Microsoft today announced that it will release the free Anniversary update for Windows 10 on August 2, meeting its delivery goal of on or around the one-year anniversary of the original Windows 10 release.
I spoke with Microsoft’s Terry Myerson about this milestone, and about the major new features the Anniversary update brings to Windows 10.
“We have a vision for more personal computing,” Mr. Myerson told me, “that it can be more natural, more secure, and more mobile. And we’ve made great progress, with our hardware partners releasing over 500 new Windows 10 devices and Windows Store growing to over 7 billion visits in the past year.”
Myerson then outlined the six main areas of focus in the Anniversary update, which are:
Windows Ink. While there are millions of Windows devices in the world with digital styluses, Windows 10 has thus far provided a semi-scattered Ink experience. So the Anniversary update features a new Windows Ink Workspace that provides an obvious starting point for the new and improved Ink-enabled apps and experiences in this release.
Cortana improvements. Microsoft’s digital assistant gets a big upgrade with the Anniversary update. She’s now available above the lock screen, enabling select capabilities without unlocking the device, visual and proactive reminders, and cross-device support for notifications.
Microsoft Edge improvements. Microsoft’s new web browser enters the big leagues in this release with support for extensions, improved Cortana capabilities, major power management advantages over other browsers, and a new accessibility architecture that supports modern web standards.
Security improvements. Windows 10 is already the most secure Windows yet for both consumers and businesses, but the Anniversary update adds Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection and Windows Information Protection for enterprises, improvements to Windows Defender, Microsoft’s free anti-malware service, and Windows Hello support in apps and Edge.
Gaming improvements. The Anniversary update brings a number of exciting game-related advances, including Xbox Play Anywhere support (buy a game once and play it on both PCs and Xbox One), a unified Store experience between Windows 10 and Xbox, Cortana support on Xbox One, and more.
New tools for the modern classroom. With the Anniversary update, educators receive new classrooom management tools, faster login times for shared PCs, and and new generation of inexpensive ($180 and up) devices aimed specifically at education.
To celebrate the release of the Windows 10 Anniversary update—and to mark the end of the free Windows 10 upgrade, which is still set for July 29, 2016—Microsoft and its partners are also offering a variety of special summer deals for students.
Myerson told me about two of the offers, though there are more coming soon.
Through August 14, students can save $300 when they purchase an Xbox One and Surface together at the Microsoft Store (retail or online). Or, students can get a free TV when they purchase a Dell PC that costs $700 or more.