Category Archives: Windows Blog

Windows Blog

Introducing Surface Book 2, the most powerful Surface Book ever

When you think about Microsoft and you hear our mission – to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more – it’s powerful. As product makers, we have to believe in the reasons we build our products. From Office to Windows to Surface, this is a notion that drives us.
As a team we work together to create products with seamless interactions from the silicon to the software. You see this across the entire Surface family – Pen, Dial, touch, voice – they opened so many doors to allow people to work and create in new ways.
When we launched Surface Book two years ago we set out to build the most powerful and versatile laptop, to breakdown the boundaries between what you can imagine and what you can create, and we’ve been so inspired by how people have used Surface Book through their entire creative process.
But people still want more, and creators continue to push the limits of what technology can do. So, we built the laptop of the future for the creators making the future. A laptop powerful enough to fuel the next wave of computing across mixed reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and immersive gaming.  A laptop that empowers the designers, developers, artists, and scientists to imagine and build without limits and without compromises. To achieve more.
We can’t wait to see what you will do with Surface Book 2.
Introducing the new Surface Book 2 – the most powerful Surface laptop yet

Surface Book 2 removes the barrier between the desktop and the laptop by giving mobile professionals the power of a desktop, the versatility of a tablet, and the freedom of a light and thin laptop in one beautifully designed device. Whether you’re a developer, a digital artist, a designer, or an accountant, you can bring your ideas to life anywhere, because Surface Book 2 is a portable powerhouse.
We made no compromises building the most powerful Surface laptop ever. When the team talks about Surface Book 2 they call it Beauty and the Beast. Gorgeous design meets unstoppable power in this laptop. With the latest 8th Gen Intel Core processors and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 and 1060 discrete graphics options, Surface Book 2 is up to five times more powerful than the original and is twice as powerful as the latest MacBook Pro. All this power and Surface Book 2 still provides all-day battery life – up to 17 hours of video playback. That’s 70% more than the latest MacBook Pro.
The new level of performance provided by Surface Book 2, along with the all-day battery life is what will continue to make this product perfect for product designers, gamers, architects, and developers who need the power of a desktop but crave the mobility of a laptop that doesn’t weight 8-10lbs. Surface Book 2 with the 13” weighs 3.38lbs and the 15” Surface Book 2 at 4.2lbs, there has never been this much computational power in a mobile form factor this light. This is a product that can stay with you from the moment your inspiration strikes to making it a reality.
You can show off your meticulously designed PowerPoint deck or complex Pivot tables in Excel with Surface Book 2’s stunningly vibrant and crisp PixelSense Display with multi-touch, Surface Pen, and Surface Dial on-screen support. You won’t believe how much the colors and 3D images will pop in PowerPoint on these machines. The 15” Surface Book 2 delivers almost seven million dazzling pixels – 45% more than the MacBook Pro – giving artists and professionals alike amazing pixel density on an even larger creative canvas.

In product making, we believe every detail matters. And you see that come to life in the detachable display and hinge of Surface Book 2, which has been redesigned to provide a smoother, faster detach into Tablet or Studio Mode. And when you detach to sketch an idea or watch a video, the Surface Book 2 turns into the world’s thinnest and lightest 8th Gen Intel Core i7 PC, giving customers a powerful portable studio for those who want a single, device that can follow you from concept to sketch to creation. Surface Book 2 brings you a full array of ports, including USB-A, USB-C, and full-size SD card reader which makes it easy to connect other devices, accessories and memory cards without the need for a bag full of dongles.
The best of Office and Windows
Whether you’re a finance manager running Excel models with millions of rows of data, an animator using 3D and morph transitions to present in PowerPoint, or a writer using the Surface Pen and intelligent ink to edit in Word – we developed Surface Book 2 to remove the boundaries between your ideas and creation. Giving you the seamless integration you need to do even more extraordinary work.
All that power and versatility also make this the ideal laptop for some of the most exciting features of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. The Photos app will give you new ways to personalize and share your visual stories. And a range of new experiences allows you to create and interact with 3D objects. Use them in PowerPoint, Word, Excel, or the Mixed Reality Viewer app to view 3D in the real world. The Fall Creators Update is also the best version of Windows for PC gamers, giving them the performance boost of Game Mode and access to faster streaming through Mixer, experiences that show beautifully on Surface Book 2.

Great PC gaming and Windows Mixed Reality experiences
Surface Book 2 is designed to play as hard as it works. So when you’re done with work for the day and you want to game, Surface Book 2 is powerful enough to handle the most popular PC games at 1080p and 60 FPS – in some cases matching the graphics performance of game consoles like Xbox One. With built-in Xbox One Wireless support on the 15” you can pair your Xbox One controllers and compatible headsets to play with no cords or additional dongles required. And with so much innovation in the mixed reality space, we’re proud to share that Surface Book 2 is ready for Windows Mixed Reality Ultra. Connect a compatible headset and controller for apps and experiences with crisper visuals and a higher refresh rate (90 frames per second), including the highest-performance VR games.

