Re: Network connectivity or not
I think it's about whether there was network connectivity at install time or whether the network connection came later. At the moment when you do an install they ask you if you want to download updates during the install or do it later.
I suspect they want to simplify the install procedure still further (it's already the simplest to install of any modern OS of any that I've tried) and are looking for what defaults to set and what to push off into an optional "advanced" menu.
At present they have an optional hardware configuration collection program which you can go through after installation to send information about your PC to them. I've used it a number of times, but I think it has too many questions and it inherently biases their data towards the sort of user who cares about what is in their PC. I think getting less and more basic information but getting it from a wider selection of users will give better results.
They've said they will publish this information in aggregated form on their web site. I'm in particular looking forward to seeing what proportion of people are using what sorts of CPUs and GPUs. I've been writing software recently which uses SIMD instructions, but it's very difficult to get a good idea of what SIMD level to target since the publicly available data sets are for games users, who are atypical so far as my software is concerned.