Yet another brand new Windows

1/7Yet another brand new Windows
Yet another brand new Windows
While the first keynote address by CEO Satya Nadella focused on Microsoft’s tirades into cloud computing and its Azure cloud service, at the second and final keynote today at Build Conference 2017, Executive Vice President of Windows Terry Myerson unveiled the next major Windows 10 update, bringing in a whole lot of new features which can potentially transform the way we have been using Windows so far.

During the keynote address, Myerson agreed that platform wars have made lives harder for both developers and users. The sudden eruption of walled gardens in Silicon Valley left both stakeholders of applications stranded when attempting a migration from one walled garden to another. Microsoft not only admitted to that difficulty, but also introduced a couple of features to make lives easier for all.

Here is everything Microsoft announced today at the Build Conference 2017

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

2/7Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
The next major Windows 10 update, as the name suggests, is intended to be a minor one. Else we would’ve seen a new name for it. Nevertheless, it is packed with new features and abilities which take personal computing to the next level. First up is a cloud-based cross-platform clipboard that lets you copy stuff from your PC to say, your iPhone. Copy-pasting files, text, etc. from one device to another has been alarmingly tedious. About time Microsoft had a say about it.

Microsoft also introduced a new Timeline feature which is basically a revamped Task View area that displays a list of apps and workplaces you’ve been working on previously. It includes a new ‘pick up where you left off’ which allows users to start an app right where they left it on another device, be it Windows, Android or iOS. Microsoft is counting on devs to include the feature in their iOS and Android apps to allow resuming work on PCs.

Microsoft Fluent design system

3/7Microsoft Fluent design system
Microsoft Fluent design system
With two years of Windows 10 looking the same, a design refresh was long overdue. Codenamed Project Neon, the new Windows design is called Fluent and looks quite Android’s Material Design. Microsoft wants to streamline app design with a singular design structure which will not only look light, but also have depth and animations making applications look delightful on Windows. A big element of the new design is the fact that Fluent is meant to work well on both 2D and 3D platform, indicating Microsoft’s plans to blur the line between its mixed reality endeavours and PC UI.

In future builds, Fluid will also have Surface Pen-only support which will allow users to scroll, scribble, etc. using only a pen. While Microsoft’s previous MetroUI was meant to work well with touch, Fluent was introduced keeping multiple inputs in mind, including VR.

Support for Bash shell for Linux distros other than Ubuntu

4/7Support for Bash shell for Linux distros other than Ubuntu
Support for Bash shell for Linux distros other than Ubuntu
Last year’s announcement of including support for Bash shell along with a Ubuntu-based Linux subsystem right inside Windows was a big win for developers. This time, Microsoft opened it up to allow support for OpenSuSE and Fedora too.

Developers need to turn on the ‘Developer Settings’ in the Settings menu to access the terminal. Windows Store will have the support need for all the three systems. It is also worth mentioning that Windows can now run all three Linux editions simultaneously.

This is a significant step towards Microsoft’s newfound love for the open source, something which the company under Bill Gates had shied away from.

Another big win for developers is Microsoft’s announcement of allowing devs to build as well as test iOS apps straight on Windows. While earlier there was support to build the apps, a developer still needed a Mac to test the apps. Well, not anymore.

A cloud-infused Windows Explorer

5/7A cloud-infused Windows Explorer
A cloud-infused Windows Explorer
The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will finally make cloud storage integrated into Windows Explorer. Your OneDrive files will now show up alongside regular files on Windows Explorer. You don’t have to download them on your PC saving up device storage. The feature is called “Files On Demand” and will give users the choice to access files stored on the cloud like local storage.

It is similar to what Dropbox does with its Dropbox Smart Sync feature which lets you view files and folders directly in the Explorer. Microsoft understands that the more you depend on Cloud storage, the more you need to see all your documents in one place without having to look for them in a separate place.

The feature will not only show up on Windows Explorer but also inside File Pickers in Windows apps. The feature will also save up data as there will not be a need continuous syncing when changes are made.

Machine-learning infused Story Remix

6/7Machine-learning infused Story Remix
Machine-learning infused Story Remix
Microsoft calls it a Creator’s update but it seems to be taking the creativity part as its own with less to nothing left for an individual to actually do anything to produce a work of art. With a new machine learning-enabled application named Story Remix, Microsoft will take your videos, photos and music and turn it into a professional work of art. All you have to do is give the app your photos, videos and the soundtrack for it and it will create a video for you to share. Within seconds. The app will look for scenes with lots of action or where people are smiling to use them as a focus. If there are multiple people in the videos and photos, you can also choose whom to make the ‘star’ of the video. If multiple people take the same video from different angles, Story Remix will take them all into consideration and turn it into a comprehensive, cohesive video.

You can do the same with 3D objects on the Remix 3D platform. The app will launch with the new Windows update.

iTunes will soon be available in the Windows Store

7/7iTunes will soon be available in the Windows Store
iTunes will soon be available in the Windows Store
Lastly, an announcement that is bound to leave execs at Microsoft very happy is that Apple plans to bring iTunes to the Windows Store. Microsoft only recently launched the Windows 10 S operating system which can only support apps found on the Windows Store. As it is, the Windows Store is the poorest among all app stores and expectations were not really high about a reinforced momentum among devs to start building apps for Windows again. But that is likely to change with Apple leading the charge. iTunes on Windows Store is a big, very big thing and is a precursor to the good times Microsoft has in front of itself.