Microsoft Build 2018: Windows Timeline and Mixed-Reality HoloLens Annotations Coming to iOS

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Microsoft today held its annual Build developers conference where it announced that Windows Timeline is coming to the iOS Edge Browser app later this year. Timeline debuted in the latest Windows 10 update, allowing users to access a list of previously used apps and browser windows across their devices.

When it debuts in Edge on iOS, users on Windows 10 PCs who own iPhones will be able to more easily keep up their workflows when moving between devices. Microsoft first announced Timeline at last year's Build conference, when it also detailed some initial iOS linking features.

Mixed-reality annotations from Microsoft HoloLens on iPhone X

Microsoft then touched on its mixed-reality ambitions with the HoloLens headset, showing off multiple scenarios where enterprises can use HoloLens to accomplish tasks across distances with Microsoft Remote Assist. In one video, a woman asks for help using the HoloLens, and then a man annotates onto her field of vision using his iPhone X.

In another video, a man uses a feature called Layout to carefully design a safe space for heavy industrial equipment before an error is made with the physical installation. Remote Assist and Layout will launch May 22.


The company also announced an update for Visual Studio for Mac, which includes several new features along with the usual bug fixes and performance improvements. The app is gaining new editors for Razor, JavaScript, and TypeScript for building web projects as well as updated UI and templates for building serverless solutions with Azure Functions and .NET Core. Additional updates include:

- .NET Standard Library projects are now a fully supported option for sharing code between platforms when building Xamarin.Forms solutions.

- Preview support for Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC) in Team Foundation Server (TFS) and Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) has arrived addressing one of our top UserVoice requests. Developers now have the option to use the existing Git source control integration or the new TFVC integration to manage their code.

For Android users, there will be a new unified "Your Phone" experience that links a PC to an Android smartphone, so users can get "instant access" to texts, photos, and notifications while on their desktop computer. In its press release, Microsoft said: "Imagine being able to quickly drag and drop your phone’s photos into a document on your PC in one swift movement — without having to take your phone out of your pocket." Those in the Windows Insider Program will gain access to this feature sometime soon.

Microsoft also revealed a new Project Ink Analysis service that will let developers add support for handwriting and other shape recognition to apps on Windows "and other platforms." The company announced this alongside a new unified speech services API for its four speech-related AI tools: speech recognition, text-to-speech API, customized voice models, and translation.

Other announcements include an AI for Accessibility program to accelerate the development of AI solutions for people with disabilities, the continuation of Kinect as Project Kinect for Azure, the Azure Blockchain Workbench, Project Brainwave, Microsoft Excel updates, and more.

Overall, Microsoft said that more than 700 million devices now run Windows 10, up from 500 million one year ago. Office 365 has 135 million active monthly commercial users, up from 120 million last October.

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