We’ve been hearing rumors for a while now about a significant visual update planned for Windows 10 in 2021 under the codename “Sun Valley.” These rumors got a little extra steam this morning, when Windows Latest Reporter Mayank Parmar discovered a job advertisement from Microsoft made in October that offered potential senior software engineer hires an opportunity to “deliver a comprehensive visual rejuvenation of Windows experiences to signal [that] Windows is BACK. “
Shortly after Parmar published a report on the listing, Microsoft edited it to remove the interesting pieces – it now reads as a standard program list for software engineers, and provides the ability to “build wonderful, polished experiences for Windows” without saying anything about changes coming to Windows.
What we know about Sun Valley so far
It is rumored that Sun Valley is a major UI code overhaul that is expected to land in Windows 10 21H2 – the building that will fall in the second half of 2021. To be clear, the “rumored” part means exactly what it says – so far it is only rumors, with several sources, but no confirmation from Microsoft.
WindowsCentral’s Zac Bowden published a piece about the Sun Valley in October, with information mysteriously attributed to “sources”. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley followed up by saying that her anonymous contacts confirmed the project’s existence – and she’s seen technical references to a “Windows 10 ++” due next fall – but Microsoft’s official response was a rather cold lack of confirmation:
It’s not new to Microsoft to deliver any Windows features through cumulative updates. We have nothing further to share.
New user interface elements in Microsoft Store apps
Although we do not really know what Sun Valley will bring – apart from rumors of re-integrating mobile and desktop experiences, it seems that recent updates to some apps in the Microsoft Store strengthen these rumors a bit.
The latest update to the Alarms and Clocks app shows some new UI elements, including a map view for upcoming alarms and subtly rounded rectangles on these cards. This is an evolution of the existing Fluent Design motif, not a complete overhaul, and we generally expect Sun Valley to offer similar changes through the Windows 10 visual experience.
Microsoft’s new head of the Windows division – formerly Surface VP Panos Panay – said he wants to move customers from “needing Windows to love Windows”, and nail down a visual update that appeals to younger or more design-focused users without alienating more Conservative, change-phobic users will be the key to that vision.