The power to create
From the early days of Surface Pro to the launch of the original Surface Book, we’ve had incredible feedback from photographers and artists who loved the ability to shoot tethered or draw on a super portable device that could also run Adobe Creative Cloud desktop applications. The power of Surface Book 2 will help artists and professionals across the creative spectrum take their work to the next level. More power means faster renders and effects so you can make quick edits and decisions to get you to your finished work. And a deeper partnership with Adobe means even better integration between Surface Book 2 and the Adobe Creative Cloud, including new Surface Dial functionality coming to Photoshop to keep you in your flow and let you easily access and modify your most frequently used brush settings.
As a team, we believe that products are a reflection of the people who make them, and the people who use them. We put our heart and soul into building a laptop of the future, for people who want to create the future – creators who see no limits, data scientists designing deep neural networks, engineers, architects, movie makers, and gamers. Surface Book 2 is a tool for everyone who wants to achieve more.
And I’m so pumped to get these products into customers’ hands. To see what you will do with the most powerful Surface laptop. Be the first to experience and pre-order the Surface Book 2 at a Microsoft Store or retailer near you. Surface Book 2 13” will be available for pre-order beginning November 9th in the United States and additional markets around the world, along with Surface Book 2 15” in the United States at your local Microsoft Store and Microsoft.com. Delivery will begin on November 16th.

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and mixed reality headsets available today; Announcing Surface Book 2

From the initial launch of Windows 10, we’ve been on a mission to empower the creator in all of us. We believe in the fundamental human need to create to propel the world forward.
Today, we deliver the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update offering breakthroughs in creativity – from bringing mixed reality and 3D to the masses, to faster broadcasting for gaming, to turning photos and videos into real memories, and so much more. The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update can be experienced on a wide variety of Windows 10 PCs and on a range of Windows Mixed Reality headsets available for the first time today.
We believe the PC is the ultimate canvas for creativity and can empower people to create like never before. This is why we are building Surface to be the ultimate laptop and are delighted to introduce the Surface Book 2, the most powerful Surface yet.

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is packed with new innovations including, new Inking experiences like inking directly on PDFs, a new Find my Pen feature, Continue on your PC with Cortana or your phone’s browser including, Microsoft Edge for seamless Windows experiences across devices, enhanced security and privacy features, and improvements in accessibility, including Eye Control. I’m excited about these innovations and in particular four big bets that deliver on our vision for creativity:
Mixed reality for the masses
With the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, we introduce mixed reality to the masses. With mixed reality, we seek to fundamentally improve the way you create, communicate and play. You can transcend time and space and immerse yourself in any environment, helping ideas break free from the boundaries of paper or screens.

Until now, any practical use of mixed reality required the use of a headset and for immersive virtual reality, you had to mount cameras in the corners of your home. And you couldn’t take your headset with you to a friend’s house or your workplace.

That changes with the availability of Windows Mixed Reality headsets. For the most immersive mixed reality experience, our partners, Acer, Dell, HP, and Lenovo are launching the very first Windows Mixed Reality headsets today, beginning at $399 for headsets bundled with advanced motion controllers. Samsung’s innovative mixed reality headset, the Samsung HMD Odyssey, will become available on November 6th. Windows Mixed Reality headsets are the only headsets that don’t require you to drill holes into your walls and you can take them on the go.
The Fall Creators Update also includes the Mixed Reality Viewer, which brings mixed reality to the PC. By simply using the camera on your PC, you can see 3D objects mixed into your actual surroundings – people, places, things, or anything you can imagine.

It’s so exciting to see so many components coming together to introduce the world to mixed reality, from innovative and affordable new Windows Mixed Reality headsets to technology to experience mixed reality on your PC. Now you can enjoy travel, sports, live concerts, and gaming like never before in your own virtual home with content from over 20,000 apps in the Windows Store.
3D offers next boost to human productivity
3D will offer the next major boost to human productivity, enabling a next generation of computing that moves far beyond the 2D world we’ve been confined to. This is so powerful because 3D is truly representative of the world you live in – improving the way you comprehend, retain, and learn.

