The next version of Windows will let you copy and paste between your laptop and iPhone
The Windows 10 Creators Update may have only started rolling out, but Microsoft just gave us our first look at what’s next for Windows.
During the second day of its Build developer conference on Thursday, Microsoft unveiled the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, which will launch later this year.
Though the update doesn’t bring many dramatic changes to Windows, Microsoft is adding a suite of new productivity tools that allow users to move between their PC and their iPhone or Android.
A feature called Timeline allows you to “jump back in time to find what you were working on” at some point in the past. Functionally, Timeline is something of an extension of Windows’ Task View, only now you’re able to see “a visual timeline that displays what you were doing when, you can easily hop back into files, apps and sites as if you never left.”
This also applies to Timeline-supported Microsoft apps running on your smartphone. So you could “look back” at, say, a Microsoft Word document you only opened on your iPhone.
Next up, a (very creatively named) feature called Pick Up Where You Left Off, which lets you start a task on your Windows PC, say editing a Word document, and pick it up on your phone exactly where you left off. A bit like Apple’s Handoff, the feature uses Cortana (so yes, you’ll need the Cortana app installed) to enable the switching.
Finally, Microsoft introduced Clipboard, which lets you copy and paste between your Windows PC and your smartphone, even if it’s an Android or iPhone. That may sound impossible but there’s one caveat: On iOS and Android the feature is powered by SwiftKey (that’s the keyboard app Microsoft acquired for $250 million last year), so you’ll need to have that app installed in order to use the feature.
While Microsoft embraced a cross-platform strategy ever since Satya Nadella took over as CEO more than three years ago, these updates are some of the most significant strides yet the company has made moves toward embracing iOS and Android. It’s also something of a tacit acknowledgment that the vast majority of smartphone users are simply not using Windows on their mobile device (for the second year in a row, Microsoft had almost nothing to say about Windows 10 mobile onstage at Build).
The Fall Creators Update also marks the debut of a new design language for Windows called Fluent Design (this is the official name for Project Neon). Rather than a dramatic shift, though, Fluent Design is all about helping enable similar experiences across many different types of devices, Microsoft says.
“Fluent Design will deliver intuitive, harmonious, responsive and inclusive cross-device experiences and interactions,” Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group, wrote in a blog post. “For developers, Fluent Design is built to help you create more expressive and engaging apps that work across a wide range of device and input diversity.”