We heard reports yesterday that Windows 8.1 will move out of preview and into its final version in October. Rather than let rumors scurry along the underbelly of the Internet, Microsoft has come out to confirm the launch date for its latest OS update.
Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc announced today that Windows 8.1 will be going out to all Windows 8 users on October 17. To be more specific, the company says that it will go live at 12:00 a.m. on October 18 in New Zealand, but the International Date Line will ensure that we get it on October 17.
The report from yesterday mentioned that Microsoft would be working with its partners, who are receiving Windows 8.1 later this month, to release new Windows 8.1 hardware in October. LeBlanc confirmed just as much today by saying that new hardware will be hitting the market on October 18. He doesn't get into specifics, but we're likely to see a bunch of 7 to 8-inch tablets hitting the market on that day.
So, should you be looking forward to Windows 8.1? That really depends on what you want out of a Windows machine. If you enjoy Windows 8, you're going to love Windows 8.1. Microsoft has made a number of changes to the software on both the consumer and enterprise side of things to make the experience smoother while giving users more customization options.
For those who hated Windows 8 before, you're probably not going to see a lot here to like. Microsoft made a big deal about the return of the Start button, but it's only a Start button in name. Upon clicking it, users are taken to the new Start menu instead of the traditional list of programs. Some users may also not be happy with Microsoft deeply integrating Bing into all facets of the Windows 8.1 experience, including local searches for documents and applications.
Despite all this, Windows 8.1 may be the start of regular annual updates to Microsoft's flagship operating system. It gives the company the opportunity to address issues consumers and enterprise customers have with its software and issue regular updates that could one day mold Windows 8 into something that everybody wants to use. Windows 8.1 won't be that update, but hey, there's always Windows 8.2.