With the Fall Creators Update, we enable anyone to create in 3D. Over 100 million people use Microsoft Paint every single month and now with Paint 3D they can all become 3D creators – easily manipulating objects, creating and sharing in 3D. With the Fall Creators Update, you can now bring 3D objects into your Office files, including PowerPoint presentations and Word documents, to dramatically improve your storytelling and improve comprehension. Objects can rotate and animate within your presentation. And with the Mixed Reality Viewer, you can easily drop your 3D creations into the physical world. 3D is great for students, professionals or anyone who wants to create.
Gaming becomes even more interactive
Gaming is the fastest growing form of entertainment because it is incredibly interactive. And, gaming has never been more popular on Windows, with nearly 200 million monthly active users gaming on Windows 10.
In fact, with an explosion of interest in eSports and interactive game streaming, more people spend time watching gameplay than actually playing games. We launched Mixer, the only near real-time, interactive game streaming service, to help everyone broadcast, watch or interact with other gamers.

With the Fall Creators Update, we are making Mixer even better – you can now launch and jump into a game stream faster than before. And Game Mode enables gamers to access more power of the PC and dedicate it to games, delivering a more performant gaming experience on Windows 10.
The next era of gaming is coming this fall with the new improvements in the Fall Creators Update, immersive gaming experiences for mixed reality, and the upcoming launch on November 7 of Xbox One X, the world’s most powerful console built for true 4K gaming.
Creating memories with photos & videos
Photos and videos have never been more popular on Windows, with more than 250 million active users of Photos on Windows 10. Trillions of photos and videos exist digitally, but how do we ensure these precious images can be retained as memories?

Our Photos app is totally reimagined in the Fall Creators Update, so you can easily convert photos into memories and stories with personalized 3D effects, Ink, transitions, and video – no editing experience required. You can take photos from your vacation and simply and easily edit them into a collage of photos and videos with a soundtrack, theme, Ink, and cinematic transitions. And with 3D, you can make objects dynamic, like a soccer ball bursting into flames as it passes the goalie and soars into the net.
Announcing Surface Book 2
The PC is the platform to power the next wave of creativity and Surface is the tip of the spear of innovation to help drive this next wave forward.

One of the most powerful ways to experience the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is on the Surface family of devices. We are building Surface to be the ultimate laptop, infusing versatility, performance, and design into every product we make and creating a stage for the best of Windows and Office. More than ever there is a need for a class of high-performance devices that don’t compromise the versatility and style of a laptop customers want.
Today, we’re excited to introduce the latest in the Surface family: Surface Book 2 – a powerhouse laptop with amazing graphics and up to 17 hours of battery life. Now available in a 13” and 15” option, Surface Book 2 is the most powerful Surface we’ve ever built. With the latest 8th Generation Intel Dual-Core and Quad-Core processors and NVIDIA GeForce GPUs, Surface Book 2 has up to five times the graphics performance of the original Surface Book and is twice as powerful as the new MacBook Pro.
But more than just raw power, Surface Book 2 is built for the way you work and create. It gives you the power of a laptop, the versatility of a tablet and the freedom of a portable studio all in one beautifully styled device.
Surface Book 2 is powerful enough to run professional software like Adobe, Autodesk, and Dessault flawlessly and plays popular PC games at 1080p, 60 FPS, including demanding titles like Forza Motorsport 7 and Gears of War 4.
Surface Book 2 joins Surface Laptop and Surface Pro to round out a strong portfolio of laptops that are designed to not only allow people to experience Windows Mixed Reality and gaming, and be productive anywhere, but to empower the artists, designers, developers, and engineers who are leading the next wave of creative innovation.
The new Surface Book 2 laptops start at $1499 and will be available for pre-order on November 9th in the US, with the 13” also available in additional markets. To learn more about Surface Book 2, visit Panos’ blog post.
The need to create has never been more important. We want Surface to continue to inspire and enable creativity and we’re excited to work with our partners to deliver incredible modern devices. The Windows ecosystem fosters incredible innovation, and this holiday, there will be a range of beautifully designed and feature-rich devices. These include new Windows 2-in-1s, laptops, all-in-ones, gaming PCs that feature Intel’s new 8th Generation Intel Core processors, the latest NVIDIA GPUs enabling Windows Mixed Reality experiences, long battery life, and OLED and 4K screens for the most stunning visuals.
From new PCs from Surface or our partners, new Windows Mixed Reality headsets and motion controllers – to the world’s most powerful console in Xbox One X – you can choose a Windows device to empower the creator in you.

Xbox releases the Fall Update for Xbox One today

It’s been a busy summer for everyone at Team Xbox. Back in August we gave you a first look at the fall update for Xbox One, and we showed off the new Home, Guide and Community tabs. Since then, we’ve been working with Xbox Insiders to gather feedback, test and refine tons of new features that we’re releasing worldwide starting today. Keep reading for some of the highlights, and head over to Xbox Wire for much more!

