A couple of tech blogs in Germany leaked a number of screenshots of the next version of Windows, often codenamed "Windows Threshold" or "Windows 9." Paul Thurrott, the authority on all things Microsoft, has a rundown and analysis on each of the 22 screenshots on his blog. Some quick tidbits I pulled away and looking forward to:
An updated start menu combining both Windows 7 and Windows 8 "Modern UI" elements (pictured above). It's gotten to the point in Windows 8 where I don't ever use the Windows key anymore, and dread the moment when I accidentally press it since I'm jolted out of my desktop view into the Modern UI view which I hardly ever use.
Running Modern UI apps in a windowed mode on the desktop. I use a couple of Modern UI apps when I need to, but it becomes annoying as I need to also work with traditional desktop applications at the same time. Try switching quickly between a Modern UI app and a desktop app. It's annoying.
Virtual desktops. Finally Microsoft is joining the virtual desktop crowd and adding it in to, at least, the technical preview of Windows. I first understood and learned the necessity of virtual desktops under various flavors of Linux, and when Apple eventually implemented the functionality into OS X I wondered how I got by without it on my Mac. Now I can't wait for the next version of Windows to come soon enough!
Paul makes a note that "There is no Windows codename or version number listed." This can imply that the next version of Windows, as previously rumored, will just be called "Windows" and not "Windows 9" or something else.
It's also important to note that, since this is a technical preview, some UI elements may be changed before the final release of the next version of Windows. With an expected ship date of April, 2015, a lot of changes can still be made.