Windows 10 is about to get a little feature bump. Previously codenamed Redstone, the so-called Anniversary Update will arrive in the Summer.
Check out our Windows 10 review of the current operating system, as well as our favourite Windows 10 PCs. Interestingly, Windows head Terry Myerson boasted there are now more than 270 million active Windows 10 users worldwide
Myerson also had a pop at Apple’s recent critique of people running five year old PCs: “whether you have a new PC, a five-year-old PC, or a brand new Mac, you’re welcome on Windows 10”.
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update will also be free. Here’s some selected features so far:
Windows Hello gets useful
According to Microsoft, 80% of people use the same password across multiple web sites, managing around 20-30 different accounts requiring passwords. Windows Hello – the operating system’s built-in facial, iris and fingerprint recignition software – can now be used to log into appscan now be used with apps as well as Microsoft Edge, the only browser to natively support biometrics at the moment.
Windows Ink gets you writing
There’s also much improved support for stylus operations (centred around a new Windows Ink feature) including easier note-taking plus the ability to create Cortana reminders directly from notes. Windows will automatically work out you’ve written a date or drawn a route on a map, for example. Sentences can be struck out simply by drawing a line through the text. Microsoft says it wants using a pen with Windows 10 to be as intuitive as using paper. Windows Ink is integrated into apps like Maps, Microsoft Edge, and Office.
Cortana knows you better and can make your PC work with Android or Windows Phone
Microsoft has launched a new Cortana Collection in the Windows Store to make it easy for you to find great apps with Cortana. And in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Cortana can proactively make suggestions for you throughout your day, like offering to buy you lunch or arrange a taxi. Some of this stuff is really cool – Microsoft showed a scenario using JustEat, where Cortana could order you dinner if you’re working late.
Cortana will also be available above the lock screen, giving you quicker access without unlocking your PC. It will also come to Xbox One.
And bad news for Pushbullet – via Cortana Windows 10 will be abe to complete certain notification-based tasks on your Windows or Android phone, such as receiving and sending text messages, on your PC.
More on Universal apps
Some users in the Windows Insider developer program (including me) have already seen some of the features that the Anniversary Update will bring. A key idea of the update is the next step in Microsoft’s journey to integrate all Windows 10 devices – including Xbox and Windows Phone – on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP).
Xbox One also now has a developer mode, meaning Windows Universal apps can easily be tested on the console, too.
Microsoft also announced the Desktop App Converter, formerly known as Project Centennial. This will enable developers to convert legacy desktop (Win32) apps into UWP apps