Intel Mac users: macOS Sequoia won’t give you Apple Intelligence, but you’ll still get a host of must-have features

WWDC 2024 earlier this week saw the big reveal of macOS Sequoia, and of course, Apple’s new AI platform – with the further revelation that Apple Intelligence would not be available for Mac owners with Intel CPUs running Sequoia.

While Apple had previously stated that macOS Sequoia will run on the same Mac models as macOS Sonoma, whether they had Intel or Apple CPUs, Apple Intelligence requires an M1 processor (or better) to work – and that fact likely left Intel-powered Mac owners wondering if they’d be left out in the cold with Sequoia regarding other features. Well, the good news is this isn’t the case, and in fact there are only two pieces of functionality that’ll be exclusive to Apple silicon-powered Macs.

Those are Apple Intelligence, as already mentioned, and also live audio transcription in Apple Notes is only supported for devices which have Apple silicon. This feature will enable the recording of audio right in the Notes app, and will also swiftly generate transcriptions of that audio (which are fully searchable).

Other than that, all the other features in macOS Sequoia will come to Intel Macs (and M-series Macs too, of course).

WWDC 2024 macOS Sequoia Features

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Mirroring magic and more besides

This includes the hotly anticipated iPhone Mirroring feature, allowing you to view and control your iPhone’s screen using your Mac keyboard and trackpad. On top of that, macOS 15 ushers in the ability to receive iPhone notifications on your Mac, new window layout functionality that enables you to drag and ‘snap’ windows into a grid arrangement on your screen (just as in Microsoft’s Windows OS), the Password app replacing Keychain to manage and sync passwords more easily, and an improved Safari browser.

In short, that’s a pretty good haul even if your Intel-powered Mac can’t run Apple’s new AI features. How much that’ll matter to you is doubtless a subjective thing, and it’ll also depend on how well Apple Intelligence is realized when it actually arrives – although the Mac maker is certainly putting a lot of stock in it going by the initial launch, and has some well thought out ideas behind the AI system.

As 9 to 5 Mac, which spotted this info, observes, Apple Macs with Intel CPUs have at least one more year of support with macOS.

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Windows 11 Photos and Paint apps are set for major upgrades with new AI features – but most users won’t get them

The Microsoft AI hype train is now well on its way and the next stop is Windows 11’s Photos and Paint apps getting another helping of AI integration. 

Microsoft is currently holding its Build 2024 conference, where the company has already introduced its line of new AI-focused Copilot+ PCs, including a feature called ‘Recall’ that records the activity on the PC and makes it searchable. Microsoft has also brought in an upgraded Cocreator feature for the Paint app.

Cocreator will run locally on Copilot+ PCs and make use of the more powerful NPUs (Neural Processing Units) on these devices to generate images based on text prompts that you provide. The current Paint app does have an AI-powered Image Creator feature, but it’s not the same as Cocreator. 

Cocreator is different because it will work locally on your computer and won’t need to go online to tap the computing power to generate images. Furthermore, it’ll produce images faster than Image Creator, although the latter isn’t being dropped – the two options will run side-by-side.

The new feature was demonstrated by Microsoft on a Surface Pro, showing the presenter putting in a prompt and drawing a basic outline of what they wanted the image to look like. Cocreator then used this information to generate the image based on the rough shapes that were drawn.

A screenshot showing the new Cocreator, demonstrating an image being generates from a rough drawing

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Cocreator is also shown to have a ‘Style’ dropdown menu, presumably to choose the style you’d like the image to be generated in, and a ‘Creativity’ slider.

Increasing that Creativity slider produces a higher quality image filled in with a greater level of detail, with the AI exercising its abilities more, whereas towards the lower end of the scale, the generated image sticks more closely to the rough sketch provided by the user.

The ability to experiment with styles in the Photos app

The Photos app in Windows 11 is also getting an AI boost on Copilot+ PCs in the form of a feature named ‘Restyle Image.’ This enables you to transform your own photos with preset artistic styles, for example taking a photo of your pet and making it an anime-style picture. 

There is a text box where you can enter prompts to give the feature your own specific instructions about what kind of style you’d like it to transform your photo into, and a ‘Creativity’ slider that apparently works similarly to the one in Cocreator. 

