Microsoft knows what kinds of devices that it wants its OEM partners to create, and at its WinHEC conference in China last month, it told them. You won't find the answers surprising at all, as it's a push for all of the things that we've been hearing about, such as pen support, Windows Ink, and mixed reality.
The emphasis is on the "Modern PC". Microsoft says that there are over 600 million Windows devices in use that are over four years old. This is actually an interesting statement, as the company has been working on getting people with older PCs to upgrade for some time (you might recall "PC does whaaat?"), but four years old now includes early Windows 8 devices. By this standard, if you've got the original Surface Pro, you won't have a Modern Device in eight days when it turns four years old.
Of course, the Modern PC has a "cool design" and "new experiences". The device types that Microsoft wants to see haven't changed, and they include 2-in-1s, all-in-ones, and ultrabooks. You'll notice from the image above that Microsoft wants OEMs to use two or more "hero features", such as Windows Hello, touch and pen, and Cortana with far-field speech capabilities.
During the presentation, the company said that the "Creators Update is tailor-made for PCs", so if you're wondering why 3-in-1s aren't listed there - an example of which would be HP's Elite x3 - it's because Windows phones weren't mentioned at all, nor were any other type of Windows device. The Creators Update was designed with the PC form factor in mind.
Aside from the various PC form factors that Microsoft wants OEMs to create, there are also different device types.
PCs for the modern creator include detachable and convertible devices that support active pen and touch input. They should also include "world-facing and user-facing cameras", so in other words, a rear and front camera.
Modern peripherals are something that Microsoft has been trying to get companies to build for sometime, as there are very few devices that you can add to your PC to support Windows Hello. But aside from Hello, these would also include mice, keyboards, Surface Dial-type devices, and more.
And then there are PCs that can power mixed reality headsets. The company was clear that this doesn't just include desktops, but also laptops, 2-in-1s, and more. Interestingly, Microsoft said that while the Creators Update will only bring mixed reality support to devices with a discrete GPU, integrated GPU support will be coming by this holiday season, so likely in the Redstone 3 feature update.
Next are PCs for gamers and media fanatics. These include support for DirectX 12, Xbox peripherals, HDR displays, and a "standout design".
Finally, IoT devices for verticals. These would be various devices for smart home, manufacturing, and retail scenarios.
You can watch the full presentation below: