Microsoft Build 2018: the biggest highlights and all the news

Microsoft Build is starting in just a few days, and with it we’ll see what Microsoft has in store for us in the coming year. With the first keynote starting around 8:30am PST (11:30am ET / 4:30pm BST / 1:30am AEST) on May 7, 2018 – Microsoft has a lot to talk about, with Redstone 5 and Microsoft Office likely being at the center.

Some of the major updates we’re expecting to see at Microsoft Build 2018 teases of Redstone 5 (the codename for the next major Windows 10 update), Windows Mixed Reality updates and some AI news. It’s unlikely that Microsoft will announce anything beyond software, so you shouldn’t be expecting the next Surface devices here.

So, let’s dive in to what we expect to see next week during the Microsoft Build 2018 keynotes. And, be sure to keep this page bookmarked, as we’ll keep it updated throughout next week.

Cut to the chase

  •  What is it? Microsoft’s developer conference
  •  When is it? May 7 - 9, 2018

Microsoft Build 2018

How to watch

If you don’t want to pay the $2,000 to attend the event in-person, you can fortunately watch the keynotes for free right here from the comfort of your home. You’ll be able to catch them live on May 7 and 8 at 8:30am PT (11:30am ET / 4:30pm BST / 1:30am AEST).

What we expect to see

Microsoft Build is sure to include some impressive updates for Windows 10, new software, advanced in AR and VR, here everything we expect from the show next week.

Microsoft Build 2018

Redstone 5

Sure, we just got the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, but Windows Insiders are already testing Redstone 5. So, we expect to hear a bit about the exciting features rumored for the next major update to the landmark operating system. 

This is the update where we’re expecting to see Microsoft’s cool new Sets feature – which will allow users to group different apps and websites together in one window, much like tabs in a web browser. We’re also expecting to see some quality-of-life improvements to the Windows 10 Taskbar and Search. 

Office 365/Office 2019

It might not be the most exciting thing to non-professionals, but we’re expecting a focus on Microsoft Office 2019. The software maker just released a preview build of Office 2019 for businesses, and seeing how we haven’t seen a perpetual release of Office since 2016 – Microsoft Office 2019 is going to be a big deal.

We probably won’t see much for Office 365, as users already have access to all of the new features in Office 2019 – rolling updates is the main selling point, after all. However, that doesn’t mean that Microsoft doesn’t have any surprises up its sleeve. We’ll just have to wait and see. 

Microsoft Build 2018

Windows Mixed Reality

We just got a slew of Mixed Reality updates in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, but we don’t think Microsoft is going to slow down here. We’re not sure exactly what Microsoft has planned for Mixed Reality in Redstone 5 and beyond, but we’re expecting to at least see a continuation of their recent efforts to improve performance and ease-of-use. 

Microsoft Build 2018

More AI

AI is one of the biggest things in the tech industry in 2018, and Microsoft has already made huge steps to capitalize on it – and you can be sure it’ll be a huge focus at Microsoft Build 2018. Windows Machine Learning (WinML) is an API allows developers to incorporate machine learning models into their apps. And, because WinML is a relatively recent technology, we’re expecting Microsoft to go into a lot of detail about it. 

This is a developer event, after all. 

Whether it’s improvements to the WinML API introduced in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update or just showing off its capabilities to developers, we expect a lot of sessions to focus around AI, its capabilities and maybe some new features.

Azure and the cloud

Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing service, has always been a big piece of the Build conferences and we see no reason for the trend to stop now. Especially as the segment grew by whopping 17% according to the company’s latest quarterly financial results. As with previous events, we expect Microsoft to wax on about all the improvements they’ve made and how it will meet developers’ every demand.

Microsoft Build 2018

Smart home and IoT devices

It isn’t hard to see that in 2018, Microsoft is a little bit behind Google and Amazon when it comes to the smart home. However, we can see Microsoft trying to implement its Cortana virtual assistant into more devices – perhaps even announcing some new hardware partnerships. 

Thanks to the Cortana Skills Kit, Cortana is more capable than ever before – and even cares if you live or die. So, we should see Cortana improve over time, it has a huge install base, after all – it’s a potential goldmine.

As for what devices Cortana will make an appearance on? Who knows. However, the Harman Kardon Invoke, while it wasn’t particularly popular, was still a promising device, so we may see a follow-up.

Bill Thomas

Bill Thomas (Twitter) is TechRadar's computing editor. They are fat, queer and extremely online. Computers are the devil, but they just happen to be a satanist. If you need to know anything about computing components, PC gaming or the best laptop on the market, don't be afraid to drop them a line on Twitter or through email.