Considering just how essential apps are for a platform, Microsoft is focusing equally on both the feature set and the bundled Metro apps when it comes to the final version of Windows 8.1.

A whole bunch of screenshots have made their way to the web around or after the BUILD conference, and they show the user interface of some of the default Metro apps that are to be integrated in the RTM version of Windows 8.1.

More important is the fact that most of these improvements will be exclusively available in the final retail version of Windows 8.1, meaning Microsoft will not roll them out to preview users.

According to a recent report over at LiveSide.net, everything from the Mail app to People and Calendar are on track to be redesigned in the stable build of the upcoming operating system. Essentially, Microsoft is aiming to make the most of the Metro UI for these apps.

The Metro (or Modern UI) design was introduced with Windows 8, but now the software titan feels is the time to take it to the next level, while at the same time making the OS more user-friendly.

The People app for example will get a new design that brings an in-app search box along with better contact name filter controls. The Calendar app, on the other hand, is updated so that it displays the upcoming events on the home screen much easier to read.

You can take a look at the app redesigns at the link above, but this much is certain that Redmond has finally got the grips on the Metro UI — gone are the simple and bland designs of Windows 8, replaced by engaging user interfaces in Windows 8.1.

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