Windows 10 Anniversary Edition is coming this summer, adds a bunch of new features

Microsoft announced Windows 10 Anniversary Edition today at the Build 2016 developer conference, giving developers and users a look at upcoming changes to Windows. The update will include more Windows Hello features, push the Windows Store front and center with a tool for converting traditional Win32 apps, and offer all sorts of new features for Windows Ink: Microsoft’s stylus support.

This free update is coming this summer, but will be available to Windows Insider subscribers soon.

The keynote began with a quick burn on Apple.

The keynote began with a quick burn on Apple.

“On behalf of the entire Windows team, we’re happy to welcome all of these customers to Windows 10,” said Terry Myerson, Microsoft VP of the Windows and Devices group. “Whether they have a new PC, a five-year old PC, or a brand new Mac, welcome, join us, on Windows 10.”

Myerson was clearly making a reference to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who recently said it was “sad” that so many people are still using 5-year-old PCs. But the keynote quickly pivoted to talk about new features in Windows 10, notably about changes to the Windows Store.

Ever since Windows 8 there have been two kinds of Windows apps: the traditional Win32 applications most of us spend our days using, and the apps that have been referred to as “Metro,” “Modern,” “Windows 10 Store,” and “Universal” apps at one point or another. These Universal apps are offered in the Windows Store, and take advantages of APIs that other applications don’t have access to, doing things like interfacing with Cortana and showing updates in the Start Menu via their icons.

Windows-10-Anniversary-Edition_006

But Microsoft is announcing that Win32 applications can now be submitted to the Windows Store, thanks to a new technology that will convert them into Universal apps. Such developers will also have access to the Windows 10 APIs.

“Every innovation … is only as powerful as the ecosystem that rallies around it,” said Kevin Gallo, Director of Windows Developer Platform at Microsoft. The company is hoping these changes will bring more developers to the Windows Store ecosystem.

The most visually interesting updates related to Windows Ink, Microsoft’s stylus for touchscreen devices. A showy presentation by Bryan Roper demonstrated the upcoming new feature, and managed to do the impossible: make sticky notes interesting.

“We want to combine the naturalness and the speed of a piece of paper with the power of the PC,” said Roper.

During the presentation Roper wrote, by hand, “Call mom tomorrow” in a sticky note. Windows 10 recognized the word “tomorrow” and instantly highlighted that in blue, then added a reminder to Cortana to “call mom” with a deadline of “tomorrow.” Other features included markings on a mountain map staying in place on when the topography was rotated.

windows-ink-map

A particularly cool feature that editors will love: markup done with Ink becomes actionable in Word. For example: if you cross out text, Word will delete it.

“I’m going to re-visit some childhood trauma here with teachers marking red on my paper,” joked Roper, before crossing out a bunch of text. It disappeared with a smooth animation.

There’s also Ink integration with PowerPoint, allowing you to use a ruler to draw straight lines and other design elements.

The virtual ruler was everywhere: a new app called Sketchpad that offers all sorts of Ink integration, including that and other tools for drawing free-hand in a precise way.

“The tech is not getting in the way, it’s enabling, and that’s the goal,” said Roper.

Another new feature: third party apps will be able to take advantage of Windows Hello, meaning transactions can be confirmed using biometrics. Support for this feature is also being added to Windows Edge, and websites can implement support for the feature. USAA is also going to support the feature.

But developers who want to confirm identity within their Windows apps will also have access to the fingerprint scanner and other biometrics features supported by numerous PCs.

It’s going to be interesting to see how these and other developments turn out, and we’ll be watching closely. Stay tuned.

Computing

Microsoft to separate Cortana from search with the next version of Windows 10

Changes are on the way for two key features in Windows 10. A separation of Windows 10 search and Cortana will allow Microsoft to more often innovate on each of the features independently.
Computing

Still miss Windows 7? Here's how to make Windows 10 look more like it

There's no simple way of switching on a Windows 7 mode in Windows 10. Instead, you can install third-party software, manually tweak settings, and edit the registry. We provide instructions for using these tweaks and tools.
Computing

Microsoft is getting ready for a coming wave of foldable Windows 10 devices

Windows 10 might soon have a new look. A leaked string for an internal Windows 10 19H1 build shows that Microsoft is getting ready to build Windows 10 for a future wave of foldable devices.
Computing

Go hands-free in Windows 10 with speech-to-text support

Looking for the dictation, speech-to-text, and voice control options in Windows 10? Here's how to set up Speech Recognition in Windows 10 and use it to go hands-free in a variety of different tasks and applications within Windows.
Computing

You could be gaming on AMD’s Navi graphics card before the end of the summer

If you're waiting for a new graphics card from AMD that doesn't cost $700, you may have to wait for Navi. But that card may not be far away, with new rumors suggesting we could see a July launch.
Computing

Is AMD's Navi back on track for 2019? Here's everything you need to know

With a reported launch in 2019, AMD is focusing on the mid-range market with its next-generation Navi GPU. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.
Computing

Cortana wants to be friends with Alexa and Google Assistant

Microsoft no longer wants to compete against Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant in the digital assistant space. Instead, it wants to transform Cortana into a skill that can be integrated into other digital assistants.
Computing

Microsoft leans on A.I. to resume safe delivery of Windows 10 Update

Microsoft is leaning on artificial intelligence as it resumes the automatic rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update. You should start seeing the update soon now that Microsoft has resolved problems with the initial software.
Computing

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.
Computing

It's not all free money. Here's what to know before you try to mine Bitcoin

Mining Bitcoin today is harder than it used to be, but if you have enough time, money, and cheap electricity, you can still turn a profit. Here's how to get started mining Bitcoin at home and in the cloud.
Computing

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. This list of the best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.
Computing

What is fixed wireless 5G? Here’s everything you need to know

Here's fixed wireless 5G explained! Learn what you need to know about this effective new wireless technology, when it's available, how much it costs, and more. If you're thinking about 5G, this guide can help!
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

Fix those internet dead zones by turning an old router into a Wi-Fi repeater

Is there a Wi-Fi dead zone in your home or office? A Wi-Fi repeater can help. Don't buy a new one, though. Here is how to extend Wi-Fi range with another router you have lying around.