Server connection issues resolved, OS X 10.11.1 beta doesn't help 2016
A bit earlier today, Microsoft issued the first of what is likely to be a series of updates to fix its products under OS X 10.11 El Capitan. First on the block is a patch for Microsoft Office for Mac 2011, repairing the Outlook bug which caused crashes and the spinning beachball on connection attempts.
Microsoft fitness tracker has curved display, tracks altitude
Microsoft has unveiled its second-generation fitness wearable at its Windows 10 devices event today, using the same name as its predecessor. The Microsoft Band refines the physical design of the original fitness tracker from last year with a 320x128 curved AMOLED display, combined with a thermal plastic elastomer silicone vulcanate band, with Microsoft adding a few other features and functions to the iOS, Android, and Windows Phone-compatible device.
Entry price, but few technical details available for new slabs
Updated with pricing information of various configurations. Alongside the reveal of the HoloLens developers kit and the new version of the Band wearable, Microsoft refreshed its Surface Pro, in addition to adding a new laptop to the line. The Surface Pro 4 brings new processors, a higher resolution screen, and a new pen to the now 12.3-inch device. The Surface Book is a larger convertible device, with a 13.5-inch screen, with detachable screen.
HoloLens Development Edition to cost $3,000, available for pre-order
Microsoft is preparing to ship developer kits for the HoloLens, its attempt at an augmented reality headset, the software company revealed during today's Windows 10 devices event today. The HoloLens Development Edition will be made available to purchase in the first quarter of next year, priced at $3,000 per kit, with Microsoft starting to accept applications for the headset's development kit from later today.
Timetable for fix not clear. Problems span 2011 and 2016 versions
In the wake of escalating user reports over the weekend, Microsoft has issued a terse acknowledgement of problems with its software and OS X 10.11 El Capitan. Once thought to only affect Microsoft Outlook, the problems span all of Office 2011 and 2016 for OS X and range from minor graphical corruption not affecting a document, to the inability of the Office suite, as well as Outlook, to launch at all.
Gaming news summary for October 1, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, Twisted Pixel is spun off from Microsoft Studios, Activision admits there are issues with Tony Hawk 5, Nintendo breaks 1 million sales of Super Mario Maker, and the Humble Bundle starts offering games via subscription.
Companies clean up mess that began with Motorola Mobility, will work together
In a surprise move, Google and Microsoft have agreed to settle and dismiss all pending patent infringement litigation between the two companies dating back to 2010, and say they have "agreed to collaborate on certain patent matters and anticipate working together in other areas in the future to benefit our customers." The action will terminate some 20 active lawsuits filed in both the United States and Germany, though financial terms between the the parties was not disclosed. The action includes cases originally brought against or by Motorola Mobility.
Gaming news summary for September 29, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, Alien: Isolation for Mac is delayed, a BattleTech Kickstarter exceeds expectations early, Microsoft prepares for holiday sales of the Xbox One, and Sony readies itself for a PlayStation 4 firmware update taking place tomorrow.
Microsoft claims 10.5-inch screen size cutoff for free editing, saving
Microsoft is calling the iPad Pro's larger size not a "true mobile device," and as such, will require an Office 365 subscription to allow users to edit and save documents. At this time, the end user agreement for the iOS version doesn't specify this restriction, but the Android and Windows Store version both have the restrictive clause.
Subscription-free versions of Office 2016 suite available to purchase
A standalone version of Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac has been released, on the same day Microsoft launches Office 2016 for Windows. Already available to download for Mac users since July as part of Office 365 suite, today's release is the first time the most recent version of Office is being offered for purchase on Mac without requiring the subscription, with both Office Home & Student 2016 and Office Home & Business 2016 versions being offered.
Skype issues affecting users logging in, making calls to contacts
Skype is currently enduring major issues affecting its users in a number of countries around the world over the last 24 hours. The Microsoft-owned messaging and calling service is having problems with various aspects of the service, including its login and status systems, messaging, and other services, preventing some users from being able to communicate with others, with Microsoft advising it is aware and attempting to rectify the situation.
Gaming news summary for September 18, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, Destiny: The Taken King breaks download records on PlayStation, a developer accidentally reveals there is a sequel to The Last of Us on the way, Microsoft releases an update to the Xbox 360 firmware, and EA removes female players from FIFA 16 following NCAA involvement.
You say ethernet, we say ethernet a different way
MacNN's other podcast continues with the return of Malcolm Owen. He's the one who knows things while William Gallagher just pretends he does. This week they are knowing and pretending to know about iOS 9 and the various ways of mispronouncing technology terms.
