Windows 8.1 is done, but unless you work for a major manufacturer, you'll have to wait until later this year to get your hands on it.
On Oct. 18, Windows 8.1 will officially go live.
In the meantime, today Microsoft announced that it had started doling out the new software to its official hardware partners – the first step in bringing the latest iteration of Windows online. In the past, the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) launch – also known as "going gold" – meant early public access to the operating system, but this time, Microsoft decided to do things differently.
"[I]t’s clear that times have changed, with shifts to greater mobility and touch as well as the blurring of work and personal lives," Microsoft reps wrote. "As such, we’ve had to evolve the way we develop and the time in which we deliver to meet customers with the experience they need, want and expect. We’ve had to work closer to our hardware partners than ever before."