While the next update to Windows 8.1 is set to be minor, new reports suggest that Windows 9 will see Microsoft distance itself yet more from the bold Metro styling of the current OS.
The Verge claims to be able to confirm reports that Microsoft plans to remove the Charms bar from Windows in the next iteration of the OS. That bar is a kind of overlay, used to access the Start Screen, settings and search tools; it's useful on touchscreen devices, but clumsy on desktops, as it requires some very careful cursor positioning.
Instead of trying to make it work, it seems engineers are just ditching it. According to Winbeta and The Verge, current builds of Windows 9 — codenamed Threshold — don't feature the Charms bar at all. Instead, The Verge suggests, the apps that featured in the Charms bar will just run as plain old floating applications to make things play nice with a mouse and keyboard.
The reports also suggest that the new builds feature virtual desktops. Windows users have always had to use third-party software to run virtual desktops, so the inclusion of such capabilities from the get-go would be a positive move.
That is, of course, a big would. These are still early builds of Windows 9, and there's plenty of time to change the direction in which it heads. But, sadly, a shift from the bold styling of Windows 8 does, perhaps, seem increasingly inevitable. [Winbeta, Neowin, The Verge]