You can personalize your “Home” more than ever before. Add your favorite games, friends, Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Game Pass, etc. directly to your Home screen with a new concept that we call blocks; easily discover new things, such as friend activities, leaderboards, LFG posts, quick links to Game Hubs, and tips across both your console and Xbox Live at the top of Home; choose dark, light, or high-contrast theme option in Settings; and more.
You’ll experience a fast, powerful and convenient Guide. It’s now faster and easier to move left and right through tabs with the left thumb stick or bumpers; new flyout menus allow you to get into deeper levels of detail within Guide without losing context of where you are and what you are doing; active parties and broadcasts now show up on the main Guide tab for faster access to controls; the new “Friends in games” flyout allows you to quickly find friends playing the same game as you; and more.
Don’t worry about missing any actions when you step away from your console. With the enhanced the notification system, when your Xbox One is idle, time-sensitive activities and status are visible from far away, and Xbox One’s new notifications provide at-a-glance status of what activities you can immediately step into after you’ve had to step out for a moment.
Last, but not least, you can get a head start on Xbox One X (Launch Day Nov 7): Your console setup experience will be quicker for both new users and upgraders.  There are new options to help save time when moving from one Xbox One to another (including Xbox One X), so you can get back to playing faster.
It’s been an incredible journey for the entire team at Xbox as we worked to bring you this update.  Thanks as always to our fans and Xbox Insiders for the valuable feedback. Be sure to keep letting us know what you think at Xbox feedback, and head over to Xbox Wire to read more!

Windows 10 Tip: Get started with the Windows 10 Maps app

To get started, select the Start button, then select Maps. If you’re on a Windows 10 PC, you can click here to open the app.
Drop a pin

If you see a location that you want to save on the map, just press and hold (or right-click) the location, then select Drop a pin. Once your pin is dropped, select Save in the details pane, and then choose Favorites or a collection where you want to save it.
Add any search result to your favorites or a collection

Select Search and type a name or address. Select the location you want in the search results, and, in the details pane, select Save, and choose where you want to save it: Favorites, a collection you created earlier, or a new collection.
View favorites and collections

Select Saved places to see all your favorites and collections. Your home, work, and car are always at the top of favorites, so you can quickly get directions to them from anywhere. If you sign in at Account on the upper-right before you save places, so you can see them in Maps on all your Windows 10 devices.
Head over here for four ways you can use ink in Maps, and have a great week!

Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17017 for PC

Hello Windows Insiders!
Today we are releasing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17017 for PC to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring and for those who opted in to Skip Ahead.
Going forward, we plan to release new builds for RS4 from the RS_PRERELEASE branch to Insiders in the Fast ring and those who opted in to Skip Ahead at the same time. Because we are just beginning development for RS4, Insiders shouldn’t expect to see a lot of big changes or new features just yet. But teams are just now beginning to check in new code!
What’s new in Build 17017
Introducing Cortana Collections: Cortana now saves you time and stress by noticing and remembering things for you and putting them at your fingertips. Cortana can gather things you’re interested in such as items you shop for, restaurants, recipes, and books you’d like to check out, movies and TV shows you want to watch – and puts them all into neatly organized lists from which you can pick the ones you like best. Cortana is always learning, so the more you let Cortana help you, the more Cortana does for you. Check out the quest we’ve set up for more info on how to try this out and let us know what you think! (Available for EN-US Insiders only.)
 
https://youtu.be/HVGZRdRvBvY).
Simplifying actions between Cortana and Action Center: In the previous feature updates of Windows 10 (including the Fall Creators Update), there were two places to go to see the next action you might need to take: Cortana and Action Center. We heard feedback that this was confusing as it wasn’t clear where to go. The fact that Cortana’s insights and recommended actions lived outside of Action Center also made it impossible to focus Cortana’s user interface on Cortana’s natural language and search capabilities. To fix both of these problems, Cortana’s proactive content is going to migrate to Action Center so that you have one place to go to find out what action to take next and to see the important insights Cortana has for you. This frees up Cortana’s user interface to provide tips, educating customers about what can be said to Cortana, and to provide tools for search so that you can get the information you need as quickly as possible. You will see the first part of this change starting with this build with Cortana no longer offering proactive content. Over time, you will see the proactive content that used to be available in Cortana show up in Action Center.
Startup Settings: The list of apps that are configured to run at startup or user log-in is currently maintained via the Startup tab in Task Manager. As part of our ongoing effort to consolidate our settings experience, now you can configure them in Settings! In our new Startup page under Settings > Apps, you can see all startup tasks installed for the current user, and enable/disable each of them. We will also display the impact they have on your startup time, as shown in the below picture.