One interesting aspect that was picked up on by Windows Latest is that there doesn’t appear to be a fixed number of credits limiting the amount of times you’re able to use either feature. Both Cocreator and the ‘Restyle Image’ capabilities can be run as many times as you like locally on your PC using small language models. 

Both features will also require the PC to have a processor with a suitable NPU, so they won’t be available on all Windows PCs, including existing devices running Windows 11. This will be for laptops using the new Snapdragon X chip only, or other Copilot+ PCs with future AMD or Intel silicon.

For those keen on AI assistance, this is good news, as are the other AI tools Microsoft is introducing to Windows 11. It’ll make things that were unimaginable to most people not all that long ago easily accessible with a few clicks without even going online.

If you’re not a fan of AI-powered apps, then I can imagine this news will simply be a continuation of issues you may have with AI getting everywhere these days.

Either way, it doesn’t seem like Microsoft is going to be remotely discouraged from forging on this path, and it will continue to try and push to become the industry standard for AI-focused consumer products. 

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Microsoft might be trying to sneak Bing into one of Windows 11’s apps – and some users won’t be happy

Windows 11’s Snipping Tool is getting more useful updates in testing – though Microsoft is looking to sneak Bing into the mix here, too, by the looks of things.

The update for Snipping Tool is in the process of rolling out to testers in the Canary and Dev channels, and it comes alongside a minor update for the Paint app too, so let’s get that out of the way first (and we’ll come back to that major Bing change later).

The new version of Paint (v11.2404.42.0) comes with a small but notable tweak. Microsoft has decided its AI feature that knocks up pictures for the user upon request is no long called ‘Cocreator’ but is now ‘Image Creator.’

As for Snipping Tool, with version 11.2404.37.0, Microsoft is introducing the ability to drop emoji into screenshots, which you can move around or resize before planting them in the image.

Also new is functionality that detects QR codes in screenshots, allowing you to instantly follow where the code is linking to.

Finally, Microsoft has added the ability to change the opacity of a shape fill, and the ruler tool has returned.

Remember, this is all just in testing for now, and you can find the full details of the changes in Microsoft’s blog post.


Analysis: Bing search in the mix

Most of these Windows 11 Snipping Tool changes were spotted already, hidden in test builds, so it’s no surprise to see them formally arrive in the app. And speaking of hidden features, there’s another one that’s just been pointed out by leaker PhantomOfEarth on X (formerly Twitter).

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As mentioned at the outset, this appears to be Microsoft cramming Bing into yet another of its products by way of a ‘Visual search with Bing’ option. This is functionality that will fire up an image search, with the Bing engine, for the current screenshot. Although we don‘t know how it‘ll work yet, it could present results in-line in the app (in a panel, maybe), or more likely open the search in Edge. (Microsoft will never miss a chance to get Edge open, let‘s face it).

Although in fairness, this feature could be useful to some, others may regard it as cluttering up Snipping Tool‘s menu. At any rate, this isn’t actually in testing – it’s not rolling out yet, anyway, but the leaker suggests it likely will soon.

Regarding the change of name in Paint, Image Creator is a more direct and to the point name for the feature than Cocreator. As well as bringing it in line with Microsoft’s use of this name elsewhere, this could be read as an indication that the AI powers of Paint won’t be expanded any further than image generation. (As Cocreator kind of suggests an assistant with more sweeping powers, perhaps).

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Microsoft can be slow to cure bugs at times – but you won’t believe how long it took to fix a CPU-related glitch preventing Windows 11 upgrades

After over two years of waiting, Microsoft has finally lifted a block on some Windows 10 PCs with Intel Rocket Lake CPUs that prevented users from upgrading to Windows 11 – so those folks should now be free to migrate (should they wish).

We’re all by now familiar with Windows 11’s more onerous system requirements – which includes a stipulation for having TPM, and rules out older CPUs to boot, but Rocket Lake is contemporary silicon and officially supported by Microsoft’s newest OS. Rocket Lake is, in fact, Intel’s 11th generation, so it’s only three generations back from current 14th-gen chips (Raptor Lake Refresh).

However, as mentioned, some of those PC owners who have a Rocket Lake processor were prevented from upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11, and this was due to a compatibility issue with 11th-gen CPUs and some driver versions for Intel Smart Sound Technology (SST).

