At the D9 Conference in NYC today Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky demonstrated the next generation of Windows (currently code-named "Windows 8") for the first time in public. And it looks like a product businesses will be interested.

It appears that Windows 8 take a fresh approach to Windows – incorporating the best of Tablets, Phones and full blown PCs today – and merging those elements into a new experience. The concept is that Windows 8 systems can be anything from a small touch only device through to devices with large screen and a keyboard and mouse.

The demo highlighted some of the new ways Microsoft are reinventing the user interface – with a very strong focus on touch-centric devices – such as tablets (aka slates). It’s a an approach that appears a few leaps ahead of what other vendors are delivering – and certainly technology that will put it in direct competition to the iPad – but also relevant to millions of users who need more business oriented capabilities than the iPad currently offers.

Highlights of the new interface showed include:

– Fast launching of apps from a tile-based Start screen, which replaces the Windows Start menu with a customizable, scalable full-screen view of apps
– Live tiles with notifications, showing always up-to-date information from your apps (think Windows Phone 7)
– Fluid, natural switching between running apps
– Convenient ability to snap and resize an app to the side of the screen, so you can really multitask using the capabilities of Windows
– Web-connected and Web-powered apps built using HTML5 and JavaScript that have access to the full power of the PC
– Fully touch-optimised browsing, with all the power of hardware-accelerated Internet Explorer 10

Microsoft also showed the seamless movement between traditional Windows applications and the new Windows 8 apps. It has been communicated that the full capabilities of Windows 7 will continue to be available to users, including the Windows Explorer and Desktop – and compatibility with all Windows 7 compatible PCs, software and peripherals.

If you like that sound of Windows 8 – check out the video.

To keep up to date on Windows 8 be sure to follow @PaulSpain on Twitter.