Microsoft announced today that the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update—Windows 10 version 1709—is now publicly available following a six-month development cycle.
“The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update offers breakthroughs in creativity, from bringing mixed reality and 3D to the masses, to faster broadcasting for gaming, to turning photos and videos into real memories, and so much more,” Microsoft corporate vice president Yusuf Mehdi notes. “The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update can be experienced on a wide variety of Windows 10 PCs and on a range of Windows Mixed Reality headsets available for the first time today.”
As Mr. Mehdi points out above, Microsoft can make a far better case for the “creators” naming on this release than it could for its predecessor, the Creators Update. More important than the branding, however, the Fall Creators Update is also a more significant upgrade than the previous one, with new features that should please almost any Windows user.
That said, Microsoft’s biggest push in this release could be among its least compelling: The Fall Creators Update is the first to incorporate native virtual reality (VR) capabilities into Windows. It’s not clear if this software, called Windows Mixed Reality, will ever see mainstream adoption, but its release has already had one intended effect: Competitors such as HTC Vive have already lowered prices and announced less complicated VR products in a bid to match Microsoft and its hardware partners.
On that note, the first Windows Mixed Reality headsets and motion controllers are also available starting today from companies like Acer, Dell, HP, and Lenovo. Prices start at $399 for headsets bundled with motion controllers.
“It’s so exciting to see so many components coming together to introduce the world to mixed reality, from innovative and affordable new Windows Mixed Reality headsets to technology to experience mixed reality on your PC,” Mr. Mehdi writes. “Now you can enjoy travel, sports, live concerts, and gaming like never before in your own virtual home with content from over 20,000 apps in the Windows Store.”
Microsoft also points to improved support for 3D objects, faster game broadcasting, improved digital inking capabilities, better security and privacy control, various Microsoft Edge improvements, phone integration functionality, and even Eye Control as notable updates in this release. But the most impressive changes, for many, are hidden in the Photos app, which includes a cool “remix” feature for creating digital movies from photos and home video, plus 3D effects, ink integration, transitions, and other video editing capabilities.
What’s not clear is the schedule: The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update may start rolling out today, but based on previous releases, many users won’t see it appear on their PCs for weeks or even months to come. That’s all by design, Microsoft says, as it has an overarching goal of quality and reliability. And, of course, the next Windows 10 feature update, currently codenamed Redstone 4, is expected just six months from now. In many ways, the upgrade train just keeps on rolling.