The problem is that older SST drivers could cause the PC to crash with a Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) when using Rocket Lake.

What’s really odd here is that the bug was discovered a long, long time ago – in November 2021 – and as Tom’s Hardware, which spotted this, points out, for those who had upgraded to Windows 11 and were hit by these BSoD crashes, a fix was offered up within weeks.

However, as is the case when a software or hardware compatibility issue is discovered, PCs that might run into the pinpointed gremlin are blocked from upgrading to prevent that from happening.

The trouble is Microsoft has only just lifted that block now, and finally marked the bug as resolved, almost two and a half years after this glitch was first discovered.


Analysis: Definitely not as fast as a speeding rocket

That’s not exactly moving fast, is it? And yes, the cure in this case did depend on an external source – an Intel driver update – but that was delivered in a relatively timely manner by Team Blue. As mentioned, the fix for those who’d already upgraded to Windows 11 on a Rocket Lake PC, and had run into the BSoD error, was provided not long after the issue was discovered.

So, why did it take Microsoft so long to actually get this fix delivered to Rocket Lake PCs via Windows Update, so the Windows 11 upgrade block could be removed? Well, we don’t know the answer, and the whole episode is very odd indeed. Until now, Microsoft just left the solution to this bug as pointing users to the Intel website to obtain the correct and updated drivers (rather than actually delivering them as part of Windows 10’s updates).

In case you wondering about the specifics here, the affected Intel SST driver versions are 10.29.0.5152 or 10.30.0.5152. If you’re running a PC with Rocket Lake on either of those versions, you need to upgrade to version 10.29.00.5714 or later, or 10.30.00.5714 or better, respectively.

You can now grab those versions via Windows Update – simply head there in Windows 10 and check for updates. Once installed, you should be free to upgrade to Windows 11, though not in every case – and not immediately.

Microsoft clarifies: “If your device still encounters this safeguard hold [block on upgrading to Windows 11] 48 hours after updating your drivers, it’s possible drivers for this Audio Controller [Intel SST] haven’t been developed for your specific device hardware configuration.”

So, bear in mind that even after installing the drivers, it could take up to 48 hours before you get offered the Windows 11 upgrade. However, if you aren’t offered it once you’ve waited out those two days, then you need to contact the manufacturer of your device and get them to help you on how best to proceed.

This is rather an anomaly, it has to be said – Microsoft taking such a ridiculously long time to get its house in order with a fix – and hopefully, we won’t be treated to any hold-ups quite this bad going forward.

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Windows 11’s next big update is almost ready to roll – but most people won’t get it for a long time yet

Windows 11’s next major update is coming close to completion, and in fact it’s rumored that it’ll hit its final stage of development very shortly – though its launch for all users will still be a good way down the line (we’ll come back to that).

As well-known Microsoft leaker Zac Bowden shared on X (formerly Twitter), Windows 11 24H2 is on track to hit RTM (release to manufacturing) in April.

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What this means is that the 24H2 update is ready to go to PC manufacturers so that they can work on installing it on their devices. In other words, Windows 11 24H2 is all but done at this point, save for final testing and changes that might need to be applied if PC makers run into any last-minute stumbling blocks.

Bowden mentions the ‘ge_release’ which refers to Germanium, a new platform that Windows 11 is built on with 24H2. While this won’t make any difference to the visible parts of the OS, under the hood, Germanium will offer tighter security and better overall performance.

With RTM for 24H2 happening in April, in theory, the plan is that it’ll take two months to finalize the new Windows 11 Germanium build, and it will be installed on ARM-based AI PCs when they start shipping in June.


Analysis: Clarifying the 24H2 release timeline

Note that as Bowden outlines on X, this does not mean Windows 11 24H2 (Germanium) will be released for everyone in June.

It will only be out on ARM-based laptops running Snapdragon X Elite chips (or variants) initially – like the consumer spin on the Surface Pro 10 or Surface Laptop 6. Which is why only the business models were unveiled recently – they have Intel CPUs that don’t need Germanium. Whereas the Germanium platform is actually required for these new ARM chips – which have been stoking a great deal of excitement – so this is why Microsoft is pushing it out ahead of time so as not to hold up those notebooks any longer than necessary.

As Bowden makes clear in a later tweet, Windows 11 24H2 won’t actually be ‘done’ until August, so the leaker suspects Microsoft wants to limit where Germanium is present until then.