For more info about how UWP apps can appear listed as startup apps, see here. For more info about how win32 apps can appear listed as startup apps, see here.
General changes, improvements, and fixes for PC
We fixed an issue a small percent of Insiders were experiencing where uninstalled apps might unexpectedly reinstall after a reboot.
We fixed an issue where wallpaper changes might not roam to devices on the Windows 10 Creators Update with “Sync your settings” enabled.
We fixed an issue from the previous flight where Storage Settings would crash on launch.
We fixed an issue where changing time zones would result in the lock screen clock being incorrect until logging out and back in.
We fixed an issue where the Action Center wouldn’t scroll with touch if you started the scrolling motion on top of a notification.
If a notification doesn’t support being dismissed into the Action Center, the toast will now show an X instead of an arrow.
We fixed an issue where the touch keyboard might unexpectedly auto launch after a system restart on non-touch PCs if you’d used the touch keyboard prior to restarting.
We’ve updated the language settings icon in the input flyout to be consistent with that used in the touch keyboard.
We fixed an issue where the “2” character wasn’t rendering correctly in some apps when using the Courier New font.
We fixed an issue where duplicate icons might be displayed in the Volume Mixer when playing certain games or online videos.
We fixed an issue causing reduced performance in some DirectX 9 games running at high framerates. If you’re a fan of gaming, please take a moment to try playing your favorite games on this build and share feedback.
We fixed an issue where certain graphics drivers might result in night light displaying with unexpected colors when enabled in recent builds.
Going forward from this build, the settings to disable hibernate and Fast Startup will be preserved across upgrade.
We fixed an issue some Insiders were experiencing where after upgrading to recent flights their optical drive wouldn’t be listed under This PC.
We fixed an issue resulting in some Insiders seeing 0x80070005 when trying to upgrade to the last few flights.
We fixed an issue from recent flights where you might see code 0x80070002 when trying to update apps from the Store.
We fixed an issue where Hyper-V couldn’t create a VM on 3rd party network storage.
We fixed an issue where for the first few minutes after clean installing a non-English build many inbox app names might unexpectedly appear with English app names.
We fixed an issue where gaming apps using WebView with heavy use of HTML canvas might have unexpectedly had very low FPS in recent flights.
Known issues
If you are missing some Feature-on-Demand (FOD) packages such as Windows Media Player, please see this Feedback Hub post: https://aka.ms/Rsrjqn.
Using a swipe gesture with touch to dismiss notifications from the Action Center is currently not working. We’re investigating – for now you’ll need to use the clear all button, or use mouse/keyboard.
If you RDP into a PC running this build with certain GPU configurations, when you go to sign in to the PC locally it might appear stuck at a black screen with only the cursor available. If you let it sit for a bit, the PC will eventually recover and you’ll be able to use it normally.
Upcoming Webcast
We will be holding our next Windows Insider webcast on Mixer on October 24th at 10am Pacific. Join us as we’ll be covering the Feedback Hub! Pre-submit your questions here: https://aka.ms/fbhwcq.
No downtime for Hustle-As-A-Service,
Dona

New Map Control features in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

The Maps team has been busy making improvements and adding new features to the Maps platform for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. In addition to performance and visual improvements to the 3D engine, we are introducing features requested by users, like the ability to import 3D models into the map and support for layering and binding for map elements. We also are making enhancements to the styling API to allow clients to specify base map styles and visual states for their own map elements. Finally, we are announcing a places API to see relevant information of a place right within the current context of the calling app.
Without further ado, please see the highlights below and keep your feedback coming!
3D Buildings
You might recall that some 3D buildings were missing in the previous release. We have been working hard since then to bring them back (and improve the ones that didn’t look correct) with this update.  Keep an eye out for more 3D buildings in the next few months!

3D Objects
We are adding a new MapElement called MapElement3D. Along with MapModel3D, this new API can be used to import and display 3D objects with ease. Think about fancy 3D push pins, cars, planes, etc.  The possibilities are endless!
Here are some great examples of MapElement3D displaying 3D models at a specific location, orientation and scale on the Windows 10 Map Control:
Avatars

Cars
Clouds
Map Layering APIs
We also are adding a new MapLayer class, the first derivation of which is MapElementsLayer. Unlike the existing MapControl.MapElements API, this can be used to manipulate groups of elements independently as a unit or to designate a joint purpose.
Bind your data to the map using MapControl.Layers
You can bind elements on the map to your own custom collections of business objects with the Map Control.Layers API.
See How To: Display points of interest (POI) on a map.
Map Styling APIs extensions
We are extending the current set of Map Styling APIs for Windows 10 Map Control. In the previous release, we added the MapStylesheet API to allow you to dynamically change the look and feel of the map in real-time. In this release, we are adding support for two new properties on MapElement: MapStyleSheetEntry and MapStyleSheetEntryState, which can be used to more deeply customize the appearance of your map elements using one of the default style entries and states or custom ones.
See How To: Customize Your Map Elements
Here are some examples of the customization that can be done of map elements using the new styling extensions on the Windows 10 Map Control:
Integrate your elements better with the base map using MapStyleSheetEntry
You can make your map elements look like they are part of the base map by setting their style to an existing entry in the map style sheet such as Water. See MapStyleSheetEntry for the full list of entries you can chose from.

