Windows 10 Fall Creators Update has other things to offer besides mixed-reality support.
Although mixed reality may be the update’s headline feature, the latest version of Microsoft’s desktop operating system also has things in store for users who may never strap on a headset to explore virtual worlds or partake in augmented-reality experiences. Rather, it’s far more likely that users have an iPhone or Android smartphone close at hand.
So, in an effort to bridge the desktop and mobile computing worlds to allow users to carry around a little piece of Windows wherever they go—Windows 10 Fall Creators Update allows users to start browsing the web and perform other tasks on their phones and continue them on a PC.
In Apple iOS and Android, users can add the appropriately-named Continue on PC option to their stable of sharing tools, enabling them to send websites and the like to their desktops.
On Android, the company is taking matters a step further with its Microsoft Launcher (formerly Arrow Launcher) app. Users can view photos, start a PowerPoint presentation or edit a Word document on their smartphones and use the app to transfer their work directly to their PCs.
To take some of the friction out of collaborating with colleagues or keeping tabs on friends, the new My People feature (originally slated for April’s Windows 10 Creators Update) allows users to pin their favorite contacts to the task bar as they would a Windows application. When a contact is clicked, My People can be used to send an email or initiate a chat without launching the full Mail and Skype apps. For some added flair, any emojis deposited by contacts into a chat appear over their taskbar picture or avatar.
Meanwhile, sharing files with My People is a drag-and-drop affair. Users can drag files directly from Windows Explorer to their pinned contacts, an action that sprouts a streamlined email authoring window based on the Mail app or similar interfaces when used with an app that supports the feature.
Taking a cue from popular picture taking and sharing apps that litter the iOS and Android marketplaces, Microsoft has given its built-in Photos app a modern makeover.
The Photos app now supports filters, animated 3D effects and digital ink. Users can also add a soundtrack and transitions to collect their pictures into a video slideshow. Soon, Microsoft plans to add support for 3D objects, aligning the app with Paint 3D, Mixed Reality Viewer and other 3D-enabled application experiences.
Cortana also gains some new capabilities. Users can now access Microsoft’s virtual assistant from the lock screen and can be used to shut down or restart a PC. Windows Sticky Notes feature now integrates with Cortana, allowing users to set reminders when they jot down events and meeting times.
Windows 10 Creators Update also includes a bevy of new features for users with disabilities. Currently in beta, the Eye Control feature allows people with limited mobility to use the operating system’s onscreen keyboard, mouse and text-to-speech capabilities using specialized eye-tracking cameras. Also included are new Color Filters for colorblind users and updated Narrator software that uses Microsoft’s cloud-based Cognitive Services to generate descriptions of scenes depicted in image files that lack accompanying text data.