The Windows 8 release date is nearly here, and Microsoft has just sent out invitations to a press event that is likely to detail the operating system's new features. The company has been developing its new OS for quite some time, and now the upgraded software is finally ready for its public unveiling.
"You're invited to celebrate. Windows 8. Please save the date: Thursday, October 25 New York City," the rhyming invitation reads.
The vague invitation does not specify a time or location. It also does not explicitly say that it will be the official Windows 8 release, but that is heavily implied.
This is the second press event that the company will host this fall. Microsoft held a joint keynote on Sept. 5 with Nokia to announce two new Windows Phone 8 handsets, the Lumia 920 and the Lumia 820. The former is a higher-end device with specs that outshine the iPhone 4S, while the Lumia 820 is a subdued, less expensive variation of that Windows Phone 8-enabled smartphone.
Apple last week held its flagship fall press event where it unveiled the highly anticipated iPhone 5. Like Microsoft, Apple is rumored to hold another keynote next month to make announcements that were suspiciously left out of its Sept. 5 event, such as an iPad Mini unveiling, the announcement of rumored 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pros and Mountain Lion OS X updates and bug fixes.
If this rumored event becomes a reality, the two rival companies will be taking a similar approach when it comes to announcing their next-generation hardware and software: one press event for a flagship smartphone debut in early September and a separate one in October for software and tablet unveilings.
In addition to Windows Phone 8 handsets, the Redmond, Wash.-based company is expected to release its Surface tablet this fall. No price has been announced yet, but Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently alluded to a price range of between $300 and $700 as the "sweet spot" for high-end tablets when speaking to The Seattle Times.
The rollout of Windows 8 is more than just an update; it marks a new chapter for the tech giant, a chance that the company had to take in order to stay relevant in a rapidly evolving mobile culture. The operating system represents a rebranding and overhaul in the classic and clean interface that Windows users have come to know.
The mobile-centric update will feature a touch-screen interface with apps displayed in a tile format across the Home screen. This was formerly labeled as the Windows 8 "Metro" interface, but the name was recently scrapped and the new layout is simply referred to as the "new Windows 8 UI." This is a transition that is already present across Microsoft products, such as the Xbox 360 interface, which lays out apps and menu options in a similar manner.
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