Earlier this week we learned that two major features which were presented at Build 2017 as part of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will not be making it into the final product which is expected in the September timeframe.
Windows Timeline and Cloud-Powered Clipboard were presented on the keynote stage during day 2 of Build 2017 along with One Drive Files On-Demand and every indication from the keynote and follow on articles from Microsoft indicated they were planned for this fall's update to Windows 10.
As of today only one of those major features for the Fall Creators Update, One Drive Files On-Demand, appear to be on track to make the shipping version of the update.
Now this is not the first time a briefed and demoed feature has not made its way into the final version of a Windows 10 feature update. Last October we saw My People as a big piece of the October event keynote by Microsoft, this was during the same event which launched Surface Studio, but it also slipped out of the April Creators Update.
Although it was briefed as part of Creators Update at the same event, Windows Mixed Reality software did make it into the shipping version of the Creators Update however, the hardware is still not available to consumers and will not arrive until this fall. In this case the software was ready but the hardware was not yet ready.
Both of these examples show that this quick development cycle that Windows 10 is now on, with two major feature updates planned each year, can be held up on both the software and hardware side of the process.
In fact, even though we are now seeing some new features and product enhancements in Windows Insider builds of Redstone 3, the development branch for the Fall Creators Update, it is all pre-release software and there is no guarantee that those updates will make it into the final product. This is one of the key caveats of the entire Windows 10 feature update development process. Until that final code is pushed out to all Windows 10 users over Windows Update there is no finalized list of new features.
Since we saw these two big headline features pulled from the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update that means we will not see them any earlier than next Spring's feature update which is expected to be known as Redstone 4 in development. Early test versions of Windows Timeline and Cloud-Powered Clipboard should start to show up in the first few RS4 builds after the Fall Creators Update is released.
So with all that said, I decided to run back through the release notes for all ten of the Redstone 3 PC builds that have been released to Windows Insiders since testing began to get an idea of what features are currently being tested and appear to be headed to the Fall Creators Update later this year.
As I mentioned earlier, since all of these features are in a pre-release version of Windows 10, there is no guarantee they will be in the final feature update so this list is a caveat unto itself!
-- Story Remix (Photos App)
-- OneDrive Files On-Demand
-- My People (Previously tested for RS2)
-- Emoji Keyboard
-- Shape Writing for On-Screen Keyboard
-- Xbox Networking
-- GPU Tracking in Task Manager
-- Grouped Processes in Task Manager
-- Fluent Design Elements (Apps, OS UI, Action Center)
-- Find My Pen
-- Dictation Input on Desktop
-- HDR and Advanced Color Settings Page
-- Individual Volume Control for UWP Apps
-- Power Throttling (Previously tested for RS2)
-- Controlled Folder Access/Protected Folders
Enhancements in Existing Features
-- Microsoft Edge (Migration, ePub (Cortana Search & Annotation), Favorites Editing, Pinning Websites to Taskbar, Fullscreen with F11 Key)
-- Handwriting Panel
-- Inking and Pen
-- Storage Sense
-- Calculator Currency Conversion
-- Hyper-V (Sharing, Revert VM)
-- Mixed Reality Enhancements
-- Cortana (Camera Roll Insights, Lasso)
-- Share Dialog (Copy Link, File Explorer Context Menu)
-- Network Connections Properties (Public/Private)
-- Windows Update UI
-- Game Bar Improvements
-- Ease of Access
-- PDF Reader Enhancements
-- Windows Defender Exploit Guard (EMET)
-- Windows Defender Application Guard (Data Persistence)
-- Windows Defender Antivirus (Controlled Folder Access - Protected Folders)
This list consists of feature updates that have been documented by Microsoft and does not list the likely large number of fixes made under the hood to address bugs and tweaks to features/functionality in the operating system.
While there is no doubt that Microsoft wants to headline each feature update with a few big ticket items, in this agile development world, the better commitment from the company would be to clearly communicate their long range plans without committing to a specific feature update. They could then ship the feature in a test build and target an update if the development goes well along the way.
The phrase under-promise and over-deliver comes to mind as a mantra that could serve the company well these days when it comes to feature updates.
Like I said earlier this week, then the tech world will write about the feature not making it into a feature update because it was simply not ready instead of Microsoft not delivering on a promise/commitment they made about the feature.