updated 07:25 pm EDT, Wed June 1, 2011
Microsoft shows Windows 8 UI for first time
Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky at his D9 speech showed the tablet-native interface of Windows 8 for the first time. Borrowing heavily from the tile-based interface of Windows Phone 7, it can show a user's apps as well as live widget-like tiles, contacts and other data. Everything is intended to be very easily readable and used entirely with finger touch and gestures.
A prominent "Store" icon has confirmed Microsoft's plans to copy Apple and introduce a Windows app store. Sinofsky in talking to AllThingsD acknowledged that the iPad had shown Microsoft things that it needed to do for tablets, including both a way of distributing apps through a store as well as having an interface truly designed for touch and creating a streamlined developer model.
Many of these plans were in the framework since July 2009, before Apple had even showed the iPad, Sinofsky claimed.
The OS is also expected to continue the trend set by Windows 7 and lighten the requirements versus its predecessor. Its approach would not only let Atom-based tablets run Windows 8 smoothly but make sure that ARM-based systems would run smoothly. Existing apps would 'just run' on Intel-based devices, Microsoft said.
Sinofsky wouldn't confirm the release date, but Windows 8 is expected to ship in late 2012. Officially, it will reach its next major milestone in September for the Build conference. A final release "won't be this fall," he said.