Microsoft wrapped up its New York Windows 10 event a few hours ago and the two-hour keynote packed a lot of announcements about upcoming Windows 10 features, new Surface hardware and more. As usual, these kind of fast-paced events are a bit hard to digest and if you’re looking for a good summary of everything Microsoft unveiled today, the company just helped us by highlighting its top announcements from the conference.
The future of Windows 10
The Windows 10 Creators Update
Following the release of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update last summer, the next major Windows 10 release will be called the Creators Update and will be available as a free update in early 2017. While Windows Insiders already had a chance to test some new features and improvements in recent preview builds (codenamed "Redstone 2"), this upcoming Creators Update, as it names suggests, will turn the lights on designers, makers, and content creators. Expect to read a lot about 3D design, game streaming, and more in the coming days and weeks.
MyPeople, a faster way to share on Windows 10
Before we dive into all the content creation stuff unveiled today, Microsoft highlighted today an interesting feature coming in the Windows 10 Creators Update that will make it easier for everyone to share content their favorite contacts. With a new feature called MyPeople, it will possible to pin favorite contacts to the Windows 10 task bar and drag and drop any content on the thumbnails to share what you want via email, Skype, SMS (via Skype SMS relay feature) or more. You can see how this will work in the image below.
Game streaming with Beam and gamer-created tournaments on Xbox Live
While gaming was not the main focus of the event, we did learn that Microsoft is making good use of Beam, the video game live streaming service it acquired back in August. For those unfamiliar, Beam is a Twitch-like service with a twist: compared to its popular competitor, it uses a low-latency technology and also allows the audience to interact with game streamers and ask them what they want them to do in real time.
With the Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft will integrate Beam right into Windows 10 PCs and the Xbox One and allow gamers on both platforms to start broadcasting their gaming sessions almost instantly. Additionally, the company also announced the addition of custom, gamer-created tournaments to the Xbox Live’s Arena feature that became available in the Xbox One Preview program earlier this month.
Paint 3D and Remix3D.com
3D Design was a big focus during today’s keynote as Microsoft officially announced Paint 3D, an updated version of the legacy app that will allow everyone to design 3D objects. As you can expect, the app will first be available to Windows Insiders in the Fast Ring.
To give content creators an easy way to share their creations, the company also announced the online community Remix3D.com. "Remix 3D will enable all new scenarios for creators to share their 3D creations broadly with the Remix 3D community," the company explains in the blog post. However, be aware the community is currently only open to users in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand for now.
3D support and new inking features in Office
The Office apps will also support 3D models in the Windows 10 Creators Update. When used with carefully selected animations, 3D models can really bring a new sense of immersions to your presentation as you can see in the image below.
The Office apps will also get new inking capabilities including Ink Editor in Word which allow users to easily highlight and delete content. You can get more details on this features on the Office blog.
Upcoming Creators Update VR headsets from partners
Following its 3D push, Microsoft announced that it has partnered with several third-party OEMs including HP, Lenovo, ASUS, Dell, and Acer to bring a new range of affordable mixed reality headsets to the market. These headsets will be standalone devices and will be "the first VR headsets capable of mixed reality through the Creators Update," the company explained. Not a lot is known about these new devices for now though we learned during the keynote that prices will be as low as $299.
New Surface Book models
While Microsoft did not announce a new Surface Pro 5, it did unveil a new portfolio of Surface Book hybrid laptops with even more premium specs (and prices). All three models come with a 6th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M 2GB GPU and up to 16 hours of battery life. Prices start at $2,399 for the model with 8GB of RAM with a 256GB SSD, and you can pre-order one here.
The Surface Studio, an all-in-one PC for creative people
The brand new Surface Studio was probably the most anticipated product of the event. As expected, it’s an all-in-one PC with premium specs and stylish looks, but the new member of the Surface family has been mainly designed as a "creative studio" for artists and content creators. Like all existing Surface products, it’s highly versatile and can "transform from a workstation into a powerful digital canvas." You can already pre-order one over here, but be aware that the base model will cost you $2,999 USD.
The Surface Dial, a radial haptic input device
Lastly, Microsoft introduced an interesting companion device for its Surface Studio all-in-one PC called the Surface Dial. It’s a radial haptic input device that you can place on the screen on a Surface Studio to interact with all kinds of content in many ways such as rotating a 3D model, picking colors or more. Interestingly, the Surface Dial should also work off-screen with any PC running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. The device is already available for pre-order today for $99 USD.
Overall, the event was an amazing demonstration of how Microsoft continues to push boundaries with Windows 10 and its Surface brand. As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella explained in an interview with the Wall Street Journal earlier this week, Microsoft is "a company built for the builders of the world" and all the new 3D capabilities in Windows 10 plus the new Surface Studio will likely please all the content creators using the company's products in their daily lives. On a different note, the absence of any Windows 10 Mobile news was pretty obvious though that was to be expected as the company said many times this year that mobile was not its priority right now.
If you missed the event and want to watch the full live stream, you can now do so on this page. Let us know in the comments which of these announcements made you the most excited today.