Is there no future for blockbuster OS releases? If not, Microsoft has a plan, Windows Blue will evolve the current Windows desktop as a regularly updated platform beyond mere Service Packs.
For all the hype, the Windows 8 launch has come and gone without the staggering impact that previous OS events had on the PC universe. Since the PC is now just part of the furniture, along with endless other gadgets, our earth remained unshattered and minds unboggled by the arrival of some pretty new tiles.
Perhaps its the huge wave of previews and pre-releases that the Internet-age has brought us, but the surprise has gone, and the features are now expected, or even derided, long before launch. So, Microsoft has a plan to address this shift in expectations to something a little less revolutionary, and a little more in tune with our fast-upgrade lifestyle.
Windows Blue takes the iterative approach of OS X's cat-themed updates and plasters them over the PC in regular cycles, but beyond traditional Service Pack updates. Perhaps we'll see Windows 9 coming in five-or-so years as a super-update packing features to move computing onto those Minority Report screens our inner-geeks all crave.
Windows 8 is already competitively priced to get users upgrading, and with 40 million licenses sold already is well on its way. But there will be little appetite from anyone to accept another big update any time soon.
Instead Windows Blue, according to reports, will be a low-cost or free update, that packs in all the new features that users will be seeing other OSes and smartphones, along with new features that perhaps missed out on Windows 8.
Of course, Microsoft has to announce this first (it could be an internal project that never gets the green light) and then explain to developers if there are any big changes in the development process (presumably this is focused on Metro-style apps) and what it will mean to them.
Assuming it does see the light of day, then Windows Blue should make things easier for the user base with regular upgrades and tweaks to the UI and tiles as that experience evolves. If it meshes the desktop and mobile screens too, all the better.