Oct 18 for Win 8.1

Get it? I don’t know if that was on purpose or not, but I’d be worried that it’s what passes for clever in Redmond these days. Anyway, here’s the story:

Windows 8.1 will make its official debut on October 18, Microsoft revealed on Wednesday.

The latest flavor of Windows will arrive at 12 a.m. local time on October 18 in New Zealand to begin its global tour. Windows 8 users around the world will be able to download and install 8.1 as a free update via Microsoft’s Windows Store.

On the same day, Windows 8.1 also will pop up in the retail market on new PCs and tablets.

And let’s not forget that the Start button is back, but only kind of:

The new version of Windows offers a Start button, though not a Start menu. The button provides a visual cue to help you return to the Start screen. There’s also a Boot to Desktop option for folks who want to bypass the Start screen entirely.

That Start button tease might annoy even more people than eliminating it did.