One of the things Windows 10 users often complain about is that most of the OS’s UI and feature set haven’t changed much over the past five years.
In comparison, its biggest rival macOS 11 Big Sur has added tons of UI improvements in a single go that are visible to the naked eye.
According to Windows Central’s Zac Bowden, that might change soon as Microsoft is working on a new project called Sun Valley that would introduce significant UI changes next year with the October 2021 Update.
The said changes are expected to arrive in the Start Menu, Action Center, File Explorer, and Tablet Mode on Windows 10. However, little is known regarding what exact features and changes project Sun Valley will bring on to the table.
It’s suggested that the new Windows 10 Sun Valley updates will be in line with what Microsoft is planning for Windows 10X. However, everything will be optimized for the desktop experience. So far, much of the design changes we have seen in the name of Fluent Design are mostly minor tweaks.
Microsoft is expected to bring dark mode support to older parts of the OS. It may also implement the WinUI across the entire Windows Shell and built-in apps to bring subtle design changes. The company may also choose to go for rounded corners for app windows.
ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley has also confirmed the existence of the Windows 10 Sun Valley project. According to her report, internal documents describe the 2021 fall release of Windows 10 as “Windows 10++,” which could be a reference to the Sun Valley codename.
Building on existing Windows 10
One thing to note is that Sun Valley updates wouldn’t be a drastic shift as we saw in the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 8. Also, it’s said that the changes will be optional to the users who will be able to opt-out of the new experience.
As per reports, Microsoft might give Sun Valley a green signal by the end of June 2021, which is the end of the Windows 10 ‘Cobalt’ development semester (January to June). If that happens, the features might roll out in the second half of 2021 with the 21H2 update.
However, no early announcement has been made yet, and the company may choose to delay Sun Valley further or even scrap it.
Microsoft usually focuses on a minor feature update in the second half, but past reports have suggested that Remond might push only one Windows 10 feature update per year. This could lead to the company skipping the 21H1 update that usually gets all the limelight.
The Windows 10X for single screen PCs, which is expected to get RTM status in December and arrive in Spring next year, might affect regular Windows 10 updates.