The first major update to Windows 8 has been scheduled for release. Here is the official message:

…starting at 12:00am on October 18th in New Zealand (that’s 4:00am October 17th in Redmond), Windows 8.1 will begin rolling out worldwide as a free update for consumers on Windows 8 through the Windows Store. Windows 8.1 will also be available at retail and on new devices starting on October 18th by market.

(Emphasis is mine, check The Windows Blog for more info).

As awesome app developers which I know you all are, you should be thinking about how you can take advantage of the cool new API’s and features that are being added to the OS. Here is a brief list of some of them.

  1. Internet Explorer 11 (cos we know it just gets better)
  2. WinJS 2.0 in particular easier async with the scheduler API
  3. Much improved controls for both HTML and XAML like the missing DatePicker for XAML
  4. Serious updates to the UX experiencesearch is now in the app.

Upgrading an existing Windows 8 app is simply a matter of opening it in Visual Studio 2013 Preview and following the retargeting instructions. Now if you want your app to really shine in the new Store here are some easy (and not so easy) features to take advantage off:

  1. New tile sizes
  2. Resizing windows – how does your width compare to your height?
  3. Contact Manager API
  4. Alarm notifications
  5. Multi-monitor support
  6. Use the Bing Platform

Keep those apps rolling in.