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.
Operating loss of $2.1B caused through $7.5B Nokia acquisition, other charges
Microsoft endured an operating loss of $2.1 billion for the most recent quarter, the software giant has revealed in its last financial results before the launch of Windows 10. The heavy loss, which works out to be a loss per share of $0.40, is largely accounted for by the $7.5 billion impairment charge relating to its acquisition of Nokia, and a restructuring charges of $780 million and $160 million, though the rest of the financials appears to be more positive for the company.
Gaming news summary for July 19, 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, Shenmue 3 completes its Kickstarter campaign, a settlement is reached over athlete representations in NCAA games, more Windows 10 gaming features are detailed, and an unauthorized animation based on the Legend of Zelda lore ends its crowdfunding project prematurely.
The new version of Word for OS X is very, very good -- but so what?
If you have to use Microsoft Word at work, go get this now and be delighted with it. If you don't have to, if you're looking for a great word processor, it's just a little harder to recommend Word quite so readily. It's harder, and it's also very unfair, as 30 years of using various versions of Word have left us with biases against it. Word earned those biases, it's just difficult to think about going back to relying on it, even though Microsoft Word 2016 is the best and the shiniest version ever.
Windows 10 will be sold on USB drives in stores shortly after launch
Microsoft has reportedly completed its Release to Manufacturing (RTM) build of Windows 10, in preparation for the operating system's July 29 launch. The RTM launch is one of a few items surfacing as Microsoft gets closer to the launch, with the company also making it easier for customers to use and install Windows 10, by making it available on USB drives in stores shortly after the launch takes place.
Thousands of Macs can be managed from central software server
Parallels today unveiled Parallels Mac Management 4.0 for Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), which extends Microsoft SCCM functionality to manage and control Mac computers. The new version of Parallels Mac Management adds the capability for IT administrators to create OS X images which can be customized via Microsoft SCCM, or deploy a single OS X image to all users universally.
Lightweight word processor does what it says
Back when Microsoft Word was king, you could do well selling a different word processor if it could open and save documents in Office format. You also needed to be cheaper, and it would help if you were easier to use -- neither of which, to be fair, were hard to pull off. Lastly, if you're in an App Store, finding a way to get the name Word in your title helped people find you. TinyWord 2.0 wants to tick every one of those boxes.
Standalone version will be available this fall, boasts many improvements
Following a four-month public beta period, Microsoft on Thursday released Office 2016 for Mac, now available for immediate download to existing Office 365 subscribers. The new release, strongly modeled on the existing design changes seen in the iPad version of the productivity suite, is the first new full version of Office for Mac since 2010, and adds features such as the Ribbon interface, sandboxing support, Retina screen optimization, and support for fullscreen view.
Xbox Music for iOS, Android can stream music from OneDrive storage
Microsoft has updated both of its Xbox Music apps for iOS and Android, increasing the app's integration with the OneDrive cloud storage service. The latest update allows users to be able to stream their own music collection stored on OneDrive directly to their device, in a similar way to music locker services, with the functionality being added to the app without the need to have a subscription to the Xbox Music Pass.
Loss of 7,800 Microsoft jobs, $7.8B impairment charge confirmed
Microsoft has revealed it is planning to majorly restructure its phone hardware business, in order to "better focus and align resources." An email sent out to staff by CEO Satya Nadella advises that the restructuring effort will also mean layoffs, with up to 7,800 positions at risk in its phone business in the coming months, as well as recording an impairment charge of approximately $7.6 billion in its next set of financial results.
Xbox brand removed from apps in preparation for Windows 10 launch
Microsoft is updating its desktop media apps in preparation for the Windows 10 launch at the end of this month, by removing the Xbox name among other alterations. Xbox Video is going to be rebranded to Movies & TV in Windows 10, with Microsoft's Xbox Music service receiving the new name Groove, with both services also going through a visual upgrade as part of the changes.
Up to $100,000, two HoloLens units offered to five research projects
Microsoft is attempting to prove the usefulness of its HoloLens augmented reality headset, by offering free units and cash to researchers. The Microsoft HoloLens Academic Research project will grant five academic institutions two development kits for the device as well as up to $100,000 in grants each, if researchers make a suitable proposal that aims to "better understand the role and possible applications for holographic computing in society."
Windows 10 RTM build could arrive this week
Microsoft is allegedly close to finalizing software included in the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 10, one that it will be providing to manufacturers to install on their computers, notebooks, and tablets. Sources of The Verge claim the RTM build of Windows 10 will be ready sometime this week, ahead of the new operating system's final release to consumers that is scheduled to take place on July 29.
