With the second quarter in sights, tech watchers are scanning the horizon for signals of new products. The Windows 10 launch is something we are watching intently, not only because we sell Windows 10 software and licensing, but because it affects pricing on a lot of the OEM hardware that we carry—new desktop PCs, laptops, and tablet PCs especially. Naturally, the tech media is abuzz reporting facts, and also things that are, well, almost facts.
One thing that we can confirm for sure is that Windows 10 will be available as a free upgrade for users of supported Windows operating systems (read: not Windows XP) for one full year after the Windows 10 launch. If you are run Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 you are good to go for a free upgrade.
For a rundown all the other confirmed-by-Microsoft Windows 10 information, check here: Microsoft Briefing: Windows 10 Free for Windows 7 and 8.1 Users, and Other Takeaways.
If you want to play with a beta version of Windows 10 yourself, it is pretty simple to deploy virtually. Find a walkthrough here: How to Test Drive Windows 10 in Windows 7 or Windows 8.1
Now let’s take a look at six of the most exciting yet plausible almost-facts about the Windows 10 launch.
Windows 10 Launch is in July
Background: “Well-informed sources” tell Fudzilla we will see Windows 10 available for retail in July—earlier than the previously-rumored October release. Fudzilla does not indicate whether their sources said Release to Manufacture (RTM) will ship before July or not.
Likelihood: Moderate to high. It is a business goal that makes a lot of sense for Microsoft. Back to school with Windows 10? Yes, please
Surface Pro 4 and Windows 10 launch on the same day
Source: Design & Trend
Background: Windows 10 is built for the hybrid device with its touch-when-you-need-it UI, so tech prognosticators naturally lump together the OS with Microsoft’s follow-up to Surface Pro 3. With signs pointing to a back-to-school launch for Windows 10, why wouldn’t Microsoft pair it with its premier back to school device? Rumors of a Broadwell CPU under the hood have begun to, ahem, surface as well.
Likelihood: High. Go big or go home feels like Microsoft’s mantra under CEO Satya Nadella. They are suddenly exciting to watch.
Windows 10 devices will support facial recognition
Source: Seattle Times
Background: Both Nadella and UI executive Joe Belifiore mentioned Windows 10 will support tighter security that includes fingerprint scans. In December, Nadella told shareholders he was “optimistic” about facial recognition; the recent Windows Hello announcement further hints that MS is working with hardware manufactures to pull off facial recognition.
Likelihood: High—probably after launch, though. It depends on how fast hardware manufacturers can develop products to support the technology.
Windows 10 Marks the Death of Internet Explorer
Source: ABC News
Background: We got a look at the new Microsoft browser, codenamed Spartan, at the Windows 10 previews. It looks to be the heir apparent, which has many publications shaking its death rattle.
Likelihood: Low. The IEBlog notes the obits are premature and advised keeping IE current. If you have apps that run in IE, rest assured—the browser looks like it will be around for a while.
GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD will work in one PC
Source: Windows Central, Tom’s Hardware
Background: DirectX 12, the graphics API included with the launch of Windows 10, will have a feature called Explicit Asynchronous Multi-GPU, which will allow two or more GPUs combine resources for hardcore gaming or animation applications.
Likelihood: High. Call it wishful thinking.
OEM PCs with Windows 10 pre-installed will not be able to boot other operating systems
Source: Ars Technica
Background: Machines pre-installed Windows 8 were required to support a feature called UEFI Secure Boot, which protects against malware but also blocks alternate operating systems. Windows 8 had a workaround where in this featured can be turned off; rumor has it that this will not be the case this time.
Likelihood: Moderate. This will probably depend on hardware manufacturers. Ars Technica reports that OEMs will have the option to turn off or leave on Secure Boot.
Tell us your favorite almost-facts about the Windows 10 launch in the comments.