The latest Windows 10 is arguably the most important and feature laden version of Windows ever. From Cortana integration to Universal apps, the list goes on. But arguably its most important feature is that Windows 10 is an ‘operating system as a service,’ meaning that it will continue to receive ongoing updates for enhancing its features and functionality.
The next major update to Windows 10 (called the Anniversary Update or Redstone) was announced at Microsoft’s Build developer conference earlier this year, and is scheduled to be released in mid-2016. The Anniversary update will bring a lot of new and exciting features to Windows 10.
Windows Hello lets you sign in to Windows 10 with enterprise grade biometric security, and is much more secure as compared to the traditional password based approach. With the anniversary update, you’ll be able to use the secure login functionality of Windows Hello with Windows apps and Microsoft Edge browser as well.
The anniversary update will come with enhanced support for apps and features that utilize styli. The central aspect of this is the new Windows Ink Workspace, which is a panel designed to provide instant access to pen-supported apps and functions. The update will also include three new pen-specific apps, namely Sketchpad (for sketching), Screen sketch (for annotating screenshots), and Sticky Note (for notes). Even though the Start Menu in Windows 10 is already really good, the anniversary update will bring further enhancements to it. The improved Start Menu shows ‘All Apps’ view permanently and in the tablet mode, the taskbar can be hidden automatically. Moreover, the layout of Action Center is refined to show more notifications, along with support for rich Cortana notifications.
The anniversary update will bring background music and Cortana support for Xbox One, even helping you find new games, challenges, and tricks. Not just that, Game developers will be able to use the Universal Windows Platform to develop their games for both Xbox One and Windows 10. The Xbox Dev Mode will turn the console into a developer kit, creating new opportunities for both developers and consumers.
Cortana is already a big part of the Windows 10 ecosystem, and the anniversary update will make bring further improvements. Cortana can be accessed from the lock screen, and can even create reminders from photos and apps through the share functionality. Cortana’s notification system is also improved, and the virtual assistant can even search One Drive.
With the anniversary update, the apps that you have open in taskbar will also have notification badges for indicating how many notifications per app are waiting for attention. Quick actions are also customizable, so that notifications can be acted upon in a much better way. Microsoft’s new Edge browser is already great, and the anniversary update will make it even better. The update will enable extension support for Microsoft Edge. It’s worth noting that Microsoft Edge uses Chrome like extensions, and Microsoft will even provide developers a tools to help port Chrome extensions to Edge. The extensions will be eventually available through the Windows Store.
Probably the most impressive upcoming feature to come to Windows 10 is support for Bash shell. The anniversary update will add real, native Bash support to Windows 10 with full support for Linux command-line tools. The command line-tools will run directly on Windows in an environment that behaves like Linux.