Quote Originally Posted by Microsoft
We’ve hit an important milestone for Windows and for Microsoft—just 10 months after delivering on a bold, generational change in computing with Windows 8, our team is proud to share that we have started releasing Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 to our hardware partners. In many ways, this marks a new day at Microsoft, reflecting a number of rapid release firsts. Thanks, in part, to customer feedback and an unparalleled level of collaboration across product teams, Windows 8.1 is a significant update. We have delivered in a very short time an update to the OS that will bring an even greater unified experience for our customers. As we consider the code we just handed off, and the new intuitive and fluid computing experience it provides - anytime, anywhere, across all devices – we’re confident we made the right bet in continuing our vision and following through on our commitment to rapid innovation and responsive engineering.
Full article here.

The much awaited upgrade to the by some considered a huge step back is here. Windows 8.1 has reached it's RTM stage and we will see it in stores October 18th, while those with web access to the bits will be able to get it one day earlier.

But let's see what is new in the new bits:
  • The Start button: Well, I'm not sure if we can consider this a new feature as much as it's an old feature that was brought back due to customer demand.
  • The ability to boot to desktop and app list: Additionally to the traditional boot to ModernUI seen in Windows 8, Microsoft decided to give customers the ability to start their work environment where they prefer. With some tweaks you can even get the old Windows 7 feeling back (with some small differences)
  • An improved search: Instead of a per app search you can search broadly.
  • New apps: You get three new apps: Food and Drinks, Health and Fitness and the Reading list
  • Redesigned old apps: For example Pictures can scroll through the whole image list outside of the usual Pictures folder.
  • More customizations: You can use the desktop wallpaper inside ModernUI for example, or change the background colors straight from the interface.
  • Internet Explorer 11: IE11 is even faster and more fluid than before. The ModernUI version adds new functionality as well.

This is just a short list of new stuff and the best part is, that all Windows 8 users get it for free as an upgrade from the store.