Today, Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider Preview build 16273 for PC to Windows Insiders in the Fast and Skip Ahead rings. Also of note: The firm is supplying some guidance on how new builds will arrive over the next few months.
Quick version: They will happen more quickly … in the Fast ring.
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“As explained when we introduced Skip Ahead, we have ‘forked’ the release into its own branch we call ‘RS3_RELEASE’,” Microsoft’s Dona Sarkar explained today. “We are now at the point of the development cycle for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update where our focus is now on stabilization for release to the world. This means that we intend to release these builds to Insiders more quickly to both the Fast and Slow rings as these builds we include mostly bug fixes.”
So that’s Fast ring. But as you may recall, Microsoft opened up that new Skip Ahead ring back in late July when it forked Windows 10 development, allowing a limited number of users to start testing Redstone 4 (version 1803) rather than the Fall Creators Update (Redstone 3, or version 1709). How does this change impact Skip Ahead?
“For Insiders who joined Skip Ahead, we will continue to release builds from the RSPRERELEASE branch but they won’t be released at the same pace as builds from RS3RELEASE,” Ms. Sarkar says. “Since we are just now beginning development for RS4, Insiders will soon notice a jump in build numbers just like we did early in RS3. Also because we are just beginning development for RS4, Insiders shouldn’t expect to see a lot of big changes or new features just yet.”
The gotcha? The Skip Ahead ring is “full,” meaning you can’t join this ring anymore anyway. So this applies only to those who already joined Skip Ahead.
OK, moving on. There is a new build afoot. So what’s new?
Not much, which makes sense given how late we are in the cycle. But Microsoft did introduce a few minor new features in build 16273. And they are:
Emoji notifications in My People. You can now send emojis to your contacts using the new My People feature in the Fall Creators Update. Because this is new functionality, Microsoft is providing a Windows Insider Emoji Bot that you can add to your contacts to test emoji notifications.
New Bahnschrift font. Microsoft has released its first OpenType Variable Font, called Bahnschrift, in build 16273. “This new font industry standard enables us to pack an entire typeface family into a single file with infinite variability,” Sarkar says. “No longer are you constrained to simple weights like Light, Regular, and Bold. Now you can have an infinite range of font styles, with smooth interpolation from Light to Bold and beyond.” They save on disk space too.
Other improvements. Microsoft has fixed a number of issues in the Windows shell, Microsoft Edge, Windows Input, and more in this release. Curiously, the firm did not provide a “known issues” list, which I find irresponsible. And it hints, I think, at the fact that this version of Windows 10 will ship with more issues than most would be comfortable with. I assume they’re relying on Windows as a service to get those issues fixed over time.