The Creator’s Update has something for everyone, artists and users alike
The Creator’s Update—so called because many new features cater to digital artists and 3D creators— equips Windows 10 with tools for working in and with real-life objects in 3D. But, if 3D isn’t your cup of tea, read on. The Creator’s Update has changes that affect nearly every aspect of Windows. Here are the high points.
You will (finally!) be able to use voice commands with Cortana from a locked screen. Cortana’s list of commands is growing too. For instance, you will be able to use voice commands to lock, turn off, or put your computer to sleep. Cortana will be able to switch between active apps and pick up where you left off, making multitasking easier. Cortana will be able to set recurring reminders and control the volume and playback for apps like iHeartRadio and TuneIn Radio. Finally, when you say, “Hey, Cortana” while in a room with an idle PC, Cortana’s new mode will make it easier for you to read the screen from a distance.
Edge will start blocking flash content by default, improving page loading speed and overall user experience. You will have an easier time navigating between browser tabs with a page preview feature that lets you see all your active pages at once. Probably the biggest change with Edge is that it will now support VR. You can upload or download 3D images and explore the internet via your HoloLens VR headset.
The Action Center is getting volume and screen brightness adjusters. You will also have an easier time manipulating the features that are already there with improved action buttons.
A Unified Update Platform will make updates less intrusive by only adding elements that have not already been added in previous updates. By not giving users a “whole build” with each update, Windows is significantly reducing their size and the length of time it takes to complete them. Additionally, Windows is now giving you more control over when and how updates happen. You will be able to “snooze” updates for up to three days and reschedule restarts for specific times.
NearShare will allow you to share content quickly and easily with other users who are physically close by using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Direct.
Microsoft is introducing PC Game Mode. This mode activates optimized settings for gaming on any given machine. They’ve also added games heading under Settings. Finally, for interested gamers, they have integrated streaming with Beam (a live-streaming gaming platform) and full-screen support with Windows Game Bar.
Microsoft is adding braille input and output (using specialized displays), new audio narration, and a general boost to the integration of assistive technology.
Groove Music Maker
Music creators will love Groove Music Maker app. Or not. The app, which brings an Apple-like Garage Band® type experience to Windows, has gone missing from the latest Microsoft beta. Rumors are it might be released later in the year.
Lots of us love being able to write, annotate, and draw smiley faces on pictures. Ink is getting new pens and an expanded presence in standard apps.
Changes for organization and customization
The Creator’s Update wants to make it easier for busy individuals to manage all their PC functions. Microsoft seeks to facilitate life, not complicate it. They also recognize that people are spending more and more time with their PCs and it is important to them that the PC “space” be a welcoming one.
Instead of dragging tiles to the bottom of your Start Menu to create new categories, you will be able to drag tiles on top of each other to create new folders, just as you might on your phone. You won’t have to scroll to the bottom to see all your tiles. You will be able to find the tiles you need more easily.
This is also sometimes referred to as “picture in picture.” In short, you can have windows overlapping with active windows, allowing you to more easily view certain things while doing other things. For example, you could have a full Excel screen with a small box in the upper corner playing your favorite TV show while you work on a spreadsheet.
The Creator’s Update will give you more control over your virtual space with greater options when it comes to themes and colors. You will be able to download themes from a wider selection in the Windows store. You will also be able to customize your space with a larger spectrum of colors.
Changes for privacy and security
Microsoft knows that a PC is only as good as the tools it has to protect itself. They’re seeking to provide ordinary users with state of the art security that is as functional as it is creative. They also want to give users more control over if and when their personal information is accessed.
The new Windows Defender Security Center will be easier to navigate and have more functions than the current Windows Defender dashboard. It will monitor not only security threats, but also device performance metrics, making it easier for you to view storage space, battery life, and more. Finally, it will allow you to manage preferences that could affect security like SmartScreen filters and the treatment of unrecognized apps.
Dynamic Lock (also called Windows Goodbye) detects the location of your phone via Bluetooth. It does this to determine if you’ve left your computer or not. When it determines that you have left your computer, it waits thirty seconds and then locks your computer.
Microsoft is implementing some new features in the Creator’s Update to allow you to make more choices regarding your privacy. You will be given better explanations for why Microsoft collects certain types of data and the option to enable to disable the collection of some of this data
You will soon be taking 3D pictures with your Windows phone and import them into Windows apps for immediate use. A salesperson might use the picture as animation in a PowerPoint presentation. An artist might enhance, animate, and even print the image in 3D. A gamer might see and interact with the image in a virtual or mixed-reality world. The possibilities are endless; we are only seeing the beginning of a completely new way to interact with our digital devices.
3D is the reality of the future
The Creator’s Update will make Windows PCs compatible with Microsoft’s virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) headsets. (VR shuts out your immediate environment while MR, or hybrid reality, uses clear glasses that overlay information from a computer). Look for headsets, priced from around $299, to hit the consumer market en masse later this year.
VR technology (of all types) is set to change how we interact with digital devices, and this update is a big step toward that future. Soon you will be able to explore VR content directly in your browser, decorate your own space with 3D objects that you created in Windows, and even take HoloTours (holograph tours) of places like Rome or Peru, to name but a few of the amazing choices you will soon have.
Mobile specific changes
The Creator’s Update is not just for desktop PCs. Mobile devices and tablets will enjoy many of the same features, including the ability to buy e-Books from the Windows store and the ability to defer updates to a more convenient time. However, some features are also specific to mobile devices. Users will be able to zoom and scale text in Edge more easily. They’ll also find that their devices integrate better with each other, making it easier for their phone, tablet, and PC to share information.
All in all, the Creator’s Update is about two things. First, it seeks to bring the future into the home with easier access to virtual reality, augmented reality, and better adapted artificial intelligence. Second, it recognizes that the PC is more than just a tool, it is an inherent part of everyday life.