Even though Windows 7 is still rolling out to customers who get their first taste of the latest operating system from Microsoft when purchasing a new computer, a lot of people are already wondering what Windows 8 will hold for us when it appears a few years from now.  Never let it be said that technology enthusiasts aren’t a curious lot.

While some sources vary on when we will see Windows 8 released, the general consensus seems to be in 2012, data on what the future holds for the leading operating system is a totally different situation.  When it comes to any sort of information, we are stuck with quotes like the one  John Mangelaars, Regional VP of Consumer and Online at Microsoft EMEA, gave to CIO recently:

win8… Windows 7 is a blockbuster. We got it really right. For me, Windows 8 will be mind-blowing.

Okay, apparently we can expect to get our minds blown, but we have absolutely no clue what qualifies as “mind-blowing” to a Microsoft insider.

While totally lacking in any concrete details, Microsoft Kitchen recently caught a blog post on an MSDN blog titled, “Whats in store for the next Windows?”  Luckily they thought to copy it as the post was later deleted, which is odd because none of it is written as being facts, but just some general observations about what track the company may be on.  Perhaps it hit a bit too close to home?  (do note the original author started referring to it as Windows.next, but that is not an official name)

The minimum that folks can take for granted is that the next version will be something completly different from what folks usually expect of Windows – I am simply impressed with the process that Steven has setup to listen to our customers needs and wants and get a team together than can make it happen. To actually bring together dozens and dozens of teams across Microsoft to come up with a vision for Windows.next is a process that is surreal! The themes that have been floated truly reflect what people have been looking for years and it will change the way people think about PCs and the way they use them. It is the future of PCs…

Well, yes, it will be the future of PCs seeing as it will be released in the future … on PCs.

Kidding aside, we’ve seen some integration of touch interface in Windows 7, and it isn’t difficult to assume the ante will be upped in Windows 8 as more systems hit the marketplace, and consumers get more comfortable with the concept.  Beyond that, who knows, if its mind-blowing as Mr. Mangelaars suggests, and this unknown Microsoft insider saying that it is “completely different”, it’s easy to imagine that we don’t know what the heck we will be getting come 2012 or so.

Microsoft is going to have to thread a fine needle here as consumers are going to want big changes, but if Microsoft goes too far afield with their ideas, they could end up alienating the general public by making it just too unfamiliar.

What do you see Windows 8 being like?