Microsoft has confirmed plans to transition Windows 10 S to a dedicated "S Mode" in Windows 10. Early last month, a leak indicated that Microsoft was gearing up to make the change, but Microsoft corporate vice president Joe Belfiore today confirmed that Windows 10 S will shift from being a distinct version to a "mode" on existing versions in 2019 (via The Verge).
The change means that Windows 10 S will go from being a distinct edition to being an option that users can turn on with existing editions of Windows 10. Switching to S Mode will lock the device down, only allowing it to install apps from the Windows Store, just as Windows 10 S works today.
Since the move appears to be some time off, official details on how the new S Mode will work aren't available. However, it should have the effect of putting Windows 10 S (or S Mode, rather) into the hands of more people. According to an earlier report from Thurrott, devices that come with S Mode switched on will be able to turn it off, either for free or with a fee depending on which edition they're using. For example, Windows 10 Home users would be able to switch S Mode off for free, while Windows 10 Pro users may have to pay $49 to switch the mode off.
With the switch planned to come in 2019, the precise details of S Mode's implementation and potential pricing are likely still in flux. But it's certainly an interesting move, particularly as Microsoft continues to push forward with its strategy of a "low-hassle" version of Windows for schools and businesses.