Windows 8 is coming, and it will be wrapped in Ribbon

Windows 8 has not yet been announced. But if Windows 8 did exist, it might include the Ribbon interface.

Windows 8 will reportedly rely heavily on the Ribbon interface. Here, a user toys with a tablet computer running Microsoft Windows 8 software.

Last we heard, Windows 8 – the latest, and as of yet technically imaginary iteration of the Microsoft OS – was being doled out in advance to some PC vendors. Now comes a rumor that Microsoft could be doing away with the traditional drop-down menu in favor of the Ribbon, a functionality which displays information via an array of tabs. (Think horizontal.) Which sounds pretty good by us.

"If Microsoft goes through with this change, the Ribbon will replace the menu and toolbar in today’s Explorer windows, and as in Office, it will make many more features visibly discoverable, albeit at the expense of onscreen real estate and, we think, attractiveness," write Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott of Within Windows, who posted a bunch of screenshots that allegedly show the new Windows 8 interface.

Rivera and Thurrott also uploaded an image of what they claim will be the new Windows 8 welcome screen. And the new welcome screen – well, it's interesting. "[T]here is evidence of additional features to come. For example, on tablet-type devices, you’ll apparently be able to logon using a pattern, which we assume is similar to what’s available on Android devices today," Rivera and Thurrott write.

Also: audio controls, "so you can control music playback while the machine is locked."

In related news, last month Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9, which was downloaded 2.35 million times in the first 24 hours after its release. (To look at it another way, IE9 was downloaded 27 times a second.) The browser has met with pretty solid marks from critics, and ensured – for the time being – Microsoft's iron grip over the browser wars.

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