Microsoft just released the first major update for Windows 8.1 last week, but apparently the second could be right around the corner.
According to a report by ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, her sources indicate the second major update for Windows 8.1 could come in August. The update is part of Microsoft’s increasing effort to speed up the release cycle for its flagship operating system, Foley says, which would be in line with previous leaks about a rapid release cadence.
It’s not clear if Windows 8.1’s second major update would include the revamped Start menu, though it seems highly likely. A recent rumor indicated the Start menu would return before the end of the year. What likely won’t be included, Foley says, is the ability to run Metro apps windowed on the desktop, which Microsoft also previewed at its Build 2014 conference this month.
Windowed Metro apps could arrive in time for Windows 9, which is still likely targeted for an early 2015 release. Beyond that, Foley claims Microsoft is still working toward releasing a unified Windows SKU that would run on both smartphones and small tablets. The new Windows SKU wouldn’t include a desktop, she states, and it “is unlikely to be Windows RT as we know it.” ARM-powered devices would likely be the SKU’s primary target.
The updates appear to be a way for Microsoft to better distinguish between PC and tablet users, which would go a long way toward easing some of the tension created by Windows 8’s interface quibbles. Users have long complained that Metro isn’t appealing for devices without touchscreens, while the desktop has remained a largely unnecessary aspect of Windows RT, as it has primarily been used a legacy mode for the ARM-powered operating system.