Microsoft today took the unprecedented step of skipping one of its Windows 10 feature upgrades when it began distributing a preview of the first 2020 update to the most daring testing volunteers.

Usually, as one feature upgrade nears release, Microsoft starts giving some Windows Insider participants – those who opted for the “Skip Ahead” channel – a look at the following feature upgrade. Currently, Microsoft is getting close to wrapping up 2019’s first upgrade, which will almost certainly be labeled “Windows 10 April 2019 Update” and carry the numeric tag of 1903. In its now-standard practice, it would soon begin giving Skip Ahead testers the code for this fall’s upgrade, aka 1909 and likely named “Windows 10 October 2019 Update.”

That’s not what Microsoft did this time.

“Today we are releasing a new build to Insiders who have opted into Skip Ahead,” wrote Dona Sarkar and Brandon LeBlanc, members of the Insider team, in a post to a company blog. “These builds are from the 20H1 development branch. Some things we are working on in 20H1 require a longer lead time.”

20H1, which stands for 2020’s spring feature upgrade – 2003 in Microsoft’s own yymm format – would not typically see light until August or September of this year, as 1909 nears completion.

The “longer lead time” explanation from Microsoft was vague by virtue of the fact that the company has not named any new features or functionality expected to debut in the 2003 upgrade, nor has it yet included any in the Spring Ahead build. The phrase implied that elements were more complicated than usual, more important or both. One possible culprit: Sets, an ambitious user interface (UI) project that the company pulled from testing in mid-2018 but promised would eventually return to Insider betas.

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