From a post on the Windows Blog (http://blogs NULL.windows NULL.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2013/08/14/mark-your-calendars-for-windows-8-1 NULL.aspx), “starting at 12:00am on October 18th in New Zealand (that’s 4:00am October 17th in Redmond), Windows 8.1 will begin rolling out worldwide as a free update for consumers on Windows 8 through the Windows Store.
Windows 8.1 will also be available at retail and on new devices starting on October 18th by market”. With the release of Windows 8, Microsoft changed the way in which new version would be released. From the beginning until Windows 8, it was expected that a new version of Windows would come out every couple of years, now with Windows 8, Microsoft is following the same release cycle as Apple with iOS and Google with Android and releasing updated versions on a yearly basis.
As part of the post, Microsoft listed the following
Windows 8.1 continues the vision (http://blogs NULL.windows NULL.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2013/05/30/continuing-the-windows-8-vision-with-windows-8-1 NULL.aspx) we began with Windows 8 and is an example of our commitment to continuous innovation and improvement for our customers. And Windows 8.1 brings many improvements in areas like personalization, Internet Explorer 11, search which is powered by Bing (http://www NULL.bing NULL.com/blogs/site_blogs/b/search/archive/2013/05/30/8-1 NULL.aspx), built-in apps including a few new ones (http://www NULL.bing NULL.com/blogs/site_blogs/b/search/archive/2013/06/26/bingapps NULL.aspx), an improved Windows Store experience (http://blogs NULL.windows NULL.com/windows/b/appbuilder/archive/2013/06/27/the-windows-store-for-windows-8-1 NULL.aspx), and cloud connectivity with SkyDrive (http://blogs NULL.windows NULL.com/skydrive/b/skydrive/archive/2013/07/22/have-all-your-skydrive-files-with-you-without-using-all-your-storage-or-bandwidth NULL.aspx) (and much more (http://go NULL.microsoft NULL.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=302189)) that people will enjoy. If you haven’t already, you can give many of the new features and improvements in Windows 8.1 a try with the Windows 8.1 Preview (http://blogs NULL.windows NULL.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2013/06/26/the-windows-8-1-preview-is-here NULL.aspx).
Source: Microsoft Blog (http://blogs NULL.windows NULL.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2013/08/14/mark-your-calendars-for-windows-8-1 NULL.aspx)