What we can surmise from this is that while Windows 11 24H2 will be out on those mentioned AI PCs as early as June (if everything stays on schedule), not all of 24H2’s full library of features will be enabled – presumably.

Whatever the case, the full rollout of Windows 11 24H2 to all users won’t happen until after it’s fully done in August, meaning a September or October rollout to all Windows 11 users. This is the timeframe Microsoft is working to based on rumors that go back to the start of this year, in fact.

The long and short of it is that while Windows 11 24H2 may be ready for RTM next month and on the cusp of finalization technically, it won’t fully arrive until September (at the earliest). And the rollout will be phased as ever, so you might not get it on your particular Windows 11 device until several months after, which is all standard practice.

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A cheaper Meta Quest 3 might be coming, but trust me, it won’t look like the leaks

Over the past few days we’ve been treated to two separate Meta Quest 3 leaks – or more accurately, leaks for a new cheaper Quest 3 that’s either called the Meta Quest 3s or Meta Quest 3 Lite, depending on who you believe.

But while the phrase ‘where there's smoke there's fire’ can often ring true in the world of tech leaks, I’m having a really tough time buying what I’ve seen so far from the two designs.

Going in chronological order; the first to drop was a Meta Quest 3 Lite render shared by @ZGFTECH on Twitter.

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It looks an awful lot like an Oculus Quest 2 with its slightly bulkier design – perhaps because it seems to use the 2’s fresnel lens system instead of a slimmer pancake lens system like the Quest 3 – but with more rounded edges to match its namesake. 

Interestingly, it also lacks any kind of RGB cameras or a depth sensor – which for me is a massive red flag. Mixed reality is the main focus for XR hardware and software right now, so of all the downgrades to make for the Lite, removing full-color MR passthrough seems the most absurd. It’d be much more likely for Meta to give the Quest 3 Lite a worse display or chipset.

@ZGFTECH did later clarify that they aren’t saying the Quest 3 Lite lacks RGB cameras, just that their renders exclude them because they can’t reveal more “at the moment.” Though as I said before, I expect mixed reality would be a key Quest 3 Lite feature, so I’m more than a little surprised this detail is shrouded in mystery.

Then there’s the Meta Quest 3s leak. The original Reddit post has since been deleted, but copies like this Twitter post remain online.

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Just like the Meta Quest 3 Lite leaked design, this bulkier headset suggests a return to fresnel lenses. Although unlike the previous model, we see some possible RGB cameras and sensors on the front face panel. On top of this, we also get some more details about specs – chiefly that the cheaper Quest 3 could boast dual 1,832 x 1,920 pixel displays.

But while the design seems a little more likely (if a little too ugly), the leak itself is setting off my BS detectors. The first issue is that the shared images include elements of a Zoom call that might make it quite easy to determine who the leaker is. To see these early designs the leaker likely had to sign an NDA that would come with some kind of financial penalty for sharing the info, and unless they have zero care for their financial well being I would’ve expected them to be a lot more careful with what they do/don’t share lest they face the wrath of Meta’s well-funded legal team.

On top of this, some of the promotional assets seem a little off. Some of them feature the original Quest 3 rather than the new design, some of the images don’t seem super relevant to a VR gadget, plus ports and buttons seem to change positions and parts change color across various renders.

As such, I’m more than a little unconvinced that this is a genuine leak.

The Meta Quest 3 and controllers on their charging stand

(Image credit: Meta)

Meta Quest 3 Lite: fact or fiction? 

I guess the follow-up question from my skepticism over these leaks is: is a cheaper Meta Quest 3 even on the way? 

Inherently, the idea isn’t absurd. The Quest 3 may be cheaper than many other VR headsets, but at $ 499.99 / £479.99 / AU$ 799.99 it is pricier than the Quest was at launch – $ 299 / £299 / AU$ 479 – and its affordable price point is the central reason the Quest 2 sold phenomenally well.

I’ve previously estimated that the Quest 3 is selling slightly slower than its predecessor did at the same point in its lifespan, so Meta may be looking to juice its figures by releasing a cheaper model.

What’s more, while these leaks have details that leave me more than a little skeptical, the fact that we have had two leaks in such a short stretch of time leaves me feeling like there might be some validity to the rumors.

