General utilities (hello, search!) and other improvements
You know the Search charm within Windows 8? Congratulations, you're one of the few. But Angel found support for an inline SearchBox control—which, as the name suggests, now supports in-app searching. This means that developers won't necessarily have to force users to use the charm to actually search, but can add a more familiar search box instead.
In general, Metro apps stutter and sometimes stop when a VPN is introduced. Angel's sleuthing reports that will come to an end with Windows 8.1.
And although alternative PDF viewer apps are fairly common within the Windows Store, virtually none take place within the Metro environment. That should change with Blue, which now includes support for all apps to render PDF documents.
Windows 8.1 will also support "geofencing," or the ability to launch an app when the user enters (or, presumably leaves) a designated area. For example, an app could alert a user if his Windows tablet is stolen. Apps just need to set a center point and a radius.
Apps will also be to add appointments to the general Windows calendar via the new AppointmentsProvider, a feature that probably should have been included with the RTM release of Windows 8. Local text-to-speech is now enabled, too.
Angel also discovered a number of other, less important features in his lengthy runthrough.
While users tend to focus on the new, revamped Start Screen and other aspects of Windows 8, some of the best aspects of the new OS lie under the hood. If Angel's discoveries are correct, and Microsoft includes them in the final version of Windows 8.1, then we'll have a better sense of the direction in which Microsoft is moving.
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