At its annual Build developers conference on Wednesday, Microsoft officially revealed the next big update for its Windows: the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. The name, which essentially celebrates Windows 10’s first birthday (although we’re still a few months out from the anniversary of its public release), is also an indication that this update is not as big as, say, Windows 10.
Developers will be able to tap into 1,000 new features in the Windows Anniversary SDK, said Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate vice president, Windows and devices group. He also told Mashable that the next Windows could be considered an interim release with significant new features.
Perhaps there isn’t a need for major changes, especially considering how rapidly Windows 10 is spreading across the Windows user base.
There are now 270 million devices worldwide actively using Windows 10
There are now 270 million devices worldwide actively using Windows 10, according to Microsoft, and the platform is spreading far faster than Windows 7 (by 145%) and than Windows 8 (it’s growing 4x faster).
With this Windows update, the first build of which appears today in Microsoft’s Windows Insider Ring (a platform for early beta testers), Microsoft will also update Windows Hello, the system that allows Windows users to log into devices with via facial recognition, Windows Ink (for digital pen input) and Windows Gaming.
Windows Ink in particular has big upgrades for anyone who works with pen input. Microsoft showed off abilities such as a digital ruler, better “paper” management tools and an auto-straightening tool for highlighting text. Developers also get Ink tools to let them integrate Ink features into apps.
The update also strengthens the compatibility between Windows 10 and the Xbox One, letting developers use the same tools and controllers for both, and enabling them to turn any Xbox One into a developer unit to test games on. There are also new features for Xbox, including background music and Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant.
Cortana herself is getting an upgrade in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, getting improved “conversational intelligence,” letting her interpret human language and habits better than before. For example, she can schedule appointments based on message exchanges, move other appointments to make room for new ones, and suggest things like restaurants or catering for events based on their description and location.
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update should come to all Windows 10 users in late summer.