Improvements to Windows' security, browser, digital assistant and more are coming on 2 August.
One of the important things about Windows 10 is that it is the 'final' version of Windows. Departing from the previous practice of releasing a new version every few (or several) years and charging users to upgrade, Microsoft has said it will instead release new features and capabilities two or three times a year. Combined with the familiar monthly release of security and other fixes, this is the 'Windows as a service' model.
The next update will be the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which Microsoft has just announced will be coming on 2 August 2016.
Among the improvements, Windows Defender will allow scheduled quick scans for malware, notifying users if any threats are found.
Cortana – Microsoft's digital assistant – will be available from the lock screen. It also gains new ways to remember information, and provides synchronisation across devices. (Microsoft wasn't clear about when these improvements will be made available to Australian users.)
Windows Hello is being extended to provide password-free secure access to apps, and to work with the Windows Edge browser for biometric authentication (where supported by the site concerned).
Windows Ink – Microsoft's technology for digital pens – is more broadly supported, including in Office, Edge and Maps.
Edge gets a bunch of improvements to reduce its consumption of power, CPU cycles and memory. Given the amount of time many of us spend in a browser these days, this has to be a good thing. One way this is achieved is by minimising the impact of background activity and Flash content. Also, Edge Extensions such as the Pinterest Pin it Button and the Amazon Assistant will be available from the Windows Store.
Edge also has a new accessibility architecture that allows page structure and content to be exposed more clearly to assistive technology. There's also a high-contrast mode for web pages (helpful for certain vision issues), and improvements affecting the use of screen readers when filling in forms.
The update also includes other enhancements, such as improved enterprise security features, simpler school PC installations and more Xbox integration.
"When we introduced Windows 10, our vision was not only to deliver the best and most secure version of the OS ever, it was also to create an experience that would keep getting better, said Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Windows and Devices Group.
"The Windows 10 Anniversary Update is a great example of this – and we look forward to building on it even further in the future."
Microsoft also reminded people that the free upgrade offer for Windows 10 (from Windows 7 or 8) ends on 29 July.