Windows 11 leak suggests Microsoft is making some big changes

Windows 11 looks set to get some exciting new features in upcoming updates, with a leak emerging that apparently shows off Microsoft’s plans.

As Neowin reports, the leak comes courtesy of Albacore, a Twitter account that's well known for leaking Windows features. In a series of Tweets we were given a glimpse of what are claimed to be some of changes Microsoft is making to Windows 11.

The first is a new ‘Stickers’ feature for Windows 11. Users will be able to edit stickers and add them to the desktop. These stickers can be placed over your desktop wallpaper, and will apparently remain there if you change wallpapers – though Albacore suggests this feature won’t work if you use a slideshow as your background, or if you have multiple monitors.

It’s also not currently clear if these ‘Stickers’ will be purely decorative, or if they could offer some sort of functionality, such as displaying the date and time.

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More changes

Changes are also said to be coming to how notifications are shown in Windows 11. This appears to be an area where Microsoft struggles, as notifications in both Windows 10 and Windows 11 haven’t worked as well as many had hoped, with the notifications either being too distracting, or not distracting enough (and easily missed).

According to Albacore, there will be a new ‘Set priority notifications’ setting, which should hopefully give users more control over what notifications they get. Focus Assist, which is a quick setting for turning off or minimizing notifications, is also getting a new name – it’ll just be known as ‘Focus’.

There will also be new options for the ‘Focus’ setting, allowing you to hide badges on taskbar apps (and stop them flashing) and mute notifications. The aim of this mode is to minimize distractions so you can keep focused on the task at hand.

A new ‘Sustainability’ page is also being added to the Settings app. This will allow you to manage the power settings of your device so that it runs more efficiently, and there's also a link to information about how to safely recycle your device.

The page also has leaf-shape icons, and these look like the'll be used to give your device a rating for how energy-efficient it is.

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It also looks like some form of ‘tablet mode’ will come to Windows 11 that automatically hides the Taskbar when you use your device as a tablet (for example when using a 2-in-1 laptop in its tablet configuration).

It’s not clear when these new features will appear in Windows 11, if indeed they appear at all, but as some have been spotted in early builds it's possible that we could see them in Windows 11’s upcoming major update, known as Sun Valley 2, which is likely to come out in the second half of 2022.

Analysis: tweaks are welcome – but don’t forget the bigger stuff

Assuming this leak proves to be the real deal, these new features would broadly be welcome. While we’re not too sure how useful the Stickers feature will be, giving users more control over notifications, and information on how they can make their device run more efficiently, would certainly be great additions to Windows 11.

However, while it’s nice to get new features and performance tweaks, we don’t want Microsoft to take its eye off the bigger picture. There are still a few things it needs to iron out in Windows 11, including some vital missing features – such as the facility to drag and drop files onto apps pinned to the Taskbar – and we’d like Microsoft to prioritize addressing these issues, rather than worrying about cosmetic changes.

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Oops! Apple helps leak the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus earbuds

After revealing software appeared on Apple’s App Store, Samsung confirmed that a new-and-improved version of its true wireless earbuds, called the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, will be launching soon.

While it was live only briefly, the iOS app’s page noted that the upcoming 'buds are compatible with the iPhone 7 and newer as long as they're all running iOS 10 or higher. Samsung confirmed in a statement that the company is "excited to introduce Galaxy Buds+ soon," according to CNET

Given that Samsung Unpacked 2020 is coming February 11, and that the original Samsung Galaxy Buds launched at Unpacked 2019 alongside the Samsung Galaxy S10, we’re betting ‘soon’ to mean at this year’s event where we’re expecting to get our first look at the Samsung Galaxy S20. Heck, we even heard the Buds Plus will come free with the new flagship smartphone.

Unfortunately, the app page did not reveal anything about the true wireless earbuds beyond a photo, though the presence of the iOS app means iPhone owners will have more control over the Galaxy Buds Plus (like updating software) than before. Luckily, a specs leak just dropped.

Galaxy Buds Plus leak: more battery, smaller size?

Hours after news broke about Samsung’s official confirmation of the Galaxy Buds Plus, noted leaker Evan Blass tweeted out a spec sheet comparing the original models with the new ones. Best of all: they're allegedly only $ 20 more (around £15 /  AU$ 29) than the original model.

Assuming the leak is true, the Galaxy Buds Plus will have nearly twice the battery life (11 hours, with an additional 11 hours in the case) and will charge faster (recharging for 3 minutes gives an hour of playtime) than the originals. 

They’ll allegedly pack a two-way dynamic speaker (woofer + tweeter), an extra outer microphone, and have additional Spotify interaction with the outside touch pad. 

That’s a lot to boast, though the spec sheet didn’t mention whether noise cancelling –  a key feature in the AirPods Pro – would be coming to the new version. Sadly, rumors anticipate it won’t. 

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