Windows 8.1 begins rolling out in a few hours

Exciting news! The day is almost upon us: Windows 8.1 is being released to the public tomorrow around the world. Starting with New Zealand at Midnight (which is 4 AM Pacific Time) the free update for Windows 8 will begin appearing in the Windows Store for end users.

Perhaps unluckily, it will be a staged roll out and people around the world may not actually see the code appear at 4 AM PT.

The good news is that Windows 8.1 is Windows 8 on steroids. It fixes many of the pitfalls as well as customer complaints that were made of Windows 8 and makes the whole experience much more pleasing. The update is free for licensed Windows 8 users and will be offered through the Windows Store which means it won’t require a fresh installation.

We’re also expecting Microsoft to take the wraps off a number of updates for the bundled Windows 8.1 applications that they’ve been saving for the launch. We’ve seen a few pop up already, but the core applications have remained under wraps.

The question is, will consumers accept it more readily than Windows 8? Are they willing to give it another chance? We’ll start seeing their feedback in a few mere hours. It’ll be interesting to see how quick that uptake is.

Later this week we’ll have coverage on Windows 8.1 and next week we’ll have in depth reviews of the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2.