After months of teasing, Microsoft is finally ready to ship the Windows 10 Creators Update, the next major iteration of its desktop operating system, to its users. The free update will start rolling out globally on April 11. This process usually takes a few weeks, but users will also be able to force the update from their Windows settings.
As the name implies, the focus of the update is on “creators.” Microsoft is going for a pretty broad interpretation of this theme here, but the highlights of the release are improved support for the upcoming crop of Windows-centric mixed reality and virtual reality headsets (especially for developers), better support for games thanks to a new dedicated game mode and built-in streaming to Beam, as well as new creative tools like Paint 3D.
The update also features the new night light mode to help you sleep better, screen time limits that parents can set for their children, and updates to the Windows Hello security feature.
When I talked to Windows General Manager Aaron Woodman earlier this month, he noted that what he has been seeing over the last few years is a pivot back to the roots of Microsoft and Windows — and he sees this update as another example of this. In his view, the three big highlights of the release are Windows Mixed Reality (which was once called Windows Holographic), the new gaming features, and the updates to the Edge browser.
Indeed, while it was long fashionable to make fun of Microsoft’s browser efforts and the early Edge releases definitely had a few usability issues, it’s now become a respectable competitor. Woodman noted that Microsoft wanted to first “nail the fundamentals” like performance and security and has now worked on other areas like tab management and the integration of Cortana (which actually works quite well).
With this update, the company is doing something interesting in that it is bringing e-books to the Windows Store, which will be displayed in Edge. At first, this seems like an odd move. We have all been accustomed to using specialized apps and even devices for reading e-books. Woodman, however, argues that while this holds true on mobile, on the PC, the browser is the default place for people to consume text.
The update will start rolling out on April 11. How long it’ll take to arrive on every PC remains to be seen and Microsoft tunes the process depending on the feedback it gets.
In addition to announcing the release date for this update, Microsoft also today announced that it will bring its Surface Book and Surface Studio hardware to more markets. The Surface Book can now be pre-ordered in Austria, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It will ship April 20.
The Surface Studio (and Dial) can now be pre-ordered in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. There, too, it will ship April 20.