Gaming news summary for July 5, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the twice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN and Electronista. In today's edition, Microsoft is bringing Minecraft to Windows 10, Club Nintendo ends in North America, Sales are halted and refunds offered for Final Fantasy XIV for Mac, and the revelation that Destiny could have been a funnier game.
Share of iPhone increases by 1.8 percent for second quarter in a row
Matching its performance in the previous quarter, Apple's iPhone again gained nearly two percent market share in the US in the last three months, according to ComScore, widening its lead as the dominant smartphone maker. While Android as a platform continued to hold the top platform position at 52.1 percent, it again suffered an overall decline of 0.7 percent, while iOS surged to 43.5, a 1.8 percent gain matched exactly by losses from Android, Microsoft, and BlackBerry.
Windows 10 to be released to users in waves, following Windows Insiders
Prospective users of Windows 10 may have to wait before being able to use the next version of Microsoft's operating system, the software company has revealed. A blog post advises that it will be rolling out Windows 10 to Windows Insiders first on July 29, then reserved systems will be notified that they can upgrade in waves after the launch date, with subsequent waves increasing in size.
Sixth Surface Pro 3 includes Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage
Microsoft has quietly extended its Surface Pro 3 lineup, adding one more option to the existing collection of five tablets, as part of a few changes to its overall Surface range. The sixth tablet adds an extra Core i7 selection to the roster, and while it has the same core specifications as its high-end stablemates, Microsoft has shrunk the storage capacity down from 512GB and 256GB to just 128GB.
Microsoft hands technology licenses, collected data to Uber
Uber is significantly bolstering its mapping operations and research, by acquiring technology and staff from Microsoft for an as-yet undisclosed amount. Map-related assets from Bing are being passed on to the app-based taxi firm, reports TechCrunch, with approximately 100 employees also being transferred over as part of the purchase, in yet another navigation-related acquisition from the transport company.
New Samsung notebooks have Windows Update-disabling software installed
Samsung is preventing some of its customers from performing Windows Updates automatically, it has been discovered. A small app going by the name of Disable_Windowsupdate.exe has been found to be installed on some new Samsung notebooks, with the app's sole purpose being denying the computer from downloading any important security updates or drivers from Microsoft's service, so that Samsung's own driver-updating software can work instead.
Blog post on Friday mistakenly said Windows Insiders would gain full Windows 10 free
Microsoft has been forced to clarify the free Windows 10 upgrade offer, after a blog post on Friday suggested that anyone within the Windows Insider program would get it as well. The software giant's original post has been corrected, removing text about the activation, while also explaining how users could still use a final build of Windows 10 without upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
Augmented reality HoloLens hardware may change, but likely to offer same display range
Microsoft's HoloLens is unlikely to have a wider field of view for its augmented reality display when it eventually reaches consumers, an executive has confirmed. The smaller section of the helmet where the AR content is visible, leaving a large peripheral area where there isn't any overlay, will most likely remain the same in terms of size and position, despite receiving complaints and comments from people who have tried out the device in tests and at major events.
The giants have spoken, but who's going to take the 2015-2016 sales crown?
The triumvirate of console gaming, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, have shown what they're going to show to launch the 2015 E3 expo, and as with all things, we've got opinions. Join MacNN and Electronista staffers Mike, Malcolm, and Jordan with special commentary from HammerCast's Duane Sibilly as they discuss the surprises, let-downs, reveals, and presentations that we've suffered through so you don't have to!
Doom, Gears of War 4, Mass Effect Andromeda shown at E3 events
Welcome to a special Game Replay, our regular gaming column, which will be daily for a few days this week to cover the main stories coming out of E3. For today's edition, we're covering Bethesda's first major E3 event, the non-hardware shown off by Microsoft's event, and EA's major announcements, including more of the multiplayer from Star Wars: Battlefront.
Over 100 Xbox 360 games will be playable on Xbox One by end of this year
[strong]Updated with pricing on new Xbox One Pro controller[/strong] Owners of the Xbox One will be able to see their game library expand, with the introduction of backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 titles coming to the console in the near future. The hardware announcements at Microsoft's E3 event also include a new controller for the Xbox One that includes a number of customizable elements to allow gamers to get the most out of the games they play, as well as some Windows 10 and VR items.
Xbox One with 1TB drive, controller with extra headset options shipping June 16
Microsoft has formally unveiled its upgraded Xbox One game console and controller, following a pair of earlier leaks for each device. Aside from confirming the new hardware's existence, Microsoft has also revealed its price cut for the existing version of the console will stay in place, as well as upcoming availability for an adaptor that will allow the Xbox One controller to be used on PCs and tablets wirelessly.