It has been quite a year for Microsoft, at least as far as Windows 10 is concerned. Since the release of Windows 10, over 300 million devices worldwide utilize the operating system. The OS, offered as a free upgrade since its release, will soon come with a upgrade charge of $119 to be implemented after its one-year anniversary on July 29th. The free upgrade applies to only devices that are currently equipped with an earlier OS (Windows 7 or 8.1); new devices will come pre-equipped with 10 as the installed default.

However, the price of Windows 10 is not the only intended change to take place on the 29th. Microsoft also plans to launch the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, implementing assorted improvements to the already-popular OS. These updates include:

  • An Exclusive Edge: The newly-minted browser, Microsoft Edge, has allegedly beat Google Chrome in preview software tests and has integrated Cortana into the user experience. Furthermore, this high-performing browser is projected to be a Microsoft-exclusive product, with no current plans to expand compatibility to other platforms.
  • Windows Ink: This feature will allow for the use of a stylus as a more integrated process in computing. The upcoming Ink Workspace essentially serves as a secondary Start menu, specifically for applications that utilize the drawing pen. Users will be able to access applications that will allow note-taking on screenshots and for handwritten note-taking on digital sticky notes, preserving the charm of the quickly-jotted messages.
  • Increasing Cortana’s Capabilities: Cortana has swiftly risen in popularity as a fully functional digital assistant, and Microsoft has made some changes that will only make Cortana’s services more convenient. Basic functions, such as playing music or dictating a note or reminder, will be available before the user logs in. As mentioned before, Cortana has also been equipped with specialized compatibility with Microsoft’s new browser, Edge.
  • Saying Hello to Windows: On top of Cortana responding to your voice, your face will also have control over your device. Serving as a method of user authentication, Windows Hello allows access to your device through your fingerprint, through facial recognition, or even by scanning your iris; assuming that your device has the hardware to accommodate its use.

Considering this is a brief sampling of some of the updates to Windows 10’s already considerable capabilities, it doesn’t sound entirely ludicrous to spend $199 for the OS. However, when given the choice between two identical products, the only difference being that one is free and one costs $199, it seems wiser to opt for the free edition. Plus, depending on the number of workstations your business has, this upgrade could put a massive hole in your budget.

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