Microsoft announced this morning that the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will be made available worldwide on October 17, in step with a new lineup of Windows Mixed Reality headsets that require this release.
“We are coming up on our fourth major update to Windows 10, and our mission with these updates is to create a platform that inspires your creativity,” Microsoft corporate vice president Terry Myerson says. “The next update of Windows 10, the Fall Creators Update, will be available worldwide October 17. With the Fall Creators Update, we are introducing some fun, new ways to get creative.”
The Fall Creators Update will upgrade Windows 10 to version 1709 and it brings a number of new features and improvements, especially to key experiences like gaming, security, and photos. But no new technology weighs as heavily on this update as Windows Mixed Reality, Microsoft’s attempt to take virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) mainstream.
“By combining our physical and digital worlds, we believe mixed reality is the next step in the evolution of human computing,” Mr. Myerson says. “It’s available from a wide range of partners around the world, like Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, and Lenovo, with headsets starting as low as $299.”
The Windows Mixed Reality platform sits somewhere in the middle between smartphone-based VR and PC-based VR, which to date has required an expensive gaming-class PC and a complex configuration. As Myerson notes, it provides “a mixed reality system that is not limited to a mobile device screen size.” But unlike those other PC systems, it is “easy to setup, not requiring you to mount cameras around the room.”
The first Windows Mixed Reality headsets will also be available on October 17 when the Fall Creators Update ships, Microsoft notes.
And so will a wide range of new PCs that run on this new version of Windows 10 and, in many cases, take advantage of Intel’s next-generation Core processors. There are many examples, among them the Lenovo Yoga 920 2-in-1 and Lenovo Miix 520, the fanless Acer Switch 7 Black Edition, Dell Inspiron 7000 2-in-1 and Dell Latitude 12 7285 2-in-1, and the HP ProBook 430 G4. And on the gaming PC front, Microsoft is calling out the ASUS ROG Chimera and the HP Omen X Laptop, both of which provide 144Hz refresh rates.
Myerson also offered a curious couple of comments about Windows 10 S, though no PC maker is yet offering this limited new system on a mainstream device.
“Introduced last May, Windows 10 S is specifically designed for simplicity and security, with significant breakthroughs in battery life and performance,” he says. “It’s off to a great start, with some of our highest customer satisfaction results yet.”
Also left unsaid was why Microsoft was still touting a months old number for Windows 10 usage; Myerson repeated the 500 million figure that Microsoft first announced back in May.
Microsoft also declined to mention anything about the Harman Kardon Invoke, the Cortana-powered smart speaker that may or may not ever ship. Many other smart speakers were announced this very week, but Cortana has been missing in action aside from its submissive role in an Amazon Alexa deal.