In a blog post Microsoft has announced the next feature update for Windows 10 users, version 21H1. It is quite a short blog post because there aren't that many new features, it seems. Microsoft has concentrated on improving security, remote access and quality – things that it reckons customers are most interested in right now. This update has started rolling out to Insiders in the Beta channel already with broad availability scheduled for later in H1 2021.
Microsoft summed up feature update version 21H1 with just three bullet points, as follows:
- Windows Hello multicamera support to set the default as the external camera when both external and internal Windows Hello cameras are present.
- Windows Defender Application Guard performance improvements including optimizing document opening scenario times.
- Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Group Policy Service (GPSVC) updating performance improvement to support remote work scenarios.
Such is the small scale of this update that the release will have a fast installation experience, installing like a monthly update. This applies as long as you are updating from either Windows 10 version 2004 or version 20H2.
More information about the release will be provided nearer to the general availability date.
New perpetual Office releases
Though it is encouraging customers to move to online cloud subscription products like Office 365 and Microsoft 365, Microsoft still recognises the need for unconnected standalone versions of its Office software suite. Thus, it has just announced a preview of Microsoft Office LTSC (Long Term Servicing Channel ) for businesses and enterprise, as well as Office 2021 for consumers and small businesses.
Microsoft says that without a cloud connection Office LTSC will include only a subset of the value found in Microsoft 365 Apps. However, it will take the best features as they exist now and include features such as "accessibility improvements, capabilities like Dynamic Arrays and XLOOKUP in Excel, dark mode support across multiple apps, and performance improvements across Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint". Office LTSC will be provided on a device-based 'perpetual' license basis and its price will be 10 per cent more than the previous release.
For consumers and SOHO users a similar set of Office apps are expected to be delivered in Office 2021, but more details will be released nearer to general availability. Microsoft will support this software for five years from purchase. There are no plans to increase the price of this suite or its components.
Last but not least, Microsoft says there will be another LTSC and perpetual Office release in the coming years, and that Mac users will get commercial and consumer Office 2021 software too.