Microsoft announced that the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will be released on October 17. The company said that its partners' Windows Mixed Reality headsets will start to roll out on the same day, which should make it feel like Christmas in October for anyone interested in XR.
The Fall Creators Update was announced at the Build developer conference in May. Unlike its predecessor, the Windows 10 Creators Update that debuted in April, this next version of Windows 10 actually includes more tools and features designed for "creators." Microsoft introduced Story Remix to help people make videos with AI and MR, updated its Photos app, and continued to push developers to support Windows Mixed Reality.
But not everything revealed at Build will arrive with the Fall Creators Update. The hyped Timeline feature, which allows you to work across multiple devices by keeping your apps and files in sync, won't arrive with the update. Story Remix's best features were also pulled out of the Fall Creators Update, though Microsoft corporate VP for Photos and Videos Chris Pratley said that they'll be available via the Windows Store.
The Fall Creators Update will also bring with it various improvements to accessibility, security, and other core aspects of Windows 10. On the gaming front, Microsoft said that the update will improve Game Mode by allowing "your games to use the full processing power of your device as if it was an Xbox game console, right from a new button on the Game bar." (Maybe it wasn't the best idea to compare a gaming PC to an Xbox.)
Microsoft seems most excited about Windows Mixed Reality. As the company said in its announcement:
By combining our physical and digital worlds, we believe mixed reality is the next step in the evolution of human computing. For the first time, we are talking about a mixed reality system that fully immerses you in the experience not limited to a mobile device screen size. One that is easy to setup, not requiring you to mount cameras around the room, just put the headset on your head, plug it into your PC and get started, leaving your hands free to interact with the mixed world.
That sentiment doesn't come as a surprise. Microsoft has become increasingly fixated on XR, as shown by its decision to rebrand Windows Holographic and to use the new Fluent Design system to prepare all of Windows for the shift from monitors and keyboards to devices like HoloLens. Launching the Fall Creators Update alongside Windows Mixed Reality headsets from Acer, Dell, and other companies is also telling.
Now we know all of that will be going down on October 17. Well, that's when everything will start rolling out, at least. Microsoft has experimented with staggered rollouts of Windows 10 updates—the Creators Update was only recently made available to everyone—and the company said "all of these new devices from our partners will start to become available." (Emphasis ours.) October 17 is the starting line, not the finish.
Good luck. I can remember people saying that before the turn of the millennium.
TLDR: Don't complain about Windows updates if you use Linux
On the other hand, I'm glad that Microsoft is investing in the future in a substantial way even if adoption is slow. If new technologies were only being worked on by small third party developers, the stagnation would be practically impenetrable. Things will get more interesting faster like this, so rejoice.
I personally had to junk an old 10 year old laptop recently (last week) because Windows 10's latest update broke a bunch of stuff but when I went online and saw "Hey.... a laptop that has twice the power of this old laptop is only 300 bucks!" I was not moaning anymore!
We need to stop expecting Microsoft and other corporations to support stuff forever except in two situations: For military hardware (which is designed to last at least 50 years) and for very specific mission critical equipment at a large business (which after 25 years you should be thinking of revamping so that you are not caught behind the "Cannot get parts" phenomenon).