New Lumia smartphones, Surface may launch at Microsoft event
Microsoft has revealed it is holding an event in New York early next month, and has started to invite members of the media to attend. The event, taking place on the morning of October 6, is apparently major enough to be broadcast live online and via the Xbox One game console, with the hints from the software giant so far advising there will be some "exciting news" concerning Windows 10 devices.
Up to 6GB of hidden files downloaded to Windows 7, 8 PCs, report discovers
Microsoft is forcing users of earlier versions of Windows to download Windows 10, whether they elect to upgrade to the newer operating system or not. The company has confirmed Windows 7 and Windows 8 installations are automatically downloading files for the upgrade to Windows 10, with users facing a loss of between 3.5GB and 6GB of storage and a slower connection while they download, even if the user does not want to make the upgrade at all.
Stop reading now and go buy it
Okay, no messing: this is a gorgeous keyboard that we were instantaneously smitten with, and then came to like more and more in our testing. The Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard is a simply superb piece of work, and a pleasure to write on. Fair warning: with a few mild caveats, the rest of this entire Hands On is going to be in much this same style -- so if you're already convinced, just know that it's available on Amazon for about $70, and away you go.
Gaming news summary for September 11, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, Pokemon Go is revealed as a mobile game coming out next year, Dota 2 switches to the Source 2 engine, and Microsoft starts the shuttering process for its Xbox 360 independent developer programs.
Pencil for iPad Pro will work with new inking tools in Office apps
Following after the company's surprise appearance during the launch of the iPad Pro in yesterday's Apple special event, Microsoft has revealed more information of what to expect from its Office apps when iOS 9 ships. Multitasking, inking, extended wireless keyboard support and intelligent search functions have been outlined in an official blog post, alongside some updates that will affect the Apple Watch when watchOS 2 is released.
Gaming news summary for September 8, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, a former Microsoft executive suggests the company could have avoided the Xbox One launch PR issues, Elite: Dangerous gets closer to shipping on Xbox One, Arma 3 and Satellite Reign reaches Mac, and some versions of Minecraft get cross-platform play between desktops and mobile.
In digital world, boundaries for countries, law enforcement mean little
As has been predicted for some time, the US government is clashing with technology companies over the encryption of personal data when it comes to law enforcement. The Justice Department is accusing Apple of disobeying a court order that it turn over text messages, in real time, between suspects in a guns-and-drugs case who are using iPhones. Apple has said the messages are encrypted without third-party keys, and thus it cannot comply with the order. Microsoft is also fighting the government, over whether emails stored outside the US should be given to US officials.
Ubiquitous phone tool gets easier to use
We really are ungrateful louts, aren't we? Look at what Skype does: it lets you make worldwide phone calls for free and right from your Mac or your iOS device. You can make actual phone calls from it to cell phones and landlines for fractions of the cost it used to be. Yet ask anyone about Skype and they are likely to flick their eyes to the sky and curl their lip. For we forget every single brilliant thing Skype does and we only remember every single time it fails to do them. It's as if it is our God-given right to talk immediately and without the faintest hiccup to anyone, anywhere. Mind you, have you tried using it lately? It's a right pain in the – anyway, Skype 6.0 for iPhone aims to sort that out.
Microsoft, ad company StarCom Mediavest not responsible for paid ads
The California-based Machinima Network has agreed to settle US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that it engaged in deceptive advertising by paying "influencers" to post YouTube videos endorsing Microsoft's Xbox One system and several games. Under the proposed settlement, Machinima is prohibited from similar deceptive conduct in the future, and the company is required to ensure its influencers clearly disclose when they have been compensated in exchange for their endorsements.
Gaming news summary for September 1, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, EA announces there will be a beta of Star Wars Battlefront, buyers of physical copies of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain for PC get a nasty surprise, Nintendo brings the New 3DS to the United States, and Microsoft brings out an "Elite" version of the Xbox One with faster storage.
New group attempts to make video codec free from H.264 patent mess
Seven leading Internet companies today announced formation of the Alliance for Open Media -- an open-source project that will develop next-generation media formats, codecs and technologies in the public interest. The Alliance's founding members are Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel Corporation, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Netflix. The new organization is committing its collective technology to meet growing Internet demand for top-quality video, audio, imagery and streaming across devices of all kinds and for users worldwide.
Microsoft's hit operating system is two decades old
Memory is such a funny thing. Reportedly, Windows 95 was made generally available on August 24, 1995, but I so clearly remember it only just squeaking in to the tail end of that year. I remember thinking that's typical Microsoft, and also typical of the then-idiotic fashion of naming your software after the year. That never really caught on outside Microsoft (various versions of the iLife and iWork suites excepted).
iTunes, and Swatches, and Bear stocks, oh my!
