If Microsoft has yet to reveal what’s coming in the next Windows 10 update (21H1) coming in the first half of 2021, a recent report from Windows Central revealed that Microsoft was working on “Sun Valley,” a big Windows 10 redesign effort that could make its debut later this year with the 21H2 update. Well, a recent Microsoft job listing for a Senior Software Engineer spotted by Windows Latest seemed to have confirmed this redesign work.
The job listing has since been edited to only mention “experiences that ensure Windows is a great user experience for our customers”, but this is what was in the original description:
“On this team, you’ll work with our key platform, Surface, and OEM partners to orchestrate and deliver a sweeping visual rejuvenation of Windows experiences to signal to our customers that Windows is BACK and ensure that Windows is considered the best user OS experience for customers.”
Since Chief Hardware Office Panos Panay became the new head of both Windows client and hardware at Microsoft last year, the exec promised that the company was "going to accelerate innovation in Windows 10 to ensure that Windows devices are the best way to work, learn and play.” While we saw very little results of this renewed effort this year, it seems that all the redesign work that Microsoft has been doing on the upcoming Windows 10X will eventually benefit the now 5 years old Windows 10.
After Apple gave macOS a big design overhaul last year with the Big Sur update, it will be interesting to see if Panos Panay will be able to leave its mark on Windows 10 just like Jony Ive, the former Apple designer did on iOS in the past decade. Five years after its release, Windows 10 still looks a bit unfinished with many legacy components such as Control Panel still coexisting with a brand new Settings app. If Microsoft has been trying to polish its desktop OS with the introduction of Fluent Design in recent years, we hope that Sun Valley will go beyond transparency effects and rounded corners to finally get rid of all the persisting design inconsistencies.