A Meta Quest 3 player sucking up Stay Puft Marshmallow Men from Ghostbusters in mixed reality using virtual tech extending from their controllers

The Quest 3 Lite needs good quality mixed reality (Image credit: Meta)

So while we can't yet say for certain it's coming, I wouldn't be surprised if Meta announced a Quest 3 Lite or S. I'm just not convinced that it’ll look like either of these leaked designs.

For me, the focus would be on having a sleek mixed reality machine – which would require full-color passthrough and pancake rather than fresnel lenses (which we have seen on affordable XR hardware like the Pico 4).

The cost savings would then come from having lower resolution displays, less storage (starting at 64GB), and having a worse chipset or less RAM than we see in the Quest 3. 

We’ll have to wait and see if Meta announces anything officially. I expect we won’t hear anything until either its Meta Quest Gaming Showcase for 2024 – which is due around June – or this year’s Meta Connect event – which usually lands around September or October.

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No, third-party iPhone app stores won’t work outside Europe – even with a VPN

After many years of Apple keeping its ecosystem firmly locked down, cracks have started to appear in its famous walled garden, with the newly released iOS 17.4 allowing third-party app stores for the first time. However, access to these is only available to users within the European Union (EU) – and don’t expect to be able to get around the restriction using a VPN.

As spotted by 9to5Mac, Apple has uploaded a new support document that outlines how it will make sure that anyone who wants to access a third-party app store is physically located inside the EU.

First, you must have an Apple ID that's set to an EU member state. As well as that, there’s a geolocation check to ensure that you're physically located in one of those countries. Apple says it doesn’t collect your actual location, only an indicator of whether you're eligible to use third-party app stores or not.

Interestingly, the geolocation aspect of Apple’s restrictions implies that even the best VPN services won’t be able to bypass them. That’s because a VPN can change your IP address to fool a server into believing that you're located in a different country, but a geolocation check happens on the device itself (usually using GPS), and therefore can't be spoofed in the same way.

Apple might use other ways to check your location, and it already has a system in place that does just this. Also as found by 9to5Mac, this system looks up things like your rough location (on a nation level, not your exact location), your Apple ID billing address, the region you are using in the Settings app, and the type of device you’re using.

The app stores are coming

The App Store on a phone screen

(Image credit: Shutterstock / BigTunaOnline)

Apple says that you will be able to access alternative app stores if you leave the EU for a brief “grace period,” but warns that if you’re “gone for too long, you’ll lose access to some features, including installing new alternative app marketplaces.” Apps you’ve installed will still work, but you won’t be able to update them. The company hasn’t said how long the grace period is.

Alternative app stores have only just been permitted, but one is already available to download. Called the Mobivention App Marketplace, this store is aimed at corporate customers who want a outlet for distributing their own business-focused apps. Other providers, like MacPaw, Epic Games and AltStore, have said they’ll be launching their own app stores soon.

Apple didn’t give a reason for why it's going so far to ensure that only EU citizens can access third-party app stores, but one reason could be to clamp down on the idea spreading to users in other nations. For one thing, Apple has repeatedly said that third-party app stores to which access is being enforced by the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) could be unsafe.

As well as that, they also represent a potential threat to Apple’s revenues – just one look at Apple’s onerous fees for developers who use third-party app stores shows you how worried Apple must be. While the company is being forced to open up in the EU, no other jurisdiction has followed suit, so it seems likely that Apple wants to contain the spread of alternative app stores as much as it can.

If you’re located inside the EU, you’ll be able to try out these new app stores pretty much straight away. If you’re not, all you can do is wait to see if Apple is forced to open up elsewhere.

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Microsoft reveals next evolution of Windows – and it won’t be Windows 12

Microsoft has confirmed that the next update for Windows, Windows 11 version 24H2, is indeed coming later this year. While it’s good to know that Microsoft is planning a major update for Windows 11, the news will be disappointing to anyone who was hoping for an imminent release of Windows 12, the rumored next generation of the Windows operating system (OS). We expect Windows 11 24H2 to arrive around September or October, and will continue Microsoft’s focus on developing the AI-aided user experience and quality of life upgrades that the company has been so keen on pushing lately. 

