Tag - Skype
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.
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.
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.
Microsoft has opened up Skype for Web to more users, pulling it out of the closed beta and making it available to all current Skype users based in the United States or the United Kingdom. The widening of beta access follows after another web-based Skype change, namely a redesign of how Skype for Outlook.com appears and works for users of the browser-based webmail client.
Microsoft is making its Skype Translator available to all users of the video messaging service. Open to everyone, instead of being available to people signing up to take part in the preview, the tool provides near real-time translation of spoken languages, allowing participants to easily speak to each other with little in the way of additional conversational gaps between participants.
Microsoft has suffered a second trademark-related blow from satellite broadcaster Sky, following a second ruling against the software producer in an EU court. The ruling declared that the Skype name is too similar to Sky's own trademark, and therefore could easily confuse consumers signing up for the service, expecting something produced by the broadcaster.
Last Wednesday on Pointers, we talked about the many reasons one might want to do some voice-oriented recording of a more serious nature on one's Mac or iOS device, such as interviews or as part of creating a YouTube video. We also made some entry-level recommendations on decent mics (the built-in mic on most Macs is fine for FaceTime calls, but its limitations show up quickly when trying to do something professional-sounding) and capturing software. This time around, we'll talk about the mechanics of making a podcast.
Communication platform Skype has released an update for its iPhone app today, bringing the latest version to 5.9. Featuring user interface improvements, the app's revised dial pad now suggests contacts with matching numbers as a number is entered. The newly-added "chat picker" aims to make starting conversations easier; once a contact is chosen, users can tap the phone or video icon at the top to start a call.
Microsoft has released a minor update to Skype for Mac, v7.2. The software mainly copes with several bugs, including crashes caused by changing a profile picture, playing the test sound in the Welcome tour, and/or launching Skype with Ecamm Call Recorder 2.5.11 installed. It also deals with Call and SMS buttons not working on a contact's profile page.
Microsoft has launched a beta of Skype for Web, a clientless version of its communications platform. Users can make video calls, send instant messages, and manage contacts via a browser; at the moment though, the beta is invitation-only for a small group of people. Microsoft says it plans to expand access globally "in the coming months."
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE