Free ‘Anniversary Update’ will be available to all Windows 10 users from this summer
Microsoft will deliver a major cross-platform ‘anniversary update’ for Windows 10 to PCs, but smartphones, tablets, Xbox, and IoT devices such as Raspberry Pi this summer, with a focus on inputs other than mouse and keyboard.
Windows 10 has so far been downloaded onto 270 million devices, making it the company’s most successful product to date and outpacing Windows 7’s launch by 145 percent. However the company has been accused of forcing upgrades on users who have no wish to update their operating system.
“We welcome everyone to Windows 10, whether you have a new PC, a five-year-old PC, or a brand new Mac – we are building the most secure, productive, and fun platform for you,” Microsoft’s Terry Myserson said at the company’s Build conference in San Francisco. “We’re evolving from the mechanical keyboard and mouse.”
This evolution means an update to both of Microsoft’s intelligent interface programs, Cortana and Windows Hello, the latter of which uses facial recognition for logins. Hello will be expanded to more applications and for logins to certain websites.
Microsoft says that it found 80 percent of people use the same password across multiple web sites and manage around 20-30 different accounts requiring passwords. Using the same credentials exposes uses to more risk so Microsoft is pitching Windows Hello as a more secure way to manage account details.
Cortana will now make ‘proactive’ suggestions to users throughout the day and now supports more than a thousand applications. It can now buy your lunch, arrange transportation and the service is now accessible through the lock screen for more immediate access.
Cross-platform functionaility has also been improved, meaning users can perform an action on one Windows 10 device and see the result on another instantly.
The update adds improvements for console gamers but more importantly now allows Xbox One consoles to be used as a developer hubb thanks to a new Xbox Dev Mode.
Lastly, Microsoft has re-invented drawing, or so it believes, announcing Windows Ink, a new service which allows users to write on their Windows 10 device as they would do on paper. The feature (pictured below), which is integrated into apps like Maps, Microsoft Edge, and Office, lets users create sticky notes and draw and annotate on documents, much like the Surface Pen does for the company’s Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book devices.
Launched last year, Windows 10 is Microsoft’s attempt to create a unified operating system across PCs, smartphones, tablets and other machines with a stated aim of being present on one billion systems and devices that will comprise the Internet of Things (IoT).
The mobile edition of Windows 10 was launched earlier this month, but the future of Microsoft’s mobile business is uncertain.