updated 10:30 am EDT, Mon March 14, 2011
Windows 8 and Office 2012 to get Metro interface
Microsoft's plans to borrow from Windows Phone in Windows 8 were given confirmation in the new week turnover through a pair of leaks from Russia. New interface elements in a set known as Aero Lite would give Windows, and also Office 15 (likely Office 2012) the same transportation-inspired arrows and fonts as Windows Phone 7. MSwin.me's copy of the styles file also showed newly revamped corner buttons that would show maximize, minimize, resize and help buttons with a similar look, hinting that Aero Lite would take over the whole look, though possibly only when a touchscreen device was involved.
Both Windows 8 and the Office shots supplied by Winreview showed interfaces that were still very much like their current versions that had mostly been kept the same in the pre-beta phase, but Office was already showing signs of integration. Outlook should go from attempting to integrate calendars, contacts and mail all on one panel to having a large, Metro-like strip at the bottom that would swap out the contents in the window on the fly.
The changes support notions that Microsoft is designing the interface more around touch. Officials have never directly commented on how Windows 8 or Office would change, but chief executive Steve Ballmer has hinted that the company was taking a huge risk with the next version of Windows. Its look has been relatively conservative since Windows Vista four years ago and in many ways is still closely related to Windows XP from a decade earlier.
The OS and its corresponding Office suite are are expected to be Microsoft's first real attempts at countering the success of the iPad, and potentially Android 3.0 tablets. Office 15's release date information isn't clear, but Windows 8 isn't believed to be entering early beta until near September and wouldn't be shipping until late 2012, one and a half years after the iPad first arrived. [via WinRumors]