Microsoft is planning to update its built-in Windows 8 apps in the coming weeks, ahead of its official debut on October 26th. In a blog post today, the software maker detailed several improvements to the Windows 8 apps. The mail app will include full IMAP support, a conversation view, improved search, and contact search within the Messaging app — improvements that Windows 8 testers had been requesting.

The Windows 8 Photos app will include crop and rotate options and new slideshow options. Microsoft is also updating its Maps app, providing access to the Bing Bird's eye view and over 3,000 indoor venue maps. SkyDrive, Bing, Finance, News, Sports, Travel, Weather, Video, Music, and Games will all also be updated before October 26th.

Just in time for October 26th

We understand the Music and Video app updates will include full support for Xbox Music, which will launch on October 26th. This round of Windows 8 app updates will be welcomed by existing users, and arrive just before a broader set of consumers start to use the new operating system. Microsoft says the Bing app will be the first to be updated on October 5th, and the additional updates to other apps will follow over the coming weeks.