Microsoft was quiet about several planned features in the Creators Update. Blair Hanley Frank reports
Microsoft showed off a handful of marquee features, which we’ve covered over the past few pages, but the company hid 11 more new releases in its sizzle reel preview of the Creators Update. There’s a lot packed in there, including a new app, plus changes to Edge, Maps, Windows Defender, and more.
The company declined to comment when asked about these features, and they may change or disappear before the update launches this Spring. Fair warning.
1. Groove Music Maker app
It looks like Microsoft is aiming to compete with Apple’s Garage Band home music creation software with a new Groove Music Maker app. It’s been designed to let people mix instrumental and vocal tracks, plus apply basic effects such as reverb.
2. Revamped Windows Defender
Microsoft has focused heavily on improving the security of Windows 10, and it looks like that’s getting a further upgrade with a redesigned Windows Defender coming in the Creators Update. In addition to virus protection, the app also includes ﬁrewall and network protection, computer performance and health, and family safety features.
3. Scrollable rich tab previews for easy switching in Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Edge will get a feature designed to make it easier to ﬂip through a bunch of browser tabs. The video shows a user able to scroll through a horizontal carousel of rich tab previews that show the contents of pages before they’re opened.
4. Set aside tabs in Edge
In a similar tab management vein, Edge will also get a feature that looks like a way for users to save their browser tabs to access later. It’s reminiscent of features such as Apple’s Reading List in Safari, which also lets users keep a list of articles and sites for later perusal.
5. Collections of places in Maps
Microsoft’s Maps app is getting a new section called Collections, which appear to be exactly what they sound like – groupings of places. It also seems like there will be some mechanism in the app for sharing those collections between friends, but it’s not immediately clear how that will work.
6. New live tiles
If you blinked while watching the launch line, you probably missed this information ﬂashing on the screen brieﬂy. The Start menu shows a new Cortana live tile, along with an icon for a Battery Level Live tile. The former seems like a good way for people to get contextual information from Microsoft’s virtual assistant, and the latter seems like a useful tool for people with laptops and tablets.
7. Custom accent colours
People who want to further customise the way Windows looks will be able to pick from a full palette of accent colours, rather than the handful of swatches that Microsoft allows today. It also looks like Windows will tell users when the colour they picked might be unreadable.
8. In-app purchases from the Windows Store home screen
It looks like the Windows Store will get support for selling in-app purchases directly from its home screen. Microsoft is showing both Minecraft in-app purchases and digital items from League of Legends in this screenshot, which could mean that there’s a partnership afoot between the two ﬁrms. That would make sense, considering that Windows and Devices Group chief Terry Myerson name-checked the League of Legends World Championship on stage at the event.
9. Time limits on gaming
This looks like a feature that will be a boon to parents who are looking to keep a handle on the gaming time that their kids have available. A notiﬁcation pops up over this Minecraft footage telling the player that they have ﬁve minutes left, though it’s unclear what happens when their time is up.
10. Redesigned Quick Actions
It looks like Microsoft might be taking this opportunity to at least partially redesign Action Centre’s quick actions capabilities to make it easier for people to do things such as adjust internet settings, volume and brightness.
11. Pick up where you left off
It looks like the Action Centre, which houses notiﬁcations and quick access to settings, will also start giving users the chance to get access to ﬁles they have been working with on other devices. It seems like an attempt to better compete with Apple’s Continuity features in macOS and iOS, which also let people pick up where they left off on their iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and Macs.