Since the recent public leak of Windows 8.1 build 9374, we've seen a trickle of information showing some new features we can expect when the update launches. There may be more Start screen customization options in Windows 8.1, as well as a less intrusive search Charm, and a Kiosk mode that allows you to "lock down your device in a single immersive app experience".
The Kiosk mode is of particular interest, and may be enhanced by some new APIs that can be found within Windows 8.1. A Tipster to Neowin discovered that there are numerous new APIs relating to point-of-service (POS) devices, including the porting of POS for .NET to WinRT, allowing the control of various POS devices - such as barcode scanners, receipt printers, card readers and so on - in Modern UI apps.
This seems to indicate strongly, along with the new Kiosk mode, that Microsoft is gearing up Windows 8.1 to deliver new point-of-sales experiences through the 'Modern' touch-friendly interface. Other API features found in Windows 8.1, including better VPN support in the networking stack, increased support for Smartcard authentication, extended USB peripheral support and native scanner inputs, also will benefit enterprise customers.
The tipster also discovered that Windows 8.1 integrates a geofencing API for the creation of geographically sensitive apps, and that there is a potential new namespace for the remote controlling of cameras (both video and still) known as Windows.Media.Devices.
Windows 8.1, codenamed 'Blue', is expected to launch later this year following a full unveil at Microsoft's BUILD 2013 conference, which should see an official Public Preview of Windows 8.1 released to the public.
Thanks for the tip, anonymous tipster!