After weeks of rumors, we finally have some official dirt on the next major Windows 8.1 update—which, as we expected, isn't going to be very major at all.
In fact, according to this post on the official Windows blog, there technically won't be any such thing as Windows 8.1 Update 2. Microsoft explains:
[R]ather than waiting for months and bundling together a bunch of improvements into a larger update as we did for the Windows 8.1 Update, customers can expect that we'll use our already existing monthly update process to deliver more frequent improvements along with the security updates normally provided as part of "Update Tuesday." So despite rumors and speculation, we are not planning to deliver a Windows 8.1 "Update 2."
With that said, Microsoft goes on to note that we can expect some "new features and improvements" this next patch Tuesday, August 12—which is when the rumor mill claimed Windows 8.1 Update 2 would surface. The planned enhancements will include:
- Precision touchpad improvements – three new end-user settings have been added: Leave touch pad on when a mouse is connected; allow right-clicks on the touchpad; double-tap and drag.
- Miracast Receive – exposes a set of Wi-Fi direct APIs for Independent Hardware Vendor (IHV) drivers or OEM drivers to develop Windows 32-bit applications that run on all supported x86-based or x64-based versions of Windows 8.1, enabling the computer as a Miracast receiver.
- Minimizing login prompts for SharePoint Online – reduces the number of prompts with federated use in accessing SharePoint Online sites. If you select the “Keep me signed in” check box when you log on for the first time, you will not see prompts for successive access to that SharePoint Online site.
So, yeah. Just as underwhelming as expected.
The latest reports suggest we'll have to wait for the next major Windows release, Windows Threshold, for serious changes and improvements, especially on the UI front. Threshold is expected to bring back the Start menu, and as we mentioned yesterday, it may also add virtual desktops to the mix.
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