Update, 7/3/17, 11:35am PT: Microsoft clarified that Timeline wasn't originally slated for the Fall Creators Update and that this "wasn't a delay, just a bit of confusion on wording." The company had previously said that several new features announced at Build would "begin to roll out with the Fall Creators Update." This was supposed to mean that some features would debut with the major OS update while others, including Timeline, would arrive later. Still, now we know for sure that one of the more exciting features from Build won't arrive with the Fall Creators Update.
Original article: 7/3/17, 10:35am PT:
The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update might not have as many features as expected. Joe Belfiore, the corporate vice president of Windows, said in a tweet that the Windows 10 Timeline revealed at the Build 2017 developer conference won't debut until after the Fall Creators Update.
Timeline seems like a mashup of the Continuity and Time Machine features Apple built into macOS. Just like Continuity, Timeline is supposed to make it easier to work across multiple devices by keeping them all in sync. And much like Time Machine, the feature also offers easy access to earlier versions of a file, which could prove useful if you accidentally save over something in an important document. Timeline will also work with the Cortana AI to keep everything in sync across Windows 10, iOS, and Android devices, as long as you have Cortana installed on those last two.
Those capabilities make Timeline a key part of Microsoft's push to become the center of your digital life. The company has largely given up on competing with Apple and Google in the smartphone market--that's why Office, Cortana, and other services jumped over to iOS and Android. Instead of being the only tech company in your life, Microsoft wants to be the most useful tech company in your life. That will require playing nice with other operating systems, making it easy to use Microsoft services across devices, and making Windows 10 stand out from its competitors.
Timeline could help with all of those things. Its connections to Cortana help it go wherever the digital assistant goes. Keeping everything in sync across devices makes it easier to imagine editing a document across a tablet, laptop, desktop, and other devices without too much hassle. It would also give Windows 10 access to features that macOS users have enjoyed for a while, which can allow the operating system's other advantages to shine. Timeline, perhaps more than any other addition coming in the Fall Creators Update, had the potential to reach the most people.
Or at least it did. Now it seems like Timeline won't reach most Windows 10 users for a while. Belfiore said in his tweet:
Timeline won't be in the Fall Creators Update. We're planning for it to be in early insider builds shortly after FCU is out.
We're going to have to apologize in advance for this pun. Here goes: Now we don't have a concrete timeline for when Timeline will finally debut. (Thanks for sticking with us.) Microsoft hasn't revealed when the Fall Creators Update will debut, but members of the Windows Insider Program have gained access to more and more features over the last few months. Even if the Fall Creators Update is released in September, if Timeline isn't expected to reach Fast ring members of the Windows Insider Program until "shortly after," Timeline could still be a long way from ready.
We reached out to Microsoft to confirm Belfiore's statement and learn more about Timeline's delay and will update this post if the company responds.