This does mean that we can put any expectations of a Windows 12 to bed, at least until after the second half 2024. Many people were convinced that Windows 11’s successor was coming sooner rather than later because of the heavy emphasis on next-generation AI features and experiences. This rumored release was code-named Hudson Valley, and it’s anticipated to get an official announcement mid-2024, and start rolling out in the latter half of 2024. 

A leaked screenshot of a possible Windows 12 OS mockup.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Straight from the horse's mouth (or rather, blog)

According to Windows Central, this confirmation of Windows’ annual major feature update comes to us from a Windows 11 preview build changelog published on February 8, 2024. Microsoft writes: 

“Starting with Build 26-xx today, Windows Insiders in the Canary and Dev Channels will see the versioning updated under Settings > System > About (and winver) to version 24H2. This denotes that Windows 11, version 24H2 will be this year’s annual feature update.”

Windows 11 24H2 will still absolutely be worth updating to as Microsoft is currently one of the leaders in the personal computing space that’s actively pursuing and developing AI user assistance. We’ve seen evidence of this with Microsoft’s enthusiastic debut and continued campaign to bring Windows Copilot, its digital AI assistant that’s even getting its own keyboard button, to users. New AI features will make use of recently-manufactured devices’ cutting-edge processors from manufacturers like AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm, who have all recently released (or at least announced) new chips with dedicated support for artificial intelligence.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 sustained graphics performance Ziad Asghar Snapdragon Summit 2022

(Image credit: Future / Alex Walker-Todd)

What's the hold up with Windows 12?

There are multiple speculated reasons for why Microsoft is currently sticking to Windows 11 instead of moving on. One such suggestion is  that Microsoft is reluctant to split its PC user base even more with a third major Windows version on the market. Its user base is already somewhat split with many users preferring to stick to Windows 10 (reportedly outnumbering Windows 11 users more than twofold). 

Meanwhile, Windows Central suggests multiple (very reasonable) reasons why Microsoft is currently sticking to Windows 11. First off, Windows’ and Surface’s former leader, Panos Panay, has departed Microsoft. Panay has headed up the Surface team since its inception, and led the development of Windows since 2020. 

It’s a major change-up for Microsoft internally, and along with Windows 10’s continued widespread popularity, the company is probably somewhat hesitant to release Windows 12 during this period. Microsoft is planning to end support for Windows 10 in 2025 to have a better chance of consolidating its user base, and it’s probably waiting at least until then to introduce Windows 12. 

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Did we just catch our first glimpse of Windows 12? If so, we won’t get the new OS until 2025

We might have just caught our first glimpse of Windows 12, although we can’t be sure about that – but what we do know is that Microsoft is making a big change with test builds of Windows.

XenoPanther on X (formerly Twitter) noticed that the internal Canary versions of Windows 11 – those in the earliest testing channel, in other words – were just forked with a new build 27547 coming into play.

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The most recent Canary channel build is version 26040 as you may be aware if you follow these preview releases (which comes with a new Voice Clarity feature to improve video chats).

So, now we have builds in the 26XXX range and also the 27XXX range, prompting the obvious question: Is the latter Windows 12 in its first test phase? Let’s discuss that in more depth next.


Analysis: I’m giving her all she’s got, Captain!

As Zac Bowden, the well-known Microsoft leaker (of Windows Central fame) points out, the likelihood here is that the next release of Windows is the 26XXX branch, which is currently rumored (by Bowden) to be Windows 11 24H2 coming later this year.

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That means the 27XXX preview versions could be the next incarnation of Windows after that, the one arriving in 2025 (and these builds probably won’t go into testing with Windows Insiders for some time yet). Hence the (tentative) conclusion that this might be Windows 12, or an all-new Windows, whatever it may be called.

(Although we should further note that technically, Windows 11 24H2 will be all-new. Not the front-end mind, but the underlying foundations – it will be built on a new platform known as Germanium, which will offer considerable performance and security benefits deep under the hood).

At any rate, this pretty much underlines the idea that Windows 12 (or next-gen Windows, whatever the final name) is not coming this year, and will probably arrive next year. After all, Windows 10 gets ditched in 2025, so it makes some sense that a new OS comes in as one shuffles out the exit door (in October 2025 to be precise).

As we’ve discussed before, one of the dangers of bringing in Windows 12 this year is that the move would fragment the desktop user base into three camps, which is clumsy and a headache for organizing updates. So that scenario is neatly avoided if Windows 12 doesn’t turn up until 2025.