Bing logo is rendered by the Windows 10 Map Control through changing the map polygon’s MapStyleSheetEntry property to Water.
Implement states on your map elements using MapStyleSheetEntryState
You can further modify the appearance of your map elements by leveraging default states like Hover and Selected in the map style sheet, or override them to create your own. See MapStyleSheetEntriesStates for the full list of states you can chose from.

Bellevue Square, City Center and Meydenbauer POIs are rendered by the Windows 10 Map Control through overriding the scale of the existing UserPoint entry and changing the map icon’s MapStyleSheetEntryState property to a custom state that extends the existing Hover and Selected entry states.
Place Info
Finally, we are happy to announce the new PlaceInfo API that allows you to see rich relevant information of a place without the need of switching context, in a pop-up UI, right within your own app.

https://github.com/Microsoft/Windows-universal-samples/tree/dev/Samples/MapControl
API Updates and Additions
For a list of the APIs added since Windows 10 Creators Update, please see here the following resources:
MapElement: MapStyleSheetEntry, MapStyleSheetEntryState and Tag properties
MapElement3D
MapElementsLayer
MapStyleSheetEntries
MapStyleSheetEntryStates
PlaceInfo
For more details on all new APIs go to MSDN.

This Week on Windows: Marimekko, Surface, Middle Earth: Shadow of War and more

This Week on Windows, we’re celebrating a milestone, showcasing new Surface designer accessories and we’re showing off Middle Earth: Shadow of War! Head over here to learn more about Marimekko and Microsoft Surface, check out our Windows 10 Tip on how to work more efficiently with MyAnalytics or keep reading to see what’s new in the Windows Store.
In case you missed it:

Here’s what’s new in the Windows Store:
Middle Earth: Shadow of War

Go behind enemy lines to forge your army, conquer Fortresses and dominate Mordor from within. Experience how the award-winning Nemesis System creates unique personal stories with every enemy and follower, and confront the full power of the Dark Lord Sauron and his Ringwraiths. In the epic new story of Middle Earth: Shadow of War Gold Edition ($99.99), nothing will be forgotten.
 Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, Episode 4

The fate of the Eternity Forge has been decided, but Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 4 ($4.99; $19.99 for a Season Pass) from Telltale Games opens with the Guardians more bitterly divided than ever. This growing tension is temporarily sidelined, however, by a more pressing problem: escaping a dark and treacherous cavern before they all are eaten alive.
War for the Planet of the Apes

In the trilogy’s stunning final chapter, Caesar and his apes will face an army of humans on the battlefield in an epic confrontation that will determine the fate of both their species…and the fate of the planet itself. War for the Planet of the Apes is available now in the Movies & TV section of the Windows Store, two weeks before it comes to Blu-ray.
Have a great weekend!

Check out the new In-app ads dashboard in Windows Dev Center

We are happy to announce the new Monetize -> In-app ads section in Windows Dev Center. This is your one stop shop to create and manage the ad mediation settings of your UWP and Windows 8.x ad units.
You can find the In-app ads section under the Monetize section in the left navigation. On choosing this option, you can view your in-app ads dashboard that lists all your ad units, along with additional details such as application name, ad unit type, mediation settings, etc.

On clicking the ‘Create ad unit’ button, you will be taken to a new page where you can specify the ad unit details, configure the ad mediation settings for the ad unit and submit. The ad unit will then appear on your in-app ads dashboard.
Do note that you no longer need to start a submission to be able to create an ad unit – simply reserve your app name and you will be able to create an ad unit for it.

If you wish to change the mediation settings of an existing ad unit, simply click on the ad unit, change the settings and save.
For more information on these new experiences, please refer to this article.
We hope you enjoy the new experience! Please send your feedback to aiacare@microsoft.com.

A conversation with Surface and Marimekko designers on the intersection of customization, design, and tech

