Microsoft has announced that Windows 8.1 will be coming October 18th via the Windows Store and retail outlets and will be a free update for those who already have Windows 8 installed on their machines.
If you plan on downloading the update via the Windows Store, you can grab the update on the 17th (at 4AM, PDT) as that time aligns to 12:00 AM in New Zealand on the 18th.
Windows 8.1 will bring quite a few new features to the table including the return of the Start button, enhancements to the Modern interface, and a bunch more. Steve Ballmer has referred to Windows 8.1 as a refined blend when making the comparisons of Windows 8.1 to coffee.
Neowin had previously revealed that Microsoft is finishing up testing of the Windows 8.1 platform with the final internal testing date to be August 23rd. With the launch date now set in stone, Windows 8.1 should be hitting RTM very soon, likely in the last week of August. But, at this time, it looks like those of you with MSDN/TechNet subscription may have to wait to get your hands on the update as several reports suggest that Microsoft will not make the update available early to developers.
Windows 8.1 is part of Microsoft’s new cadence to release updates to the platform on a yearly basis. This update, originally codenamed Blue, is a testament to that cadence and we will be interested to see when Microsoft gives out information about the next update that should arrive next year.