As a side note, Microsoft has codenames for its OS development semesters, and the next one should have been arsenic – but due to it being perceived as “scary and violent” Bowden tells us, the software giant has avoided it, and is instead using the codename Dilithium. Which is pretty cool for Star Trek fans (maybe Duranium will be next in line when another unsuitable real-world element pops up).

Via Neowin, Deskmodder

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Apple Vision Pro won’t have Netflix, Spotify, or YouTube at launch – is the headset already doomed as a media player?

Although excitement is building for the release of the Apple Vision Pro mixed-reality headset (pre-orders are now live), potential users will have to do without not just YouTube or Spotify, but Netflix as well. While Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus (obviously) are guaranteed to be available right out of the box, we do have to question if you’ll be able to take advantage of the headset's cinematic qualities without these three media giants.

While some streaming competitors are rushing to embrace the Apple Vision Pro (including Peacock, ESPN, and Paramount Plus), Netflix and YouTube seem to be playing the waiting game, and when the headset launches Apple Vision Pro users will have to access their respective services through the Safari browser (which has it's own Vision Pro version) rather than via dedicated apps. According to a report from Bloomberg, Netflix is the latest to confirm that it won’t be offering a visionOS app.

YouTube in particular is quite the omission considering that it is probably the best place to find immersive content, especially videos tailored to the VR experience capabilities of the Vision Pro. The videos available on the platform may not be as refined and curated as the content you can find on Netflix or Disney Plus, but it’s a media platform used by many people almost daily and leaves the headset feeling somewhat empty without it – more so now that Netflix is joining in abstaining from visionOS.

All work and no play? 

It’s a troubling start for Apple’s big foray into mixed reality. After all, if you’re sitting down to use a headset that cost you $ 3,499 but you have to pull up Safari and start typing away on your connected MacBook just to watch a video or an episode of your favourite Netflix show, is it really worth the money? Using Safari is a clunky workaround at best.

There are almost certainly multiple factors at play behind the scenes here. Netflix and Apple do have a rather strained relationship at the best of times. Netflix has historically had issues with Apple’s App Store revenue sharing, with this contention definitely not helped by the arrival of Apple TV. Another likely reason we aren’t seeing Netflix jump at the opportunity to produce a visionOS app is simply that it has little faith in Apple’s headset. 

In fact, you could argue that the streaming service has so little faith in the Vision Pro that it’s not even willing to modify a version of the Netflix iPadOS app to work on the new platform (not unlike how Instagram on iPadOS is just a scaled-up version of the iOS app). Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify are likely waiting to see how the headset is received before they any dedicate time and money to developing apps for it.  As someone who’s been skeptical of the headset since it was announced, I can’t help but feel more than a little vindicated by this – it’s not just me observing from the sidelines with very little confidence in Apple’s big plans. 

I mean, the Nintendo Switch came out in 2017 and that has a dedicated YouTube app (the Nintendo 3DS had one as well!) so if a nearly seven-year-old console can have a dedicated app for the world’s biggest video-streaming platform but this futuristic headset can’t, that really doesn’t look good for Apple. 

Ultimately, we can only speculate as to why exactly these big media companies are so hesitant, but one reason may be the way the headset has been marketed. Apple has from the jump advertised the Vision Pro as this incredibly immersive media experience device that will put you right in the middle of the action, but the fact that it’s called a Vision Pro – and the sky-high price tag – does give off the impression it's more for enterprise users. Could this case of confused identity be the reason behind this very visible display of hesitancy? 

As of yet, there’s no sign of when, if ever, we could expect a dedicated visionOS app to come from Netflix, YouTube, or Spotify. It’s likely we’ll have to wait and see how well the Vision Pro sells when it launches to have an idea of whether or not we actually will get these apps – if it does prove successful, they won’t have a choice but to commit.

If this hasn’t completely dampened your excitement for the Apple Vision Pro, there’s still quite a lot to look forward to regardless. While it’s mostly still on the more business-focused side of things, we now have a clear list of apps confirmed for the Vision Pro – including Slack, Display Plus, Zoom, Microsoft 365, Safari, and many more to come. And after all, if it truly is meant to be an enterprise device, would it even need a Netflix app?

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