By Guenter Weimar, General Manager, Windows and Devices, Microsoft Asia Pacific
When we launched Windows 10 a year ago, our vision was to deliver not just the best and most secure version of Windows ever, but also to continuously add enhancements and improvements to the user experience. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update is our latest step in that journey, and will begin rolling out on August 2. This update brings with it a slew of improvements and new features for all Windows 10 users at no additional cost – including stronger security, amazing notetaking capabilities, enhanced power efficiency and a smarter Cortana.
As a Windows Insider, I’ve been test driving the new update along with millions of other passionate Windows users, and have seen some amazing progress in the new features that we’ll be shipping in just a few days.
Overflowing with anticipation? For a quick fix, here’s a list of my personal top 10 favourite features the upcoming anniversary Update while you wait for August 2!
A mightier Pen with Windows Ink
Creative souls, it’s time to bring your breath-taking ideas to life. Launching for the first time in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Windows Ink is a set of pen-driven experiences that supercharges the power of your Pen or Stylus. Simply launch the app by pressing the Windows Ink Workspace button or clicking the back of your pen – voilà! – built-in experiences including Sticky Notes, sketchpad and screen sketch are all at both your fingertips and pen tips to get your creative juices flowing. Windows Ink also works with Microsoft Office, Maps as well as Edge, which means you can jot down important points on documents, travel plans and web pages.
More ways to say Hello
Here’s a confession: like many people, I sometimes forget my passwords and get locked out of my devices or various web accounts. We introduced Windows Hello in Windows 10 to help users sign into Windows 10 devices as seamlessly as possible – with their faces or fingerprints. In the Anniversary Update, we’re taking it up a notch and extending the function beyond login screen to Windows apps and Microsoft Edge – the first and only browser to natively support biometrics.
Speaking of safeguarding your data, Windows 10 is the most secure version of Windows ever, and the Anniversary Update offers all-new security innovations. As mentioned earlier, Windows Hello is now available for all apps and websites to tap on, giving you more options for quick, secure sign-ins. We’ve also boosted our free anti-malware service Windows Defender. The program uses real-time protection scan everything you download or run on your PC – so you’re assured that your device is protected.
For enterprises, we’ve delivering new services like the Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (WDATP) to help them defend against increasingly brazen and sophisticated cyber-attacks.
In-short, the Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be the safest bet you can take in protecting your digital life.
Browse closer to the cutting Edge
Microsoft Edge is a fantastic browser – fast, fluid, and built from the ground up to prioritize power efficiency and deliver more battery life. The Anniversary Update will upgrade this fan-favourite browser with even more power-saving improvements, such as using fewer CPU cycles, consuming less memory, and minimizing the impact of background activity and peripheral content. On top of that, browser extensions are coming too! We’ve got Amazon Assistant, LastPass, AdBlock and more on the cards. You’ll be browsing like a champ in no time.
Available in select markets1, the world’s most productive personal digital assistant is here to help you get things done quicker and more efficiently. With the Anniversary Update, Cortana is now available above your lock screen and will help with anything from making notes to playing music from your PC or creating reminders. Cortana can save and recall key information as well, and the data will be synchronised across devices. Work hard, work smarter – Cortana has your back.
Play Anywhere with Xbox
Gamers rejoice! The Xbox Play Anywhere program will allow you to purchase a single digital copy of a game, then play it on both Windows 10 and Xbox One. Plus, you’ll be able to share your game progress, saves, in-app purchases, achievements and more across both platforms. And that’s not all: Microsoft Studios is bringing a full portfolio of new games to Windows 10, including the forthcoming Forza Motorsport 6: Apex, which will be free for Windows 10 users.
What makes me proud to be part of Microsoft is our commitment to accessibility. In the Anniversary Update, we have added a new accessibility architecture for Microsoft Edge supports modern web standards, including HTML5, CSS3, and ARIA. Page structure and content are now exposed more clearly with assistive technology. Visual presentation of web pages in high contrast mode is greatly improved to provide additional visual context, while preserving text contrast. Also, form entry when using keyboard navigation and screen readers improve in this update making the browsing experience for people of all abilities better.
Freshly re-designed emojis
Ah, the emoji. Once mocked for their frivolity, it’s almost impossible to communicate today without using them! They add such a rich dimension to our emails and text messages that we’ve revamped the entire set of Windows emojis in the Anniversary Update to be more inclusive, detailed, expressive, and playful. So cut down on your words and let the pictograms do the talking!
Surf easy at night
I love surfing the web when I get up early in the morning, catching bite-sized updates from my social networks and the occasional celebrity gossip. But I can’t tell you how many times my Windows 10 tablet has seared my eyeballs with the light of a thousand suns when I turn it on in the dark! The Windows 10 Anniversary Update adds a dark theme that’s a lot gentler on sight. Just try not to get carried away browsing and remember to get enough sleep!
Your desktops on steroids
Om my daily use of Windows 10, I like to keep my work apps and leisure apps on separate virtual desktops to ensure optimum productivity, but we’re living in a blended world where the two increasingly mix. The Anniversary Update lets me pin a window so that it’s available on every desktop. Now I can Skype both my co-workers about that latest project deadline, and arrange for an after-work beer with my friends on whichever desktop I’m on!
That’s not all – there are tons more new innovations and features coming in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, and it’s all free for existing Windows 10 users!
If you’d already had the opportunity to try the Anniversary Update, we’d love to hear what your favorite features are and in what areas you think we can further improve on, so tweet me at @GuenterWeimer or @MicrosoftAsia!
It’s been an incredible journey for Windows 10 over the past one year, and we look forward to bringing you even more operating system innovations and features that you’ll love.