My personal opinion is that it’s possible we will see materials, but no way will we see a release of an OS until 2013, maybe even later.
And here my logical (to me) reasoning
Everybody knows that XP is the Windows OS that is loved by enterprise. From working in IT and speaking to others that are working in other IT departments I feel that Windows 7, has the potential to change that. Nobody liked Vista, for reasons that quite frankly were justified. But 7, just has that charm again.
At my work, we recently upgraded all Desktop PCs to Windows 7 64bit, and it was entirely painless. Now all users have 4 GB of RAM and nice Quad core processors, and are trundling along nicely. The entire driver issue that existed in Vista is fixed, the program compatibility issues are fixed; people like this.
Also, let’s be honest. XP is getting old in a business environment, and for people in offices that want 4 spreadsheets, 3 word processing documents, 2 web browsers and their email all open at the same time, under 4Gb of memory just doesn’t work. This means that 64 bit is necessary, and XP 64 just doesn’t cut it. Drivers are few and far between, and a lot of things, just don't work.
Below, is a copy of the windows Family Timeline, stolen from Wikipedia, here
We can all imagine how this looks in our heads, but it's interesting to see it actually make physical.
Vista was an utter fail, and they wanted to get 7 out as soon as they could, but it still took just under 3 years (RTM to RTM) to get on track.
Windows XP was Microsoft’s golden boy, and everybody knew it, RTM XP to RTM Vista, was over 5 years, and I think this was mainly due to its adoption in business, and Microsoft wanting to make the most of that. It's very hard to co-ordinate an OS upgrade in the business environment, especially when working with large numbers of end users, so if an OS makes it into the business environment it's there to stay for at least a few years. Microsoft will realise this, and will be happy to carry on selling licences for no extra cost of development, aside from routine bug fix service packs, and the usual development routine with Patch Tuesday etc.
I'm not disagreeing entirely, as the rumour Sam was writing about only stated 'materials'. I think this is entirely possible, mocked up screenshots, demos of your PC doing everything you could ever want (Which reminds me, I need to write a post slating the Windows "To The Cloud" advert), but I don’t think we will be seeing anything interactive (aside from on-stage/video demos) for a while.
My opinion is that Windows 7 is going to get swept up by business, and Microsoft are going to milk it for all it's worth. Who knows, maybe I’ll be reposting this timeline at the end of this year, and marvelling at how quickly Microsoft released Windows 8, I don't know, but the vibe I'm getting right now, is that Windows 7, could be here to stay for a little while.