is rather small. At the moment, the company has only the Surface Laptop Go 2 ready for launch. The first generation of the device was a hit with corporate customers, but the company is unlikely to take the time to talk about a small update to the device.
The Surface Laptop Go 2 is expected to differ from the first generation only with 11th generation Intel processors. No other changes to the device are expected. Even if the laptop isn’t unveiled on April 5th, it will still be announced in the coming weeks as it’s pretty much ready to go.
The Windows Powers the Future of Hybrid Work event will take place on April 5 at 18:00 Moscow time.