Yesterday, Microsoft finally detailed Windows 10 19H2, explaining that it will arrive as a cumulative update rather than a full build. The first preview is already available in the Slow ring. The news came as no surprise, since Xbox Insiders have been testing the update for months.
But it also drove people to speculate that this is the new norm for 'H2' updates, meaning the feature updates that ship in the fall. Ideally, there would be a big, major feature update in the spring, and a fall update that comes in the form of a cumulative update, focusing on quality.
While this could certainly be the case, Microsoft isn't saying so. As you'd probably expect, the company says that it's trying something new. If it works out, it may continue to do it in the future. If not, this will be a one-time thing.
"Given the scope of the 19H2 release, we’re taking the opportunity to try something new in an effort to continue to improve the Windows 10 update experience," said a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to Neowin. "This may provide us future flexibility to offer a balanced range of Windows 10 feature update delivery methods including OS swaps as well as servicing technology (like the monthly update process)."
If you're wondering why it's the second update of the year that gets delivered this way instead of the first one, that's not random. The fall update is the one where Enterprise and Education SKUs of Windows 10 get 30 months of support, rather than the 18 months provided by the spring update. Obviously, businesses and schools are going to want the more stable of the two.
It does seem likely that this can be the path going forward. The H2 release, at least for this year, is really what used to be called a Service Pack. With competitors like Apple and Google only delivering yearly major updates for their desktop and mobile operating systems, it makes sense for Microsoft to do the same for Windows 10.