The latest rumor surrounding Windows 8.1 Update 1 is that Microsoft plans to release the upgrade on April 8 to consumers, the same day Microsoft pulls the plug on Windows XP. Unnamed sources also report that MSDN subscribers will get their hands on the final build on April 2, which is the first day of Microsoft's BUILD 2014 conference.
For the last several months, the release date of Windows 8.1 Update 1 has been all over the place, with rumors claiming that the update will arrive at BUILD, after BUILD, or perhaps sometime in March. This latest release date, provided by Paul Thurrott via Twitter, definitely makes sense given that April 8 will be a "Patch Tuesday," which is a day Microsoft schedules fixes and updates for a number of Windows-based products.
As reported earlier, Update 1 should make life easier for non-touch, mouse and keyboard customers. Features will include the ability to pin Metro apps to the taskbar, a new mouse interface, and new icons on the Start screen including settings, power and search. This update will also make Windows 8.1 more compatible with the school and large business environment.
The update was confirmed on Sunday by Joe Belfiore, vice president of operating systems for Microsoft. During a press conference at Mobile World Congress 2014, he said that Windows 8 originally focused on pushing touch to customers. However, people used to the mouse and keyboard were scratching their heads, annoyed by the new experience. With the new update, Microsoft is hoping to make the experience a bit friendlier to these customers.
"We could see where things were going great, and we could see where [we] could improve things," Belfiore said. He also pointed out that the new update doesn't mean that Microsoft is abandoning touch. If fact, the work to address mouse/keyboard concerns will not have a negative effect on the touch experience.
Belfiore also indicated that Microsoft is making the hardware requirements less strict for device makers, which should help Microsoft saturate the tablet sector with a plethora of new units. Manufacturers can now stuff their Windows 8.1 tablets with 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage, thus addressing the lower-end tablet market with cheaper prices.
Along with Windows 8.1 Update 1, sources have claimed that Microsoft will also launch Windows Phone 8.1 "Blue" and the Metro apps for Office 2013. The Surface Mini might make an appearance as well as the 4G LTE version of the Surface 2.