Since our very beginning, Surface has set out to inspire a generation of creators to do more, create more, be more productive, and have more fun. This is the heart of our mission in Surface; it started five years ago to create the most productive devices on the planet, to empower people to create. And now we believe nothing should stand in the way of bringing your ideas to life.
Surface has continued to evolve to bring customers even more of what they love in their next laptop. Beyond new magical experiences from Windows, Office, and other app partners that help people create in new ways with our innovative hardware, we want to celebrate the intersection of technology and design. You should feel proud to pull a Surface—the ultimate laptop—from your bag, wherever you are. And the influence of fashion, aesthetics, texture, and color make the technology more personal, an extension of your style and personality, like your favorite sweater, handbag, fragrance, and home accessory.
How did our design team set the strategy for the new intersection of technology and style? And how do global design companies think about the aesthetics and color in ways that can influence Surface? We’ll explore that today with one of our lead Surface designers, Quan Jasinski, and Sami Ruotsalainen, Senior Designer from our newest Surface accessory partner, Marimekko.
I first sat down with Quan who works nearby in our Surface design lab.
Eric: Hello, Quan and thanks for taking the time to speak with us. We all want to know how you decide on the next color or design for an accessory or device?
Quan: Color has many filters and it allows us the opportunity to share the emotional connection and offers a personal experience. Colors and materials are critical to craft this moment.
As designers at Microsoft, we love to use our hands and hearts when creating new products and experiences. We are consistently inspired by everything around us varying from consumer behavior, cultures merging, nature, architecture, art, science, fashion, sports, and the list goes on. Absorbing these experiences, we begin to understand how to create a holistic experience that merges technology into lifestyle.
Aqua is a soft and approachable color. When creating Aqua we drew inspiration from our natural surroundings which helped develop its friendly attributes. This color works beautifully with our materials, from the richness of Alcantara through to the depth and sheen of anodization on our pen. It complements the rest of the existing palette while adding a hint of lightness.

Eric: It really is a stunning tone. How do you come of this this? Where do you seek inspiration?
Quan: Typically, I check my list of various websites, blogs, and feeds to get my “inspirational breakfast”; I need to constantly keep my eye on what’s happening and what’s developing. Travel and new experiences are always inspirational, even something as minor as taking a different road to work can change the way you view the world. And in general, the creative environment at Microsoft allows the designers to share and inspire each other through conversation.
Eric: Can you describe your process from ideation to creation?
Quan: Being inspired by our surroundings is what generates creative thinking. I start with a good understanding of what the essence of the product experience is through research and a collection of inspiring products, images, and materials. From there I translate these collages into a defined color story that envelopes all parts and accessories of a specific product.
I then use the established story and color direction to begin developing the color in physicality, mostly through iterative sampling and prototyping with materials in our model shop. There is a lot of fine-tuning in this process to create the perfect color and finish. Often the biggest challenge is making sure the color is cohesive and crafted to compliment material palette. We work relentlessly with our partners from engineering to manufacturing to master our intent into the materials with a high level of quality and refinement
Eric: Sounds very intensive. Why does hardware aesthetic matter in technology, and how has it evolved?
Quan: Technology is no longer seen as a tool just for data, function, and business use. It has evolved into a much more personal and intimate experience that we integrate into several elements of our lifestyle. We live with our technology, it’s often the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see before going to sleep. If we are living with something this much, then we want it to look beautiful, feel inviting, and evoke confidence. Consumers understand that design is now a choice when purchasing products, and they have become savvy to what is considered good design.

Eric: It does seem like customization is so important to people. I’ve personally experienced the desire to make tech personal and unique, which is one of the reasons I love what I do. What excites you most about designing for Surface?
Quan: Surface offers meaningful and powerful devices across their portfolio. It is exciting for me to work through a lens of materials and colors as we build our new products and experiences
I learn so much each day by being part of a team that creates a hybrid of technology, design, materials, art, science, engineering, and information.
Making a fashion statement with tech accessories:

Finnish design house, Marimekko is renowned for its original prints and colors. You’ve probably seen their high-quality clothing, bags, and accessories on fashion runways and in stores. The company has been doing this since 1951, so we were thrilled to partner with their experts on a collection of accessories for Surface. I had a chance to speak with Senior Designer Sami Ruotsalainen to understand how they approached applying their legacy and style to Surface.
Eric: Hello, Sami and thanks for taking the time to speak with us. We’re so excited about this collaboration. Can you tell us a bit about the design process at Marimekko?

Sami: We always start the process with a creative brief that sets the tone for each collection. We have an archive of over 3,500 patterns, sometimes we select a pattern from there and often we also create new ones. Marimekko is a lifestyle brand, and our product portfolio includes home décor items, ready-to-wear, and bags and accessories.

The heart of Marimekko is our in-house printing factory in Helsinki, Finland, where we cherish our art of print making and craftsmanship in design. In fact, the printing mill where over a million meters of fabric is printed annually is located right next to our offices and design studio. We partner very closely with the craftsmen of the printing factory to develop new prints and colorways for our collections. As you can imagine, color is incredibly important to us and we are able to mix new colors together in our color kitchen also located in our printing mill.

Eric: Tell us a bit about the Marimekko for Microsoft Surface collaboration
Sami: Microsoft Surface and Marimekko both present a bold, positive and inclusive approach to design. This collaboration felt like a natural fit and we are so excited about the entire line of accessories.

