Windows 9, codename Threshold, is rumored for an April 2015 release date. This information is known and comes from Paul Thurrott, a well-known Microsoft insider. Now, according to a new rumor, Microsoft will offer a preview version of the new operating system sometime around February of 2015.
Similar to the Developer Preview or Consumer Preview of Windows 8, Microsoft is rumored to offer a public preview build of Windows 9 sometime between Q2 or Q3 of 2015 (around February or March of 2015) - giving consumers a chance to play with the new operating system before it's official release. This information comes from a leaker by the name of "Faikee," who was recently responsible for dropping the Windows 365 name, along with other tidbits.
In fact, the rumor goes as far as saying that Microsoft will offer the public preview of Threshold between Q2 and Q3 of 2015. Interestingly enough, it is also speculated that we will see a second update to Windows 8.1 sometime in September of this year, bringing along the return of the Start Menu, the ability to have "windowed" Metro/Modern apps, and the possible combination of Windows RT and Windows Phone. We've already taken the first step towards the latter with "universal apps" that work on Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT.
Take this bit of information with a huge grain of salt and remember it is just a rumor. Microsoft, nor any of the well-respected Microsoft insiders, have commented on Windows 9's "public preview" release date. The word "Threshold" for those that did not know, is derived from the original Halo game, where it was the name of the planet enveloped by the first Halo ring.
Whether this rumor is true or farfetched is just icing on the cake. The point is Windows 9 is happening and we are all excited to hear what it has in store for us. What's next for Microsoft's Windows operating system? We'll begin to find out in the coming months.
Editor's note: Post has been updated to reflect a Q2 to Q3 release date for the preview, rather than February 3rd.