Microsoft has taken the wraps off the upcoming update to Windows 8. Codenamed Windows Blue it's set to release at the end of the year and it has a myriad of new features as ZDNet's Ed Bott has nicely listed and seen.
There are a few features that stand out, primarily the addition of a Start "button", having a catch-all search, and the ability to boot to desktop mode.
These three features show Microsoft is responding to customer feedback and easing customers into familiarity with Windows 8, taking a step back from the "throw them into the deep end approach" that characterizes the current release. These three features help create a bridge from the Windows 7 experience to the new features of Windows 8.
It's great they're changing the default Windows 8 search to show you relevant results in one view rather than have you switch from Apps, Settings, or Files. I don't think anyone ever understood the context-sensitive search that was first introduced in Windows Phone 7 (and then abandoned), and with the general agreement of Apple’s superior desktop and iPhone search functionality, it was an odd choice to splinter the Windows 8 search.
It's also great Microsoft is bringing a Start button back and letting people boot to desktop mode--the primary complaint of users (who are not using touchscreen) has been the difficulty in navigating the “Modern” interface and the jarring transition between classic desktop mode and the tile home screen.
With a start button and straight-to-desktop, users are able to almost never have to fiddle with the tile interface of Windows 8. Perhaps that slows down the adoption of Modern, but it might increase the acceptance of Windows 8, and after all, to get people eventually used to the Modern interface they have to have Windows 8 first.