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'Microsoft' Articles

Microsoft Recommends All Customers Upgrade to Skype 8 With Skype 7 Set to Be Sunset in September

Microsoft today highlighted Skype 8 and recommended that customers upgrade to the new software as the company plans to retire Skype 7, aka Skype classic, later this year. Skype 8 includes free HD video and screensharing calls with up to 24 people, reaction options for messages in conversations and @mentions to get someone's attention in a group chat, a chat media gallery for viewing photos and links, customizable themes, a notification panel, and options to share photos, videos, and files over Skype that are up to 300MB in size. In the future, Microsoft plans to add additional features that include read receipts, private conversations with end-to-end encryption, call recording, profile invites, and group links for initiating a call with multiple people. Skype 8 features are also rolling out on the iPad starting today. Microsoft is encouraging all Skype users to update to the new 8.0 version of the software as earlier versions of Skype will stop working on September 1, 2018. Microsoft says it is discontinuing older versions of Skype in order to provide the best possible Skype experience with no quality or reliability issues. Note: A previous version of this post listed the 8.0 update as new, due to the fact that Microsoft published a blog post announcing it as new this morning. Our readers have pointed out that Skype 8 has been available for some time, with 8.25 listed as the current version of the

Microsoft Takes on Apple's Entry-Level iPad With 10-inch 'Surface Go' Starting at $399

Microsoft yesterday unveiled the 10-inch Surface Go, the company's smallest and lightest tablet computer to date. Priced at $399, the device is aimed at the same $500-and-under market as Apple's 9.7-inch iPad, which starts at $329. Looks-wise, the Go is basically a smaller version of the $799 Surface Pro, including the integrated kickstand and a front-facing camera above the 1800 x 1200 resolution IPS touchscreen display. On the right side of the Go is a magnetic Surface Connector port for charging and connecting to a desktop dock, one USB-C port, and a headphone jack, with a microSD card slot located underneath the hinge. Inside, the Go features a fanless Kaby Lake dual-core Intel Pentium Gold processor, 4GB or 8GB RAM, and 64GB or 128GB solid-state storage. Microsoft claims the Go has up to 9 hours of battery life. Weighing in at 1.15lbs, the Go is slightly heavier than Apple's iPad. Like the Surface Pro, the Go supports the $99 Surface Pen (Apple added Apple Pencil support to its $329 iPad in March) and optional keyboard cover, which starts at $99 in black, with four color options costing $129. The optional Surface Mobile Mouse costs $35. Off the shelf, Surface Go devices will run Windows 10 in "S mode", a streamlined version of Microsoft's desktop OS that only runs verified apps downloaded from the Windows Store, although customers can switch to the regular version of Windows 10 at no additional cost. For business customers, Microsoft is also offering a Surface Go with Windows 10 Pro installed for $449. The $399 Surface Go ships August 2 in the

Microsoft 'Movies & TV' App Reportedly Coming to iOS

Microsoft may be working to bring its Windows-based Movies & TV app to iOS devices, according to Windows Central. The app lets users browse and play movies and TV shows purchased from Microsoft's Store, but it's only available on Windows 10, Xbox, and Windows 10 Mobile, and Microsoft is apparently eager to bring it over to rival platforms to give consumers more of a reason to buy from its catalog of video content. While most people have moved over to streaming content via services like Netflix, there is still a whole lot of content that isn't immediately, or ever, available to stream. Lots of people buy digital movies and TV content, and Microsoft has a huge store that a lot of people seemingly ignore or don't know about because there is no mobile companion app for their phone. But it appears Microsoft is now finally working on bringing its Movies & TV service to iOS or Android, according to sources familiar with the matter.Microsoft killed off its Groove Music streaming service last year, which led many to assume the same fate would befall its Movies & TV service. However, since the death of Windows 10 mobile in October, Microsoft has seen fit to bring over some popular apps like Edge and Windows Launcher to iOS and Android, and it looks as if the company counts Movies & TV in that select list. That said, sources told Windows Central not to expect the iOS and Android version of Movies & TV anytime soon, since the app is still a work in

Microsoft Developing Dual-Screen 'Pocketable' Surface Device

Microsoft is working on a pocket-sized dual-screen Surface device according to information sourced from Microsoft internal documents and shared by The Verge. Called Andromeda, Microsoft's dual-screen Surface project has been in development for at least two years and it's designed to "blur the lines between mobile and stationary computing," according to an internal document. Andromeda rendering via David Breyer "It's a new pocketable Surface device form factor that brings together innovative new hardware and software experiences to create a truly personal and versatile computing experience," is exactly how Microsoft describes the device internally.Microsoft's device will feature a wraparound display that bridges the gap of the hinge when it is fully opened, and according to The Verge, December renderings shared by David Breyer are "identical" to the current prototype versions of the upcoming Surface. The pocketable Surface can be folded in either direction or laid flat, as can be seen in the renderings. Andromeda rendering via David Breyer Microsoft is said to be experimenting with stylus input for the pocket Surface, with prototype devices equipped with styluses and notepad-like apps for note taking. The Verge's sources warn that work on Andromeda could be ceased at anytime, but Microsoft is said to have tentative 2018 release date plans, which would mean development on the device is nearing completion. Some nebulous rumors have suggested Apple too is exploring some similar concepts, working with LG to develop an iPhone with a foldable display. Apple

