I've been hearing chatter that SF is going to deprecate Classic this year (2019)
Is this true? Been googling and can't get a definite answer.
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For now, the plan is to switch everyone to Lightning by default (except for certain unsupported editions and license types).
The Classic UI will still be available:
After the critical update is activated, all users still have access to Salesforce Classic. Every week, starting the Sunday after Lightning Experience is turned on, Lightning Experience-enabled users who are working in Salesforce Classic are automatically logged into Lightning Experience. Users can switch back to Salesforce Classic as needed.
That said, Classic has been "deprecated" for about two years now. Basically no new features are coming to Classic, there are many Lightning-only features already. Salesforce.com has already decided to move forward with the new framework rather than maintaining two different systems.
I was at a lightning web components workshop about two weeks ago led by one of the technical architects for the Salesforce platform and this question came up. He mentioned there are no plans to deprecate Classic in the near future, and joked that Classic will be deprecated when the last Salesforce Classic user hasn't logged in for a year.
To answer the question though, Salesforce most definitely will not deprecate Classic in 2019. This is simply not enough lead time for their customers, and even though you may not see them, there are still many customers in Classic(with and without plans to migrate to Lightning).
What is more likely, and what you already see today, is the discontinuation of support for various features of Classic(ui namespace for components), which will ultimately disincentivize the usage of Classic and push more customers towards the better functionality and features of Lightning.
It appears Salesforce will start turn on Lightning for Classic users automatically starting Oct 2019