According to Mary Jo Foley, the tech preview will be open to the public and will be available in late September

A preview release of Windows 9 “Threshold” could be here sooner than you think. Microsoft’s next major operating system release will reportedly into the “Tech Preview” phase late next month according to Microsoft insider Mary Jo Foley.
According to Foley’s sources that in the past have “provided accurate information on Windows in the past,” the tech preview won’t just be open to developers; it will also be open to the public if they wish to test the operating system.
Foley adds:
And in a move that signals where Microsoft is heading on the "servicability" front, those who install the tech preview will need to agree to have subsequent monthly updates to it pushed to them automatically, sources added.
Windows 9 is expected to introduce Virtual Desktops, which will allow users to select from multiple workspaces. As previously reported, this functionality is present in Windows 7 and newer operating systems, but is disabled by Microsoft.

Pre-release build of Windows 9 "Threshold" 

Windows 9 will also reportedly ditch the Charms bar for desktop PC users. Charms provide shortcut access to common system functions, and can come in handy on touch screen devices. However, desktop users often find the Charms bar (like other touch-centric aspects of Windows 8.x) incredibly annoying.
Another, less likely scenario is that Microsoft will ditch Charms altogether. This would break backwards compatibility with existing apps, so Microsoft should be careful to tread lightly.
Other features lined up for Windows 9 include a new “mini” Start Menu and Cortana integration. The Cortana personal digital assistant was already introduced with Windows Phone 8.1, and has been greeted with generally favorable reviews. Its introduction on Windows tablet and desktop platforms will be a welcome addition.
Microsoft is reportedly targeting Spring 2015 for the official, final release of Windows 9.

Sources: ZDNet, Neowin

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