With Windows 10's release Microsoft is clearly shaking up its traditional business and software models, delivering an OS for free to consumers (mostly) and continuing its shift to an all-internet distribution model. It's also disabled the user ability to indefinitely delay updates (a security risk). Users who want control will have to deal with Microsoft playing remote admin and protecting their PCs from mlaware.
Another key shift is the move towards more granular, faster-paced updates, a shift from its traditional model in which many users opted out and would eventually receive a year or more worth of updates in a Service Pack. It's calling its new monthly updates "Service Releases", according to a report by The Verge.
Reportedly the first Service Release (SR1) will land by the end of August. SR1 isn't expected to bring any new features; it will mostly consist of bugfixes based on the first full month of usage of Windows 10 in the wild. One focus of SR1 -- in addition to fixing outright bugs -- will be to boost Windows 10's battery life. Terry Myerson, Microsoft's executive vice president of the Windows and Devices unit, told The Verge:
We are ... I want to be able to say it's the best battery life, but right now we're about equal to Windows 8.1 updates. We're pushing for some fixes to say we're better. Still, 8.1 update had very good battery life, so we're in no way stepping back.
Bigger things are expected to land in SR2 -- tentatively scheduled for October.
Microsoft's Drew DeBruyne who manages the Edge programming team told the Verge:
The intention [of Edge extensions] is that there’s not much work to do, or zero work to do [porting from other browsers]. We’re doing a lot of work to essentially support the same APIs that Chrome does.
Developers will be able to sideload extensions for testing purposes. But most users will get their extensions direct from the Windows 10 Store, the same place as they would ordinary apps. This is an approach that Google and Mozilla both appear to be creeping towards. However, Microsoft will likely be the first to integrate extensions into their primary OS app store. It raises an interesting question -- might Microsoft also allow extensions for third party browsers in the Windows Store. I'll leave that stone unturned for now, but I'm betting that will become a source of some discussion in the near future.
Another key feature destined for SR2 is an integrated messaging client which Neowin claims is known internally as "Threshold Wave 2". The new client will integrate bits of Skype directly into Windows 10 as as OS level app capable of basic rich text messaging, audio VoIP calls, and video chats.
Next year will bring more major Service Releases in a series of upgrades dubbed "Redstone", which we've been hearing about for some time now. Microsoft strongly hints that this sort of upgrade-wave strategy may replace its traditional OS release cycle. Myerson states:
There's no one working on a Windows 11, but there's a group of people working on some really cool updates to Windows 10 that the Windows insiders will see soon.
While that doesn't say it absolutely, the implied message may be that Windows 10 will be Microsoft's last numbered OS release on the consumer end, ever evolving and receiving updates to become bigger, better, faster, and stronger.