In one way, I pity kids today — the specter of back-to-school shopping is hanging over them just about from the minute they step out of school for the summer. I don’t feel too bad, though, because back-to-school deals have gotten a lot better than the office supply store discounting pencils. Take Microsoft, which is taking the cool aunt approach to back-to-school shopping by declaring the Xbox an educational necessity.
From today until August 14, Microsoft will give a $300 discount to anyone who bundles a Surface product with an Xbox One. Considering that a 500 GB Xbox One currently goes for $300 (and you can probably find one for less), that amounts to a free Xbox One with the purchase of a Surface. In this case, Surface refers to either the Surface Book or the Surface Pro 4, so make no mistake, you’ll still be shelling out a fair amount of cash. Still, if your student was due for a new notebook this summer anyway, that’s a free Xbox One for your trouble. The deal is exclusive to the Microsoft Store.
Microsoft is also announcing that their Windows 10 Anniversary update is arriving on August 2. Windows 10 was released July 29 of last year, which means that Microsoft’s offer of free upgrades to Windows 10 for a full year is still in effect. The anniversary update has a few new features to try to attract those reticent to upgrade, including Windows Ink, a program that allows users to doodle all over pretty much anything on screen and save it, something that works best with a stylus and touchscreen. Cortana can now be accessed from the lock screen to play music or schedule calendar events or reminders, while Windows Hello biometric logins are being extended to some third party programs like Dropbox.
Granted, those aren’t features that address the concerns of the most vocal contingent of people who haven’t opted to download Windows 10, but for those who have, the new features are nice usability upgrades, and we’re very excited to see the expansion of Windows Hello — the fewer passwords to remember, the better!