Fresh from having installed and checked out the Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft has announced the next big update for their operating system. It is imaginatively titled the ‘Windows 10 Fall Creators Update’ and is expected this fall. How about that?
The intent in this update seems to accessibility. New UI changes, better Narrator, better help for the visually impaired and some updates to Timeline, OneDrive, Clipboard, Story Remix and something called Pick Up Where You Left Off. It seems that this update will impact all users rather than creative ones this time round.
Windows 10 Fall Creators Update UI changes
The headline feature in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will be the new look. Using something called Fluent Design, Microsoft aims to align all Windows 10 devices. The exact details are a little thin on the ground but Microsoft have said to expect fewer static boxes and more animations.
Windows 10 will also purportedly lose the title bar and borders which will be a massive change for an OS built around, well, windows. Control Center is also thought to be getting a makeover too. Images of a new layout were leaked online but were taken down within hours. Not before we got a look but all references to it seem to have since been removed.
Timeline is a new feature that is coming with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. It apparently builds on Task View and creates a type of browser history style system where you can see what apps you have open right now but also what you were working on the day or week before. The system will apparently use Microsoft Graph, which is a big data tool.
Timeline sounds useful but there is the potential for us having to share even more of our lives with Microsoft. If all our activity is uploaded to Graph, anyone with access to that data can see exactly what we did and where we went on our computers. While I can see the productivity potential, I do hope we also get the option to turn it off.
Pick Up Where You Left Off
Timeline ties in with Pick Up Where You Left Off, another new feature that uses Microsoft Graph to allow you to continue with a piece of work across devices. This is more useful for business users but has potential for the rest of us too. Say for example, you’re working on an essay in Word on your desktop and have to go to school. You can continue working on that same piece on your laptop or phone without having to copy it across.
According to Microsoft, you will also be able to continue working on something even if you use an Android or Apple device. Again, this has a lot of potential for seamless working but assumes you are happy sharing everything you do or create in the cloud. Again, here’s hoping for the option to turn it all off should we need to.
OneDrive Files On-Demand
OneDrive Files On-Demand is a feature that will allow you to work on files stored in the cloud without having to download or sync them. This again is another productivity feature that has benefits for those who work on their computers or use them for business.
This should make working with files and folders easy as they will be displayed regardless of whether they are stored locally, synced or purely in the cloud.
Clipboard has real potential. It is another cloud-powered feature that will allow you to copy and paste between devices, including between Windows and iOS. It will work similarly to Apple’s Universal Clipboard but will work across operating systems. So if you find a great website or want to share a quote from your Windows PC to your iPhone, you will be able to do just that.
The Clipboard feature will not only arrive in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update but will be implemented in Microsoft Office too.
Story Remix is a creative tool that allows you to annotate video and images, add graphics, draw with Windows Ink and transition into 3D. Details are a little thin on the ground at the moment but it looks to be an extension of the new photo features we saw in the April update.
If you use a touchscreen or Windows Ink enabled device, you will be able to get creative with photos and videos to your heart’s content.
Windows 10 Fall Creators Update accessibility enhancements
I mentioned at the top that the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will be bringing extra help in terms of accessibility. This is good news for impaired users as it should make it easier than ever to benefit from technology.
The first improvement is with Narrator, Windows 10’s screen reader. It will be upgraded with a learning mode which will allow users to query different commands instead of trying them out. So rather than having to try the command out to see what happens, users will be able to find out first. There is also supposed to be some improvement to the Braille capability too.
Windows Magnifier is also getting some attention. It will use a new system that follows the Narrator across the screen to make reading easier. It will also be upgraded with new fonts and animations to make everything clearer. New prediction tools will also be introduced to make the entire process of using Windows 10 easier than ever.
Finally, a new color mode will be introduced to make it easier for colorblind users to use their computers. This will presumably make it easier for them to differentiate between icons, windows and programs.
So far, the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is a mixed bag. It contains a lot of good stuff for those who use their computer for work and for impaired users. For the rest of us, the features announced so far are not very exciting. Hopefully, Microsoft will have more announcements as we get closer to release.