The Windows 10 April Update (1803): The Littlest Big Updateby Brett Howse on May 25, 2018 8:00 AM EST
The Total Package
The Windows 10 April Update is one of the smaller updates we’ve seen since Windows 10 launched, at least in terms of shiny new features, but it does have some nice additions. The OS is mature enough now that there’s hopefully going to be less of the major changes to the UI and feature list with each new update, since those large scale changes can cause confusion with consumers. Windows is still the workhorse of businesses as well, and when you’ve got tens of thousands of employees, it’s not fun to have to retrain people every six months on how to do the couple of tasks they do every day. For 2018, we’ve already got the next update scheduled for the fall, but it would not be surprising to see Microsoft shift to a less aggressive schedule in the future.
For this update, there’s only a couple of big features. Timeline is a great idea and one that was definitely missing from Windows 10, and it will get more powerful with Android tasks coming to Timeline thanks to the Microsoft Launcher, Edge, and Cortana on Android. iOS will likely never be able to have as much integration though thanks to the Apple App Store model.
Focus Assist really seems like a great idea as well to give people a chance to stay focused when they need to. It needs a bit more fleshing out, but even as it is, it’s great to get time that is distraction free, but still allows you to easily check and see what you missed.
Probably the biggest addition for the update though is Progressive Web Apps, which will hopefully bring some much needed app support to the Microsoft Store. Twitter has been very actively developing their PWA, including support for Windows 10 specific features. The irony here is that with PWAs, Microsoft would likely have had a better shot with Windows 10 Mobile, but it’s already too late for that.
The other changes to Edge are also very welcome, and Edge has certainly come a long way. Its performance and standards support continues to improve, but like Windows 10 Mobile, it may be too little, too late. Microsoft has ceded a tremendous amount of browser usage to Google, and there’s no sign that’s going to change.
The other new features are going to be less used, but still important when needed. Being able to quickly pair a Bluetooth device, or easily share a file with Nearby Share, is really something that’s going to pay for itself rarely, but when it is needed, it’ll pay larger dividends.
There's also a pile of small tweaks and additons, such as the improved touch keyboard with swipe typing support, a new game bar, easier Hello setup, Cortana improvements, dictation support for text fields, and improvements to My People, which rounds out the update nicely.
Overall, the April Update is a small, but nice update. The biggest issue with it is that there’s been some reliability problems with the update as we’ve seen specifically with the Intel 600p SSD, and a few other pieces of hardware. The update was delayed until the very last day of April, and even then it was definitely a soft rollout. I have only been able to get one PC to even get the update over Windows Update so far, with even very current devices still not receiving it through that method. You can always force an install, but there could also be a reason the machine isn’t seeing the update due to a known compatibility issue that’s not resolved yet. We’ll have to wait and see statistical numbers to see how quickly it rolls out compared to its predecessor, but at the moment it seems like it’s a very slow and steady deployment. But the update is worth it just to get PWA support alone. It just might not be worth it right now.