We hope your Sunday is going well so far. Today, as with nearly every Sunday, we share what informed us, or just plain tickled us. We're not just highlighting our own writing -- anything that we've discussed behind the scenes here at MacNN is fair game! Read on for thoughts on the events of the week in the tech world including more Swatch's impending assault by Apple legal ninjas, a Patreon for a site friend, French rumors about the new iPhone launch, and more!
October Microsoft press event rumored to feature Surface Pro 4, Lumia 950
Rumors are circulating that Microsoft is planning a major refresh of its hardware offerings in October, ahead of the Christmas season. Expected at the show is a revision to the Surface Pro lineup with Intel's Skylake processor in part to utilize Windows Hello biometric login, Lumia 950 and 950XL handsets already widely leaked, and some discussion of a smaller Xbox One console -- although rumors of the latter seem especially poorly validated, with little to confirm the release.
Better than ever –– but still PowerPoint
We may like Excel 2016 a lot and think that Word 2016 is much improved but the summary for those and their stablemate PowerPoint 2016 is that you should definitely get them if you're already committed to the older versions. If problems with the older software are making you wary of continuing with Office, then what we're saying is you're right to look around but the 2016 versions are contenders. They're no longer mandatory, but they're contenders.
Microsoft appeals to Windows 7, Windows 8 users with Windows 10 changes
Microsoft recently unleashed Windows 10 onto the world, with the software giant deciding to make it a free upgrade for Windows 7 and later systems. Not only that, but Microsoft also brought back the Start Menu following user feedback, as well as included the Cortana virtual assistant on the desktop for the first time. Is the latest version of Microsoft's operating system enough to keep existing Windows users happy, while also being attractive enough to bring a new audience onboard? Find out what we think in our review.
Only 64-bit Windows 10 supported for installation
Apple has made an update to Boot Camp that lets it install Microsoft Windows 10, 15 days after the operating system's launch. Arriving as a system update for OS X Yosemite users, software installable on Mac systems, using either an installation DVD, an ISO file downloaded from Microsoft itself, or an installer on a USB flash drive, though this time only the 64-bit version is being supported by Apple.
Apple adds 20 more Flyover locations to Maps
Apple has added more locations to its Flyover feature in Apple Maps, for the second time this summer. The feature, which provides a visual overview of a city combining aerial photography with 3D data, now includes 20 more cities and sites for users to view in both the iOS and OS X versions of Maps, with the collection primarily including areas of Europe, as well as Mexico and Japan.
Now you're talking
From the makers of a Contacts app that won't let you add contacts -- step forward, Outlook for iOS -- and the developers of the variable word count -- hello, Word -- comes Microsoft Translator 1.0 for iOS, and it is excellent. Or at least excellent enough to get by our high school French knowledge, and excellent enough to look brilliant rendering beautiful Russian and Chinese.
Great email app that needed more testing
There's no question Microsoft is doing some superb work on Apple's iOS, Macs, and now also Apple Watch. There's also no question it's still Microsoft. The new version of Microsoft Outlook 1.3.5 for iOS includes a tremendous Apple Watch app, with a feature list that is greatly superior to Apple's own Mail on the Watch. Since you don't have to have an Outlook email account to use this app, and since you can connect your regular iCloud one to it, it should be great. Except that, yet again, Microsoft has a long list of features -- and while this time they kind of work, they also kind of don't. If you went through a bullet point presentation about the features, you'd say they work, but if you actually go to use them, you wouldn't.
Windows 10 holds new promise, but getting there is the same old story
We are working up our full review on Windows 10 as I write this piece, and like other reviews you will read around the web, we are finding a lot to like about the latest and greatest from Redmond. However, we have found the both the upgrade process for existing users something of a chore, and the outright purchase process and download process to be a downright pain in the neck. Read on to see why when it comes to customer service and support, Apple still reigns supreme.
Outlook, Wunderlist, Yammer gain Apple Watch support
Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled a collection of new apps and upgraded versions it has developed for the Apple Watch. The new smartwatch apps are all productivity focused, featuring Outlook for Apple Watch as well as a new Microsoft Translator app that lets users communicate with other people in 50 different languages, though it also outlined updated apps for existing services already available on wearable devices.
Works with Intel-based Windows versions only at present, ARM-based version coming
On Thursday, Microsoft released and open-sourced an early version of a previously-announced tool now called Windows Bridge, which allows iOS developers to easily convert iOS apps to be able to run natively on Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 10 Mobile. While calling the early version "clearly a work in progress," the company asked that the "interested and curious" help improve the program by beta testing and filing reports on it.
Gaming news summary for August 4, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, Microsoft uses Gamescom to show off some important items, a change of voice actor in Destiny is unexpectedly announced, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition will include previous games in the franchise, and one game streamer is banned from Twitch over an ill-advised prank.
