5 minutes ago, DeathByVisualStudio wrote
Nail meets hammer. I believe this may be the new reality due to Rapid Release. So then the question is what are OEMs actually getting with the RTM version? A placeholder that will need to receive a sizable day-one update?
Typically, OEMs put the OS on during manufacture anyway (it's called ZDP), and the date when the OEMs will be given the image will have been fixed long, long ago.
In this case, as well, Win8.1 is being distributed as an online update anyway, so it's not even clear that for this release OEMs will have the image before other customers will anyway. OEMs will of course want to ship with Win8.1 soon after Win8.1 is available, but there's no downside to their customers of OEMs shipping with Win8 even after Win8.1 installs, because Win8.1 will then install during their first boot of the machine as part of the install process.
So if OEMs are a week or two late to the Win8.1 party, their customers, the OEMs themselves and frankly Microsoft probably don't really care all that much; if they turn on Automatic Updates, they'll have it in a day or two anyway (and if they don't have automatic updates turned on, they have bigger problems than not getting Win8.1).
Also: if you really want a Win8.1 machine to develop against, what's wrong with using the Win8.1 preview that Microsoft released some weeks back? The changes between the preview and the RTM are really bugfixes at this point.
Sure, it's not byte-for-byte what users will be using. But all of the documented APIs in kernel and usermode are fixed at this point, and unless your code is particularly fragile I can't think of a reason why you wouldn't be able to develop your app against it and have it work out of the box when 8.1 launches later this year.