Microsoft reveals new Windows 10 features coming in fall update

On day 2 of its Build 2017 developers conference, Microsoft announced a name for its fall release of Windows 10 and showed off a few new features that will be in that update. A surprise announcement: iTunes is coming to the Windows Store.

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Microsoft's next Windows 10 feature update now has a name: the Fall Creators Update.

And as that name telegraphs, it also has an approximate due date. In the new semi-annual release schedule for Windows 10, this will almost certainly be version 1709, finished in September and delivered via Windows Update starting in October.

(Microsoft won't yet commit to those dates, however, saying only that the Fall Creators Update will arrive "later this year.")

In today's keynote address for the second day of the Build 2017 developers conference in Seattle, Microsoft executives also announced some of the features that will be in the Fall Creators Update, which was previously code-named Redstone 3.

The most obvious change will be a new design language called Microsoft Fluent Design System. Previously code-named Project Neon, this is the latest refinement of the ongoing work that started years ago as "Metro style apps." This iteration adds shading, blur effects, and animations to the Windows interface and to apps.

More information about the Fluent Design system is available at http://fluent.microsoft.com/.

The company also showed off a new Universal Windows app, Windows Story Remix, designed to blend photos and videos into stories with a soundtrack, theme, and cinematic transitions.

In other app news, Microsoft dropped a bombshell with the announcement that iTunes will be coming to the Windows Store this summer, as a converted desktop app, making it possible to run iTunes on all Windows 10 editions, including Windows 10 S. Other new entries in the Store include Autodesk Sketchbook and SAP Digital Boardroom.

Other new features announced work not just with Windows but with mobile devices running Microsoft apps on Android and iOS devices:

Timeline - This feature is an extension of Task View. Microsoft touts it as a way to scroll through a time-based representation of what you've been doing and "hop back into files, apps, and sites as if you never left."

Pick Up Where You Left Off - A partial implementation of this feature already exists in current Windows 10 builds. The idea is that Cortana can help you keep track of what you're working on and offer to resume working on a document or working with an app when you switch from a mobile device to a PC or vice-versa. (Expect Mac users to call this a knock-off of Apple's Handoff feature in MacOS.)

Clipboard - This venerable Windows feature will work across devices, Microsoft says, allowing you to copy a map link, a paragraph of text, or an animated GIF and exchange it between a mobile device and a Windows PC.

OneDrive Files On-Demand - Microsoft executives say this is the single most requested new feature in the new update. It brings back the "placeholders" feature that was abruptly dropped in early preview releases of Windows 10. With this update, Windows 10 users will once again be able to open File Explorer and see a full representation of all files stored in OneDrive, regardless of whether they're synced locally.

Other features aimed at enterprise users will be in the Fall Creators Update as well, most notably Windows Defender Application Guard, which uses Hyper-V virtualization to isolate potentially dangerous web content in containers that can't interact with the rest of the PC or network.

Some of these features are already in preview builds for Windows 10, delivered to members of the Windows Insider Program. Based on previous development cycles, it's likely that most of these features will appear in preview builds in June and July, allowing Microsoft to finish testing and development work in time for a fall release.

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