An Excel-ent episode with a literary bent whilst we wait on some downloads
If it wasn't for our new books (have we mentioned them?), this would be a strangely all-Microsoft episode of The MacNN Podcast, but luckily the Redmond giant turns out software for both Macs and Windows (who knew?), so we've set up this episode to be fun to listen to while you wait for your approval notice from Microsoft that you may obtain your copy of WindOwS X -- sorry, Windows 10. We also talk cool software, including (yes) Microsoft Excel.
Nokia sells Here mapping arm to car manufacturers for $3.1B
Nokia is selling its mapping business to a collection of German car manufacturers. The Here mapping arm is being picked up by Audi, BMW, and Daimler for €2.8 billion ($3.1 billion,) with the technology likely to be used in in-car navigation systems and to help self-driving research being performed by each of the manufacturers. Despite the sale, the Here team advises that the mobile app version will still be available, as it is likely to help car-based mapping systems and other markets.
Content delivery networks feel strain of Windows 10 downloads
Windows 10 has been installed on over 14 million devices in the first 24 hours of its release, Microsoft claims, suggesting it to be a success. The blog post by Yusuf Mehdi, Windows marketing chief at Microsoft, advises that Microsoft still has "many more upgrades to go" in order to catch up with Windows 10 upgrade reservations, despite the high number of installations after just one day of availability.
Gaming news summary for July 30, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, Bethesda reveals Fallout 4 mod support will not be ready this year, Microsoft starts charging for Solitaire in Windows 10, Angry Birds 2 ships, and Prison Architect has a date for when it will leave alpha.
Slow update downloads, unusual errors surface during Windows 10 release
Microsoft's distribution of Windows 10 to users may be causing issues for some Internet users, due to the sheer amount of bandwidth being used. While Microsoft has apparently put a lot of effort into making the release of the free upgrade as error-free as possible, problems are still surfacing despite attempts by the software giant to minimize issues, including extremely slow download speeds for a number of updaters.
Hugely-recommended overhaul, but few new features
It's no longer enough for Microsoft to add the odd new feature and scrub up the appearance of an app: the world has moved on, not least in that we now call them all "apps" instead of "applications." With Office 2016 now available to Office 365 users (if their companies have enabled it, or if they sign up themselves), our attention did go first to the new version of Microsoft Word. Office for Mac really contains four major applications (and OneNote, which we'll call a minor one) though, and while we personally might lump PowerPoint and Outlook together into the guest-cast category, Microsoft Excel 2016 15.11.2 is definitely a star of the show.
Update to Windows includes new Start menu, Cortana, Edge browser
Microsoft has finally made Windows 10 available to download for all users. The latest operating system from the software giant is out in 190 countries simultaneously, allowing Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users to start upgrading their systems to Windows 10, with Microsoft also commencing sales of full installations of the software via its own Microsoft Store as well as through Amazon and other traditional outlets.
Users report Windows 10 upgrade files starting to download to systems
Microsoft is allegedly preparing for tomorrow's launch of Windows 10, by preloading the operating system on computers that have been booked in for the upgrade. According to WinBeta, users that have already reserved their free upgrade from Windows 7 or later will start to see the files being preloaded ahead of a release after midnight tonight. The report also warns upgraders they can also expect to download a day one patch for Windows 10, weighing in at over 1GB in size.
Feature will allegedly allow Cortana voice commands to be always on in Parallels
Users of Windows 10 on OS X may be able to use Microsoft's digital assistant, if they are using Parallels' Desktop for Mac. A leaked product page for version 11 of the virtualization software allegedly suggests that Cortana's voice commands will continue to be usable by Mac users running the Microsoft operating system on their desktop, even if Windows 10 is not the foremost application at that time.
Gaming news summary for July 27, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's later-than-scheduled edition, China lifts its console sales ban, Nintendo prepares to remove TVii from the Wii U in the United States, and Steam suffers a rare security lapse via its own support system.
When email just isn't curt enough
Microsoft Send 1.2.4 is more an experiment than an app: designed by the company's Garage team, it's an attempt to see what email would be like if you turn it into text messages. The answer is ... text messages. Maybe you like text messages, and for some reason can't send them to someone. If so, then Microsoft Send is for you.
Microsoft Send turns work emails into IM-style conversation
Microsoft Garage, an experimental testing team, has released an app that aims to make email easier to deal with. Send, initially released for iOS as a free download, is a lightweight email client that tries to turn work-related emails into an instant messaging-style conversation that can be used for "brief, snappy conversations," instead of longer messages that do not encourage a response, or eat into the employee's working time.
Gaming news summary for July 21, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, a thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, Star Wars KOTOR II: The Sith Lords makes its way to Mac ten years after launch, Microsoft faces a class action suit over an Xbox 360 flaw, and an interim patch for Batman: Arkham Knight on PC will be coming next month.