Windows 10 'Anniversary Edition' To Be Released in August
Microsoft announced that its Windows 10 Anniversary Edition will be arriving on Aug. 2.
Microsoft is also looking to motivate customers to take advantage of the free upgrade offer, which expires in one month today with several promotional incentives including $300 off for students purchasing a Surface and Xbox One at Microsoft Stores, a free TV when buying Dell PCs priced at more than $699 and $150 off various HP systems and $100 discounts on certain ASUS and Samsung devices.
Now that there's only one month left before the free upgrade expires, it'll be interesting to see if those with Windows 7 and Windows 8.1-based systems who have either put off taking advantage of it or had no plans to do so have last-minute changes of heart, especially those who don't want to have to pay for the upgrade at a later date. While there's always the possibility Microsoft will extend the deadline for taking advantage of the free upgrade offer or make it permanent, the company has remained firm about the offer's expiration date.
Also many users have made clear they don't want to upgrade their older versions, as evidenced by the uproar over Microsoft's heavy-handed push that tricked many users into inadvertently upgrading to Windows 10, a practice Microsoft yesterday indicated it will stop when it modifies its Get Windows 10 (GWX) application this week. That promise came just days following the report of a lawsuit that resulted in a $10,000 judgment in favor of Teri Goldstein, CEO and owner of TG Travel Group LLC, based in Sausalito, Calif., who claimed damage from a Windows 10 upgrade that she allegedly didn't authorize.
The new Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be pushed out to users after August 2 and it will introduce some important new features. Among them are new digital inking capability, improvements to Cortana, extended security including Windows Hello support for apps, refinements to the new Edge browser and the ability to share their Xbox gaming experiences with their PCs, tablets and phones.
Microsoft announced the planned release date today, though the company had indicated Windows 10 Anniversary Edition would arrive around this time when issuing the first Windows Insider technical preview during the Build Conference back in late March (see our first take here).
Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president for Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group, underscored six key improvements to Windows 10, which the company said is now used by 350 million users. The first is security, which will now extend Windows Hello support to companion devices to replace passwords with biometric authentication and improvements to its Windows Defender anti-malware service. It will also offer the ability to schedule scans and provide reports notifying users of any threats discovered. Enterprise customers will also get the new Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection feature (WDATP), which Mehdi said "detects, investigates, and responds to advanced malicious attacks on networks by providing a more comprehensive threat intelligence and attack detection."
The first obvious change Windows users will notice is the prominence of Cortana, the voice-enabled digital assistant that competes with Apple's Siri, Google Now and Amazon Echo. In addition to its place in the search menu, Cortana will show up on the lock screen, allowing users to dictate commands or questions without unlocking the system. Cortana will also let users request personal information such as where you've parked your car or an account number, and it will provide notifications across all devices. Cortana is a key thrust for Microsoft, which recently announced its roadmap to create "intelligent bots" as a service.
Microsoft is also hoping that the new digital ink capabilities in the new release will finally make Windows PCs and tablets an appealing way to draw and take notes – an effort the company has long aspired to bring to the mainstream.
"Now, using a Windows 10 device, graphic designers can be more creative, musicians can write digital music, lawyers can edit documents with the power of the pen, and students can do mathematical equations and learn by writing," Mehdi said in a blog post announcing the release date. The Digital Ink feature will make it easy to take notes or annotate an image, while the new "Smart Sticky Notes" option will let users create simple reminders. A number of apps support the new inking capability including Office and the Edge browser. .
Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.