Microsoft's Edge Browser for iOS Gaining Built-In Adblock Plus Functionality

Microsoft is testing built-in Adblock Plus integration in its mobile Edge browser available for both iOS and Android devices, reports The Verge. With built-in Adblock Plus functionality, Edge browser users on iOS will not need to download a separate ad blocking app, which may attract more users to Microsoft's browser. Adblock Plus can be enabled in Microsoft Edge's settings, with no add-on app required. Google has built ad blocking into Chrome for Android devices, but it is somewhat limited and not available on iOS devices. As noted by The Verge, Adblock Plus is a more aggressive ad blocking option. iOS Safari users can, of course, install one of several ad block apps available in the iOS App Store, but there is no native ad blocking functionality in Safari. Adblock Plus is available in a beta capacity on both Android and iOS devices at the current time, with Microsoft planning to roll the feature out to all Edge for iOS and Android users in the near future. Microsoft has made its Edge browser available across a range of devices, including iPhones, iPads, and Android devices in addition to Windows computers. The Edge browser includes syncing of favorites, passwords, and reading lists, along with a "Continue on PC" option for transferring what you're reading from the mobile Edge browser to the

Microsoft Updates Bing iOS App With AI-Powered Visual Search

Microsoft has announced a new visual search feature for its Bing app that lets users snap a picture with their phone's camera and use it to search the web. The new visual search function builds on the AI-powered intelligent search capabilities already used by Bing, and works pretty much like Google Lens: Users take a photo of something or upload one from their camera roll, and then the search engine identifies the object in question and offers additional information by providing links to explore. The feature appears as an icon in the Bing app's search bar, and can be used to search for everything from landmarks to breeds of dog, but Microsoft is pushing it as a way to shop from photos for clothes and home furniture: Let's say you see a friend's jacket you like, but don't know its brand or where to purchase. Upload a pic into the app's search box and Bing will return visually-similar jackets, prices, and details for where to purchase. Visual Search is available today in the U.S. via the Bing app [Direct Link]. Microsoft says the feature will also roll out soon for Microsoft Edge on iOS as well as Bing.com, which remains a search engine option in Apple's latest version of Safari

Microsoft Launches Rebranded 'Microsoft News' App for iOS With Dark Mode and More

Microsoft today announced a rebranding of its news engine that's been powering sites like MSN.com since 1995, which the company is simply calling "Microsoft News." The name will replace the previous "MSN News" smartphone app beginning today across devices for iOS, Android, Microsoft Edge, Windows 10, Skype, Xbox, and Outlook.com (MSN.com will retain its name). The revamped app curates news via publishing partners, human editors, and artificial intelligence, ensuring readers are up-to-date on the topics they care about. News sites include over 3,000 brands in all major global markets, like The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC News, and more, all including text and video content. Users can personalize the app by prioritizing favorite news topics and selecting interests to follow in the news feed. Microsoft says that publishing partners can connect with their audiences and earn money for the content that users read within Microsoft News. In terms of UI features, the iOS app includes a dark theme, supports the iOS widgets feature, has customizable breaking news alerts, and more: - New personalization upgrades, including the ability to tailor interests to follow in your news feed – such as World News, Personal Finance, Fitness and many more – and to roam interests across devices and local news options for top cities - Simplified access through seamless integration with iOS and Android widgets - Continuous reading, for a smooth content experience Microsoft News comes one month after Google revamped its own Google News app on iOS devices, with a few similar

Microsoft Debuts Office 2019 Preview for Mac Enterprise Users

Microsoft today announced the launch of a new Office 2019 for Mac Preview, which is available starting today for its commercial customers. Office 2019 for Mac, which includes new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote, is the next perpetual update to Office for Mac and will ship alongside Office 2019 for Windows during the second half of 2018. The new software is designed for customers who aren't yet using Microsoft's Office 365 subscription service and prefer instead to have access to perpetual non cloud based apps. According to Microsoft, Office 2019 for Mac introduces a roaming pencil case and ribbon customizations across all Office apps, a new focus mode in Word, a focused inbox in Outlook, new charts and functions in Excel, and morph transitions, in-click sequence, and 4K video export in PowerPoint. The update also includes features for IT designed to simplify deployment and management, such as command-line tools for centrally controlling how and when Office updates are provided to users and support for industry-standard MDM policies and preferences. The new additions to Office 2019 for Mac are already included in the Office 365 ProPlus plan available to businesses, but are not available in Office for Mac 2016, the current perpetual Office version. Microsoft has also prepared a website that lists all of the available features for the Office 2019 for Mac Preview. Microsoft users interested in joining the Office 2019 for Mac Preview can do so by following the directions available on Microsoft's support site.

