Microsoft’s second major set of new features for Windows 10, known as ‘Redstone 2,’ are now a spring 2017 deliverable, meant to coincide with a new wave of Windows 10 hardware, sources say.
Microsoft is delaying Windows 10 “Redstone” 2, primarily because of the decision to wait until early 2017 to support a wave of new Microsoft-branded Windows 10 devices.
That’s the scuttlebutt from contacts of mine who asked not to be named.
Word that Redstone 2 had pushed back to spring 2017 was reported initially by Winbeta.org last week. Up until now, my contacts were saying Redstone 2 was slated for arrival just before the end of calendar 2016.
When I read the Winbeta report, my first thought was Microsoft was delaying Redstone 2 in order to attract more business users to the Windows 10 platform. While Windows fans and many consumers are fine with the idea of receiving regular bundles of new features, some business users aren’t as keen, given internal requirements around testing and training.
Microsoft moved to a new servicing model with Windows, via which the company ultimately plans to push two to three “major” collections of new features to Windows 10 users annually.
Last year, there were two releases of Windows 10 “Threshold”: The initial RTM version out in June and the November update, known as Windows 10 1511. The plan was to follow a similar cadence with Windows 10 “Redstone,” according to my sources, with Redstone 1 due in June and Redstone 2 in the November-ish timeframe.
However, according to my contacts, enterprise push-back isn’t the reason for the Windows 10 Redstone 2 delay. Instead, it’s supposedly the next wave of Windows 10 devices from Microsoft.
As I noted recently, Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Groups are working increasingly closely — not a surprise given both teams are now under Executive Vice President Terry Myerson. My sources have said Microsoft is prioritizing and tailoring new features coming in Windows 10 largely based on what the Devices group wants and needs to showcase its hardware.
The Surface pen, Hello authentication technology and Continuum functionality for turning mobile devices into full-fledged compute systems are all examples of features that Microsoft will likely enhance with Redstone as a result of their importance to the company’s hardware platforms.
The Devices team was quick to rush out Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book in 2015, despite the fact that the Intel Skylake processors inside were hot off the chip presses. The result: A number of early adopters of those devices have suffered from power-management and other issues which many believe are related to the Skylake-Surface hardware combination.
I’m sure the Surface team wants to ensure history won’t repeat itself with the next wave of new PCs, tablets and possibly new Surface Phones. As Intel is not expected to make its next Core processor family, known as Kaby Lake, available in volume until the end of 2016, I’d think Microsoft might be willing to take a little more time making sure the new processors and its new hardware play nice.
Because Windows 10 is being designed to light up new features and functionality in these coming devices, it makes sense Redstone 2 isn’t going to beat the new hardware out of the gate.
Microsoft’s top Windows execs have not talked publicly about Redstone’s timeframe, by the way. I don’t believe any of the Windows management have gone on record about the Redstone 1 and 2 releases (though some other Softies have). The Device Group has also not talked publicly about when or even whether we might see a Surface Pro 5 or Surface Book 2.
In 2015, Microsoft delivered a lower-priced and powered Surface 3 in May, and in October, took the wraps off a new family of Microsoft devices, including Microsoft Band 2, Lumia 950 and 950XL, Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book.
Does all this mean there will be no new Microsoft Surface products or other new Microsoft devices until Spring 2017? I don’t know, but I’m still thinking Microsoft still might unveil on-Kaby-Lake-based Windows 10 devices this calendar year. A new Microsoft Band, a Surface 4, maybe even a new Surface Phone still could be announced this year — unless the Devices Group wants to save everything for another big-bang launch. But again, I have no information as to whether that’s the plan.
I have a query into Microsoft but am not expecting a comment on this.