Today, at the D9 Conference, Microsoft demonstrated the next version of Windows, internally code-named “Windows 8,” for the first time. Windows 8 is designed to scale from touch-only small screens through to large screens, with or without a keyboard and mouse.

Microsoft also seems to have run a “find and replace” on their marketing materials, replacing “programs” with “apps” everywhere. Wonder why.

Microsoft demoed a few aspects of the new “Windows 8” interface, including:
• Launching of programs apps from a tile-based Start screen, which replaces the Windows Start menu with a customizable, scalable full-screen view of programs apps.
• Live tiles with notifications, showing up-to-date information from your programs apps.
• Switching between running programs apps.
• Capability to snap and resize a program an app to the side of the screen.
• Web-connected and Web-powered programs apps built using HTML5 and JavaScript.
• Touch-optimized browsing, with all the power of hardware-accelerated Internet Explorer 10.

The video below introduces a few of the basic elements of the new user interface:

Microsoft is working to get “Windows 8” ready for early testing. No release date has been disclosed.

MacDailyNews Take: Taking into account that demos are, of course, designed to make products look good no matter what, our initial impression is that Microsoft, in trying to cram everything into Windows 8 in an attempt to be all things to all devices, will end up with an OS that’s a jack of all trades and a master of none (which, after all, ought to be Microsoft’s company motto).

By the time this hybrid spawn of Windows Phone ’07 + Windows 7ista actually ships, one can only dream where Apple’s iOS and Mac OS X will be! For Microsoft, it’ll be more like a nightmare. Perhaps Microsoft will someday put some scare into Google’s Android/Chrome OS, but only time – and a lot of it when measured in tech time – will tell. We simply do not see the world clamoring for the UI of an iPod also-ran now ported to an iPhone wannabe that nobody’s buying to be blown up onto a PC display.

From what we’ve seen so far, Windows 8 strikes us as an unsavory combination of Windows Weight plus Windows Wait.

Not to mention that probably no one on earth knows how much or what kinds of residual legacy spaghetti code roils underneath it all (shudder). Is Microsoft giving up on backwards compatibility? If so, people might as well get the Mac they always wanted. If not, then Microsoft’s unwilling to do what it takes to really attempt to keep up with the likes of Apple or even Apple’s followers. No matter what, if Microsoft’s going to ask Windows sufferers to “learn a whole new computer” (and that’s exactly how they’ll look at it, regardless of how Microsoft pitches it), millions will simply say, “Time to get a Mac to match my iPod, iPhone, and iPad!”

As if they needed it: More good news for Apple.