Microsoft Updating Windows 8 RTM Apps In Advance of Official Launch

To help make sure that Windows 8 is as polished as can be when it launches on October 26th, Microsoft will tomorrow being rolling out updates for the OS' built-in apps - more specifically, those inside of the 'Modern UI' interface. A couple of days ago, we relayed the thoughts that Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen had regarding the OS, and at the same time mentioned that a common complaint from consumers is that the OS is "for a tablet". How you update these apps will further that fact, as the Store icon automatically tracks available updates and notifies you when one is available. Once you click (or tap) the icon, you'll be brought to the main Store page which will have an updates option at the top-right.

According to the MSDN blog post, it seems most of the main apps inside of the 'Modern UI' interface are going to be affected, including Bing, SkyDrive, Mail and other communication apps, Maps, Finance, News, Sports, Weather, Games and Music.

For those who've been using SkyDrive in Windows 8, a major but common-sense option has finally been enabled: search. You'll also be offered custom sort options and have the ability to rename and move files. On the communication side, you'll now be able to view your e-mails in conversation view, take advantage of IMAP and better handle invitations via e-mail. These apps also have an improved search, which is reassuring given the tablet focus of the OS.

Maps will soon offer Bird's Eye View mode, 3,000+ indoor venue maps, driving direction hints and improved navigation and layout in general. It also gains integration with the Travel and Bing apps. Speaking of Bing, Microsoft's rewards system will soon be integrated and like the other apps we've mentioned so far, the search results have been improved as well. For easier lock screen customization, you'll also now be able to choose an image from inside of a Bing search to automatically apply to it.

Other notable updates include the ability to purchase videos in your local currency, enable closed-captioning for your videos, view your weather in forecasts up to 10 days, and enjoy "expanded music services". That couldn't possibly be the rumored Xbox Music service, could it?

It's mentioned in the blog post that these updates affect only the RTM version, so whether or not that includes the 90-day trial that some consumers have been taking advantage of, we're not sure. The first update, Bing, will roll-out tomorrow, with the others trickling out leading up to the Windows 8 launch.