Windows 10 Preview was officially unveiled this week, after months of waiting for a new big release for Windows users, but contrary to what people expected, the company actually introduced a brand new OS version and not a second big update for the existing Windows 8.1.
Leaving the name aside, which was surprising for pretty much everyone, some of the features introduced in Windows 10 were supposed to be part of a second Windows 8.1 update, including the Start menu and the windowed Metro apps.
Terry Myerson, head of the OS division at Microsoft, said earlier this year at the BUILD 2014 developer conference that the Start menu and options to let Metro apps run on the desktop would arrive in a future Windows 8.1 update, but this actually never came to be.
Instead, Microsoft decided to introduce both of them in Windows 10 and thus make the new OS version an even more important release for everyone.
And still, it appears that Microsoft was quite unsure about what to release next for Windows users, as some references found in Windows 10 confirm the existence of Windows 8.1 Update 2.
As Neowin writes today, a mention in the Local Computer Policy confirms that the Start menu was initially intended for Windows 8.1 Update 2, but Redmond most likely decided at the very last minute to bring it out in Windows 10 Preview.
Windows 8.1 Update 2 was rumored to launch in August, but instead of this important release, Microsoft changed its mind and unveiled the August Update, a rather insignificant release that included only three major improvements and none of them for consumers.
The company has never confirmed work on Windows 8.1 Update 2 and remained completely tight-lipped on what would be next for the Windows platform until the September 30 event, but it appears that a second Windows 8.1 pack of improvements was indeed planned.
Now everyone is wondering whether the company actually renamed Windows 8.1 Update 2 to Windows 10 Preview, just to make sure that it stirs up more interest in its revamped platform.
Nobody knows for sure, but some claim that this is one of the reasons Windows 9 was actually skipped, pointing to the limited number of changes available in Windows 10 as living proof that the OS was originally developed as an update for Windows 8.1.
Microsoft, however, claims that the features we got in Windows 10 Preview are just a teaser of a very rich improvements lineup that would be released in spring 2015, when the company will finally make the full operating system available to users.