Microsoft sort of announced that the Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be arriving on Aug 2, before removing that announcement. Now the company seems to have gone fully official with a press release and blog post that say we have just under five weeks until the Anniversary Update starts rolling out.
The company appeared to prematurely send out a notice of the release date with a post that had the announcement headline but no content, it was quickly removed. However, the proverbial cat was out of the bag and Microsoft returned with the full press release you can check out at the source. The long and short of it is that the company has revealed the Windows 10 Anniversary Update will drop on Aug 01, 2016.
And so will end a rather long update process. The Anniversary Update has been known under the codename Redstone and has been the subject of Microsoft’s focus (at least in the Windows business) over the last few months. The company has been dropping preview features all over the place in preparation for the update.
One interesting question is what kind of update is Anniversary? It is a massive feature rich upgrade for sure, but Microsoft would prefer is we called it a feature update because the company sees Windows 10 differently from previous builds.
Windows 10 as a service means Microsoft will send out new features as they are ready, these feature updates will arrive sporadically alongside the monthly “quality updates”. So, is it just coincidence that a plethora of major new features are landing with the Anniversary Update upgrade? No, this is a build upgrade plain and simple, whether you call it a feature update or not.
Windows 10 Anniversary Update will bring the platform up to version number 1607 and will bring a massive amount of new features and functionality to the party. Too many to list here, that’s for sure, but here are some of the things you can expect when you get Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
It is worth remembering that those on the Windows Insider Program have gotten their hands on most of the new features. End users (non-Insiders) are in for a treat though as they will be getting the finished features all at once.
- Windows Hello on Windows Apps and the Edge browser. Edge will become the first browser with native biometric support. Windows Hello can also be used on a companion device to unlock a PC.
- Windows Defender gets a new routine scheduling feature for system scans, while Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection now covers more than 700,000 endpoints and is being used in pilots by more than 300 active enterprises
Windows Ink was first introduced at Build 2016 in March and since then Microsoft has expanded on that announcement with previews and additional features for Insiders.
- Windows Ink Workspace is a Start Menu-like hub for tying together all the features in Ink.
- A virtual ruler which can be placed on maps to help find directions.
- Cortana support
- Microsoft Office Support
- Cortana is now available on the lock screen, allowing you to complete PC tasks without unlocking the machine.
- Improved reminder capabilities. Cortana can remember key information and will even store photos as visual reminders.
- Cross device support. Set a reminder on a Windows 10 PC and be reminded of it on a Windows 10 Mobile device.
Microsoft’s Edge browser is the newbie on the market, but the company is working hard to make it as robust as rivals like Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Extensions are a big part of that attempt to achieve parity, while Microsoft recently showed how Edge is already the most power-efficient browser.
- Windows 10 Anniversary Update introduces more power efficiency improvements, allowing Edge to use less memory and tax the CPU less.
- Full Extension support will reach end users. Many developers (Pinterest, Amazon, and AdBlock among them) have already created extensions for Edge, and more will follow.
The Xbox One is the focus of Microsoft’s Universal Windows Program (UWP) plans in the Anniversary Update. Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile are already closely linked, so now the company is tying the Xbox platform closer to those. Windows 10 landing on the console last year set the ball rolling, the Anniversary Update will extend the plan.
- Xbox Play Anywhere lets users buy a title once and play it across the Xbox One and Windows 10 PC. This is a Universal Windows Program feature that lets the gamer share progress and stats without losing anything.
- Unified Windows Store: The full Windows Store is now available on the Xbox One, which allows apps and games from the Store to be played on the console. In reverse, Windows 10 PC users can now buy Xbox One games on their desktop.
- UWP also means Cortana is integrated into the Xbox One, helping with content curation and social aspects of the platform.
As we mentioned, the update will be extensive and we have only touched upon some of the key areas above. Microsoft has a lot more going on with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, so it is worth checking out the company’s blog and looking through our previous Anniversary coverage for all the relevant details.