For the Marimekko for Microsoft Surface products, we chose some of Marimekko’s most iconic prints to bring personality and customization to the Surface family. Some, like Unikko (poppy) and Kaivo (well) were created in the 1960’s and have been an important part of Marimekko’s collections ever since.. Siirtolapuutarha (city garden) and Räsymatto (rag rug) were both created in the last ten years and have become contemporary Marimekko classics.
All four patterns represent the creativity and spirit of Marimekko and give Surface users an opportunity to customize their devices – and since these devices are used on a daily basis, what better way to bring joy and happiness into people’s everyday lives than with an accessories line that brings a pop of colour to your life!
The new aqua Type Cover, Surface Arc Mouse, and Surface Pen will be available at Microsoft Store and Microsoft.com.
The Marimekko for Microsoft Surface collection is available right now. Visit your local Microsoft Store or Microsoft.com to dress up your Surface.

Bringing WebVR to everyone with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Last April, we introduced the WebVR 1.1 API in Microsoft Edge as part of the Windows Creators Update, providing a foundation for developers to create immersive virtual reality experiences with Windows Mixed Reality developer kits. We have been hard at work building on this foundation to provide an end-to-end mixed reality experience with Microsoft Edge, WebVR, and Windows Mixed Reality, in line with our goal to democratize virtual reality this holiday.
On October 17th, EdgeHTML 16 will be released with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, and the era of Windows Mixed Reality begins as headsets and motion controllers become widely available, enabling low-cost, immersive experiences with WebVR in Microsoft Edge.
In anticipation of this upcoming release, we’re excited to announce (with big thanks to the community and contributors involved) that the popular WebVR frameworks A-Frame, BabylonJS, ReactVR and three.js have now added support for the Windows Mixed Reality platform to their current and upcoming releases.

Version
Immersive View
WebGL context switching
Motion Controllers

master


0.7.0


R88*


2.0.0



* Upcoming release
In EdgeHTML 16, we’ve made a few updates to our WebVR 1.1 implementation that you should be aware of, starting with added support for Windows Mixed Reality motion controllers.
New support for motion controllers
Developers now have the tools to create fully interactive, immersive experiences on the web with our new support for Windows Mixed Reality motion controllers.

When a site is presenting to a headset, connected motion controllers will be available via the Gamepad API.
Adding support to the browser is only half of the story. We have been working with 3rd party middleware libraries to make sure that integrating support for motion controllers into your experience is as seamless a process as possible.
Current releases of both BabylonJS and A-Frame have full support for Windows Mixed Reality headsets and motion controllers.
Controller support includes detection of connected motion controllers, rendering accurate representations of the controllers into the scene, mapping button presses to actions and casting pointing rays into the scene for point-and-commit interactions. For added realism, the controller models animate the buttons and thumbsticks as the devices are manipulated:

Image: Hotel Room, Reno, Nevada / Bob Dass / Creative Commons 2.0
Added support for more Windows Mixed Reality PCs
Windows Mixed Reality supports a wide range of desktop and laptop hardware, with many graphics card configurations. Microsoft Edge has extended support for running WebVR experiences on this broad range of hardware – including machines with multiple graphics cards.
To leverage this support as a WebVR application developer, make sure that you are using the most up to date version of BabylonJS, A-Frame (0.7.0), three.js (r87), ReactVR (2.0.0).
If you are using WebGL directly rather than through one of these libraries, you’ll need to handle the WebGL Context Lost and Context Restored events to take advantage of this wider range of hardware.
The first immersive experience that lets you enjoy the entire Web
Microsoft Edge is now the first stable browser to ship comprehensive support for Virtual Reality.  From within your headset you can view traditional 2D websites, manage your favorites, create new tabs (including InPrivate tabs), and seamlessly transition into WebVR experiences.  And when browsing with Microsoft Edge on the Desktop, you’re still only one click away from launching WebVR content directly into your headset.
Because Microsoft Edge is built on the Universal Windows Platform, it can be used alongside the thousands of other apps supported by Windows Mixed Reality out of the box.

When you encounter a WebVR experience in Microsoft Edge within Mixed Reality, you can seamlessly transition from a 2D page to an immersive experience and back again without ever switching apps or leaving your headset.
Start developing today!
Our updated WebVR implementation is coming in EdgeHTML 16 with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, which will be released alongside new Windows Mixed Reality headsets and motion controllers on October 17th. Developers can get started building for WebVR today (no headset required!) via the Windows Insider Program, using the built-in Mixed Reality Simulator. Or, if you have an Acer or HP developer kit, you can try out Mixed Reality today!
You can learn more about the WebVR API with our documentation online, where you’ll find everything you need to get started, including a checklist of things to consider when creating a WebVR experience.
More Information
Finally, check out the talk that Nell Waliczek and Lewis Weaver recently gave at the Microsoft Edge Web Summit for an overview of WebVR, a deep dive into how to use the APIs, and some more good practices and resources:

We can’t wait to see what you build!
Lewis Weaver, Program Manager, WebVR
Nell Waliczek, Principal Software Engineering Lead, WebVR