When Microsoft released Windows 10 in 2015, they promised to continually release free updates to the operating system, full of new features. The latest of those releases, dubbed “The Creators Update”, is set to be released to consumers in April of this year. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the main new features of this update.
3D and Virtual Reality
In this update, Microsoft is putting a focus on 3D. Many of Windows’ already existing apps will be upgraded to integrate 3D images, videos, and modeling. There will also be new apps created solely for this purpose. For example, Paint will have the ability to work with and edit 3D models, a new app called “View 3D Preview” can be used to easily explore models, and Windows will be able to natively print to 3D printers. Microsoft also created Remix3D, a website for people to share and browse 3D models, much like Makerbot’s Thingiverse.
Along with integrating 3D capabilities into desktop apps, Windows will soon have increased support for a range of virtual-reality and augmented-reality devices. HoloLens, Microsoft’s own AR headset, as well as other headsets built by companies such as Dell or Lenovo, can be used with Windows 10 to create augmented reality experiences. Since the headsets are built in partnership with Microsoft, many of them will be able to use the built-in Windows apps which have 3D features.
Cortana, Microsoft’s voice-based virtual assistant, will be able to do a lot more with the update. For starters, it will understand a wide range of new built-in commands, such as turning off the computer, changing the volume, and playing music. Cortana’s reminders have also gotten a boost, letting it set a reminder to occur at certain intervals.
The assistant now has a full-screen mode if it’s activated after being idle from the computer. To active the full-screen mode, stop using the mouse or keyboard for at least ten seconds, and then activate it by saying the usual “Hey Cortana”. This can help if you’re away from your computer and want to talk to Cortana, because it makes it much easier to read the larger text that will show up.
In addition to built-in commands, Cortana will now be able to interact with third-party apps that are installed through the Store. App developers can create commands for Cortana that would let people interact with their apps through the assistant. For example, Uber could let Cortana to call a ride, or you could tell Cortana to open the latest New and Improved video in the YouTube app.
The Creators Update includes two new features for playing games. The first is a brand-new “Game Mode”, which helps boost performance for games. It works by giving more system resources to the game being played, and less to non-essential background tasks, which Microsoft claims will make for faster and smoother gameplay.
Beam, Microsoft’s streaming platform, will now be built into the Xbox App. Gamers will be able to easily broadcast their gameplay on Xbox Live through the Game Bar. However, this feature does not support other streaming services like Twitch or YouTube.
Microsoft Edge will also get a few improvements to make web browser a better experience. There’s an option to show a preview of each open webpage in the tab bar. Edge also gives you a way to “set aside” tabs that you want to get back to later. With the click of a button, the currently opened tabs will be closed and saved to a menu, which can then be used to open them back up later.
Windows 10 will now come with a feature called Night Light (formerly Blue Light), which filters out blue light at night, helping to reduce eye strain and improve quality of sleep. This works similarly to the already available f.lux and iOS’s Night Shift.
Night Light can either be enabled manually or set to automatically turn on at certain times. There’s also a way to change how much it affects the colors on the screen.
The Windows 10 Creators Update is going to be one of the largest updates to Windows 10 yet. It’s large range of new features should make the operating system be more helpful, more useful, and be an overall better experience. What do you think of the update? Do you think Microsoft should change anything before the final release? Let us know in the comments!