Microsoft's Next Windows Update Puts Spotlight on Creativity
By Shirley Siluk / CIO Today. Updated October 31, 2016.
Set to roll out in early 2017, Microsoft's next major refresh for Windows 10 is being dubbed the Creators Update for its heavy emphasis on painting, 3D imaging and other creative tools.
Microsoft announced the coming arrival of the Creators Update during a special event in New York that was streamed live on Wednesday. During the event, Microsoft also debuted several new devices scheduled to begin shipping early next year, including the Surface Studio, a large desktop screen that can be folded down to create a flat design surface, and the Surface Dial, a design accessory that can be placed directly on the Studio's screen to seamlessly bring up a virtual color palette and a set of digital tools.
Other new devices unveiled at last week's event include three new models of the Surface Book laptop and a variety of virtual-reality headsets that will be released by Microsoft partners such as Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo.
In addition, Microsoft plans to release new tools and apps like Paint 3D, Office apps to support 3D modeling and inking, and Windows MyPeople to let users pin their favorite contacts to the Windows task bar for faster and easier messaging and document sharing.
3D Capabilities 'for the Masses'
Arriving as a free update to the more than 400 million devices that already run Windows 10, next year's Creators Update will introduce a range of new capabilities for users, including the ability to create and share images in 3D, become a game broadcaster and use Microsoft's Edge browser on the HoloLens augmented-reality headset.
For example, through a proof-of-concept developed with the home design and renovation firm Houzz, Microsoft has shown how the Edge browser can be used to let customers "preview" home products in 3D before deciding on purchases.
In addition to updating its long-standing Paint tool with Paint 3D, Microsoft will also roll out something called Remix 3D, an online community that will enable users to share their creations with others and "bring 3D content to the masses," Windows and Devices Group vice president Terry Myerson said in a blog post last week.
Beyond that, Microsoft's coming update will extend 3D support to all of its Office applications, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. And the MyPeople feature will introduce something called "Shoulder Taps" that will let users view notifications, instant messages, shared documents and more from their favorite contacts from a single location.
Gutenberg Press Effect
The coming new devices and tools reflect Microsoft's "aspiration to empower a new wave of creativity," according to Myerson.
"With Windows 10, our goal is to have the effect of the Gutenberg Press on this next generation of computing, enabling 3D creativity, mixed reality, and eSports & game broadcasting for everyone," Myerson noted. "We believe there is a special alchemy when a device and software pair perfectly to create something new -- a profound experience that can create an entirely new category."
That new category will arrive in the form of the Surface Studio, a 28-inch display that can be used in either an upright or folded-down position. Available with either an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and in 1 TB or 2 TB models, the Surface Studio will feature anywhere from 8 GB to 32 GB of RAM and a 13.5-million pixel display in 4K ultra HD. Starting at $2,999, the device is currently available for pre-ordering and can be used with a keyboard, mouse, Surface Pen or the new Surface Dial.