Screenshot showing the Story Builder screen of Microsoft's new Story Remix app, part of the Windows 10 Fall Update

Microsoft Unveils The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update With All-New UI

Microsoft has officially announced the next major update for Windows 10 set to land later this year. The significant release includes an expanded set of creator-friendly features and the introduction of a completely overhauled design language.

Microsoft announced the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update during the Day 2 keynote of its BUILD 2017 developers conference in Seattle yesterday. It follows the Windows 10 Creators Update launched last month, continuing the company’s focus on giving creators new digital tools.

Fluent Design

The headline feature of the update is Microsoft Fluent Design System, Microsoft’s new visual language that will redefine the look and feel of the Windows desktop. Fluent Design is a complete replacement of the current Modern Design Language 2 (MDL2), introducing new principles based on typography, motion and spacing.

Fluent has been developed to modernise the design of Windows apps and improve their ability to scale to different device families. The new design language will help to solidify Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform, creating a stable ecosystem where apps behave similarly irrespective of the device they’re running on.

“Fluent Design will deliver intuitive, harmonious, responsive and inclusive cross-device experiences and interactions,” said Microsoft.

OneDrive Files On-Demand

The Fall Creators Update will see OneDrive Placeholders return to Windows. The feature was an important component of the OneDrive app for Windows 8 but was removed before Windows 10’s launch.

Placeholders let you view the contents of your entire OneDrive cloud storage within Windows’ File Explorer, including files that haven’t been downloaded. If you try to open a file that’s only stored in the cloud, it will immediately download.

Screenshot of OneDrive Files On-Demand in the Windows 10 Fall Update
OneDrive Files On-Demand in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. [Image by Microsoft]

When it abandoned Placeholders, Microsoft said users found the idea confusing and sometimes mistakenly thought files were available offline when they were actually still in the cloud. It has faced calls to reinstate the feature ever since, something it’s now doing with the new update.

Rebranded as Files On-Demand, OneDrive Placeholders will return with the next release. Microsoft has improved the iconography to make it more evident which files have been downloaded, overcoming the limitations of the Windows 8 implementation.

Cross-device experiences

Microsoft has added a set of new features that let you work across devices, whether they run Windows, iOS or Android. The capabilities are based on Microsoft Graph, an intelligent part of the Microsoft Cloud that links your activities on different platforms and systems.

Screenshot of the Windows desktop showing a 'Pick up where you left off' alert in the Windows 10 Creators Update
“Pick Up Where You Left Off” in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. [Image by Microsoft]

A new Cortana feature called Pick Up Where You Left Off will let you quickly reopen work open on another device when you move back to your phone or PC. It lets you immediately return to documents and apps you were previously working with, streamlining the transition away from or back to your desk.

“It’s like having your PC and your phone finish each other’s sentences,” Microsoft said.

Microsoft has also added automatic clipboard syncing, letting you copy text on one device and paste it into an app open on another. It also synchronizes to mobile devices so you can copy a link from your PC and paste it into a messaging app on your phone.

Best of the rest – Story Remix & Mixed Reality

The Fall Update will see Microsoft’s long-term aim to increase adoption of mixed reality progress a step further. The company announced that developers in the U.S. and Canada can now pre-order headsets from Acer and HP priced at $299 and $329 respectively, considerably lowering the cost of entry to the emerging technology.

Microsoft also debuted a new Windows app designed to let you revisit your memories by transforming photos into professional videos. Story Remix uses AI to intelligently combine the contents of your camera roll with music and transitions to create a polished video for sharing with friends.

The Fall Creators Update is the fourth major Windows 10 release since the operating system’s original launch in 2015. With a revamped core design and several new cross-device experience enablers, it’s also shaping up to be the most significant to date. According to Microsoft, the update will simplify working with PCs while giving creators more powerful tools to enhance their craft.

Windows Mixed Reality headset connected to a laptop computer
[Image by Microsoft]

“We designed Windows 10 to empower the creator in all of us,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group. “We’re excited for our customers to take advantage of the new features in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update that will empower innovative experiences; a modern, unified design for cross-device experiences; and an easier path for developers to create for the future of computing.”

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will launch later this year. Although official timing hasn’t yet been announced, Windows 10 is now running to a six-month release cadence. This makes a public debut around October the most likely window for the update’s launch.

Windows Insiders can get a first look at the release now by downloading the latest preview build released last night. More features and improvements will be added to the update during the months leading up to its release.

[Featured Image by Microsoft]

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