Microsoft may replace the Start button with the Copilot AI in Windows 12

Windows 12 could see a substantial system redesign in order to include a more AI-centric user experience. The start button could thus be replaced with Copilot AI, which is already available as a preview version in the latest Windows 11 update.

The next major version for the Windows operating system is expected to launch sometime in 2024, and Microsoft has been dropping hints on possible new features since late last year. AI is most likely going to get a bigger focus, since Microsoft is already collaborating with OpenAI on the Copilot feature, but we could see some design changes that revolve around AI-based interactions, as well. This was suggested by MS CEO Satya Nadella during the Snapdragon X Elite presentation on october 24.

As the entire computing industry is shifting focus to support an ever increasing number of AI-powered features, Microsoft too intends to be on the forefront of the AI movement starting with extensive software support integrated right in its hero product. The latest Windows 11 version already supports a preview for Copilot AI, but, given the beta state of the feature, this is still somewhat sluggish. With better hardware support coming on processors like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite or AMD’s Hawk point, the AI interactions on Windows 12 should feel much smoother. However, Nadella mentioned that this will require “a new system architecture.”

Furthermore, according to Nadella, the upcoming OS could change the entire user experience, with Copilot somehow replacing the Start button. “The Copilot is like the Start button,” Nadella explains. “It becomes the orchestrator of all your app experiences. So for example, I just go there and express my intent and it either navigates me to an application or it brings the application to the Copilot, so it helps me learn, query and create — and completely changes, I think, the user habits.”

Right now, Copilot can launch most of the integrated applications on its own, yet it cannot access the file explorer and perform related tasks. Hopefully, Microsoft can expand the AI functions, especially the vocal commands, to support even more interactions in Windows 12.


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