Software Advances for 2021 — What to Expect

By Yisela Alvarez Trentini Thursday, November 19, 2020

The coming year will bring some longly awaited software updates as well as innovative new offers. Among them are the last perpetual version of the Microsoft Office Suite, the new Windows 10X and macOS Big Sur operating systems, and several sequel games.

The year 2020 has been a turbulent one. In terms of technology adoption, the COVID-19 pandemic has fast-tracked many solutions as people had to turn to digital trolls to support a new way of working. In consequence, the landscape today looks quite different from what we would have expected a year ago.

The coming months will see new trends take shape while others, such as cloud and big data computing, will continue their innovative development. Enterprise software will most likely continue to facilitate flexible, adaptable solutions for remote working, with an increased focus placed on cross-client work and compatibility.

As businesses transition to a more flexible and remote model, cyber and data security software is also expected to accompany this growth while preventing malicious cyber-attacks and security breaches. Open source and affordable alternatives to expensive and professional software will most likely also be in high demand in 2021. We can expect to see the top three frameworks — NodeJS, Angular2+, and React — to stay equally strong.

Among the new applications and software to come, the following are the most expected products that have already been officially announced.

Next Perpetual Version of Office

Microsoft Office 2019 was believed to be the last perpetual-licensed (purchased with a single upfront payment) version of Microsoft’s massively popular software suite. However, a successor is expected to be launched in the latter half of the year — and this is going to be the last one of its kind, the company announced.

The new Office suite will be released for both Windows and macOS. Very few details have been shared, but some traits can be inferred from past Microsoft practice. Microsoft will most likely call the new product Office 2022 and have less than seven years of support (Office 2019’s support was reduced from 10 to 7 years). The company is also expected to recommend Office 365 over any kind of perpetual license, including Office 2022. Some believe the latter will, therefore, be made less attractive in comparison.

Office 2022 will include the core tools of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Skype, Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype for Business in editions for commercial use, for businesses, and enterprises.

Windows 10X

Microsoft’s Windows 10X operating system will most likely be released in 2021. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced the OS, originally planned for dual-screen devices, is being reworked for single-screen ones — postponing the launch date by about six months. This was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw people turning to use their laptops and PCs instead of smartphones or tablets during the lockdown.

Windows 10X will include UI and UX changes that will improve basics like multitasking, quick access to settings, and using the Start menu. ZDNet reported in July that single-screen devices running Windows 10X will arrive in spring 2021 and will be designed for education and business use. More design tweaks and feature announcements are expected in the coming months.

macOS 11 Big Sur

Apple’s next-generation macOS Big Sur operating system might come out this year. However, with the tenth beta being sent to developers in October 2020, the general public might still need to wait a little longer.

The OS was unveiled in June 2020 at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) and announced for fall. It features an overhauled look — the biggest design update to macOS since MacOS X. The new version will overhaul the curvature of window corners, the colors, and the dock icon design. Buttons and controls will now appear when needed and disappear when not in use, providing more focus on content. The update also includes an overhaul of the messages app, the maps app, and the photos app, as well as faster updates that run in the background.
The new version of Safari also promises to be faster and more battery-efficient than ever, with improved privacy reports and built-in translation.

2021 Game Releases

The year 2021 will see the release of several games such as Dying Light 2, Empire of Sin, Evil Genius 2, Everspace 2, Hitman 3, and Kerbal Space Program 2 — among many, many others.

Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2 is definitely coming in 2021 and will be written by the same creative genius behind the first game. Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 still doesn’t have a release date, but this psychological action-adventure sequel is expected to be equally sublime, with the protagonist diving into Viking Hell. Fans will also originally see The Elder Scrolls VI by Bethesda, although the date is also still unknown. Finally, Sniper Elite VR by Rebellion promises to cause a VR revolution with its exclusive first-person view and a new campaign set in Italy.

About the Author


Headshot for author Yisela Alvarez Trentini

Yisela Alvarez Trentini is an Anthropologist + User Experience / Human-Computer Interaction Designer with an interest in emerging technologies, social robotics, and VR/AR.

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