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12-05-2017

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: everything you need to know

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Microsoft has announced the latest update to Windows 10[1], the Fall Creators Update, and with it some surprises – including iTunes on the Windows Store and cross-platform syncing with the iPhone and Android devices. No, hell hasn’t frozen over.

What?

It’s called the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, which is the second in Microsoft’s new twice yearly update strategy to try to keep the operating system fresh and exciting and not the dowdy old Windows[2] many remember.

It follows on from the original Creators Update[3] that started rolling out to Windows 10 users last month, and while parts of it are tools to be more “creative”, the most interesting bits will be Microsoft’s new commitment to spreading its tentacles on to the iPhones, iPads and Android devices people actually use, rather than the Windows 10 mobile phones they don’t.

When?

It’s called the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update for a reason; it should be available in the autumn. Precisely when Microsoft won’t say, as it’s still a work in progress, but it will be before winter, so October at the latest.[4]

Story Remix

New movie-making app Story Remix. Photograph: Microsoft

New from Microsoft, Story Remix is movie-making app that takes your photos and videos and turns them into so-called stories with their own soundtrack, theme and cinematic transitions. It appears to be a cross between Apple’s iMovie, Google’s Photos stories with a pinch of Snapchat thrown in for good measure.

It’s powered by the cloud which means it’ll work on Windows, Android[5] and iOS and you can start on one device and finish on another.

iTunes on the Windows Store

With Windows 10 S[6], if it’s not on the Windows Store you won’t be able to run it, which meant no iTunes – until now. Microsoft announced that Apple is bringing iTunes to the Windows Store. You will be able to sync your iPhone, iPad and play iTunes movies on a Surface Laptop[7].

Hell freezes over … iTunes is coming to the Windows Store. Photograph: Microsoft

Microsoft Graph

Microsoft has realised that it can’t win in mobile against the might of Apple’s iPhone[8] and the popularity of Android devices, so since they can’t beat them, they’re joining them. Microsoft Graph is that effort, which uses Microsoft’s cloud to keep everything in sync across multiple platforms and devices, from Windows to iOS and Android.

Timeline

Timeline is best described as a time machine. It allows you to go back in time on your PC and see what you were working on across files, apps and sites, and then jump back to that time to continue doing whatever it was you were doing. It’s like an expanded task view, but going back further than simply what you’ve got open that very moment.

Pick Up Where You Left Off

Working like a cross-platform version of Apple’s Continuity[9], Pick Up Where You Left Off (PUWYLO) lets Windows users open documents, sites and other bits they were working with on Windows 10 on an iPhone or Android. Open a Word document, for example on your Windows 10 computer, save it and open it straight from your phone via the Cortana app.

It’s one of the best features for Apple users who have both a Mac computer and an iPhone or iPad. If Microsoft can make it work well across Windows, iOS[10] and Android, it could be a killer feature.

OneDrive Files on-demand. Photograph: Microsoft

Clipboard

The Windows clipboard will get a cloud-powered upgrade that will allow you to copy something on your Windows 10 computer and paste it on to your Android or iOS phone or tablet. If that sounds familiar, it is, because like PUWYLO, Apple has an iCloud-powered clipboard, which allows you to copy something on a Mac and paste it on to an iPhone or iPad. It’s great, when it works.

OneDrive Files On-Demand

OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage system that’s baked into Windows and is available on both iOS and Android, but until now it has primarily worked as a syncing system that mirrors files stored locally to the cloud. With Files On-Demand, OneDrive will store things in the cloud with only links to those files stored locally on the computer, downloading them as and when you need to access them.

It means they don’t have to take up space on your hard drive unnecessarily, but can be stored locally if they’re needed while you’re offline. If it works it could make OneDrive much more useful as a way to offload files from a storage-constrained computer, although cloud storage[11] has its own issues.

References

  1. ^ Windows 10 (www.theguardian.com)
  2. ^ Windows (www.theguardian.com)
  3. ^ original Creators Update (www.theguardian.com)
  4. ^ Microsoft (www.theguardian.com)
  5. ^ Android (www.theguardian.com)
  6. ^ Windows 10 S (www.theguardian.com)
  7. ^ Surface Laptop (www.theguardian.com)
  8. ^ iPhone (www.theguardian.com)
  9. ^ Continuity (www.theguardian.com)
  10. ^ iOS (www.theguardian.com)
  11. ^ cloud storage (www.theguardian.com)

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