While Microsoft has had confusing naming schemes for Windows RT and "Metro-style" over the years, it appears the company is trying to simplify things for Windows 10. In a recent session at Microsoft's WinHEC developer event, distinguished engineer Don Box revealed the company’s new naming for universal applications that run across PCs, phones, tablets, and the Xbox One. "Sometimes we say universal apps, but we call them Windows apps," explains Box. "Windows apps runs on all devices, Windows desktop app is PC only. Windows apps run everywhere."
The naming could cause some confusion around existing Windows desktop apps, as many already refer to them as Windows apps, but simplification is certainly welcome. Microsoft originally used Metro to refer to the design language that the company used for its Windows 8 apps. While many, incorrectly, referred to Windows 8 apps as "Metro apps," they were simply Metro-styled, and Microsoft confused things further when the company dropped the Metro name altogether following trademark issues. So "Metro-style apps" became Windows 8-style, Modern, and even just "Windows Store apps," all before the notion of universal apps and now Windows apps.
Hopefully Microsoft has now settled on its naming, allowing developers and the industry to forget about Metro and focus on the Windows apps name. With the Metro-style guidelines mostly dead in Windows 10 in favor of Android-like hamburger menus, it should be a relatively natural transition to the Windows apps naming.