Microsoft Planning Low-Cost Surface Line to Compete With Apple's $329 iPad

As Apple's iPad and Microsoft's Surface continue to compete in the tablet market, a new report out today by Bloomberg claims that Microsoft is planning its next tablet line to be lower-cost in an effort to attract people to Surface products who aren't interested in the more expensive Surface Pro. The move is directly aimed at competing with Apple's recently launched $329 iPad, and could see Microsoft debut the devices as soon as the second half of 2018. According to people familiar with the company's plans, the tablets will be priced at around $400, so they would still be more expensive than Apple's cheapest options. They will be the first Surface devices to adopt USB-C and rounded edges "like an iPad," instead of the square corners of the current devices. Storage tiers will include 64GB and 128GB, as well as LTE options, and the devices will feature 10-inch screens. The Surface Pro In an effort to make the tablets 20 percent lighter than the high-end $799 Surface Pro, Microsoft is believed to sacrifice battery life by as much as "four hours fewer" than the current generation (13.5 hours for Surface Pro). Not much is known about the insides of the upcoming tablets, but the people said that Intel will supply the main processor and graphics chips. The devices will continue to have the kickstand for upright typing and video watching seen in current Surface models, and they will run Windows 10 Pro. Ultimately, the company is trying to enter the low-cost market again after previous attempts with the Surface RT in 2012 and the Surface 3 in 2015, which both started at

Microsoft Store's Revenue Sharing With Developers Will Soon Significantly Undercut Apple and Google

Microsoft on Tuesday announced changes to its revenue sharing model with developers that will significantly undercut Apple and Google. Starting later this year, the company says developers will receive 95 percent of the revenue earned from sales of their apps, in-app purchases, and new subscriptions on the Microsoft Store, excluding games and apps sold in volume to organizations, but only when a customer uses a direct link to access and purchase the app. If the customer was referred to the app by Microsoft, such as in a featured collection on the Microsoft Store, developers will receive 85 percent of revenue. The new fee structure will apply to Microsoft Store purchases on all Windows and Surface platforms, but excludes purchases on Xbox consoles. Microsoft presumably hopes reducing its commission to just five percent will encourage developers to create apps for its platforms. Microsoft, Apple, and Google all currently pay developers 70 percent of revenue earned from purchases on their app stores in what has long been the industry standard. As of the end of 2017, the App Store and Google Play had an estimated 2.1 million and 3.5 million apps available. Microsoft last confirmed having over 669,000 apps in what was then called the Windows Store in September

Apple's MacBook Pro vs. Microsoft's Surface Book 2

One of Apple's biggest competitors in the laptop space is arguably Microsoft, with its line of portable, productivity-focused Surface Book machines. Microsoft in November released its newest product, the Surface Book 2, a 2-in-1 PC that has quite a few selling points to entice Apple customers. In our latest YouTube video, we took a look at the 15-inch Surface Book 2 and compared it to the 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro across a number of categories including build quality and design, key features, and overall usage experience for someone in the Apple ecosystem. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Both the Surface Book 2 and Apple's most recent MacBook Pro models are powerful machines with some of the latest technology in processor and graphics cards, so modern apps, games, and other software features run well on either device. The Surface Book 2 and the MacBook Pro are both well-built with attractive, eye-catching designs, but there are some major differences here. While the MacBook Pro is a traditional laptop with a display and attached keyboard, the Surface Book 2 is a 2-in-1 with a touch display that can be converted into a tablet. Because of its 2-in-1 design, the Surface Book 2 has an unusual hinged design that lets the display be folded backwards or disconnected from the keyboard entirely for use in a tablet mode. The MacBook Pro, meanwhile, has no touch screen and it is a unibody machine. Microsoft's Surface Book 2 has a wealth of ports that are missing from the MacBook Pro, which only offers 4 USB-C ports (albeit with Thunderbolt

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

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

Microsoft Announces New Features for Outlook on Mobile, Desktop, and Web

Microsoft is rolling out several new features for Outlook users this week and in the next couple of months. The announcement comes hot on the heels of Google's recently launched Gmail redesign, and promises changes to the company's Outlook desktop and mobile apps, as well as its webmail service. First up is new support for synced draft folders, which will allow Outlook users to draft a message on their mobile device and finish it on their desktop computer, or vice versa. Another addition is a new chat-like Quick Reply box at the bottom of the screen, for quickly responding to messages while keeping their content in view. Microsoft is also introducing a "Favorite people" feature to go with its existing support for identifying groups and email folders in Outlook. It's a lot like the way VIPs work in Apple Mail, but uses tags rather than stars. Elsewhere, the company is adding the ability to view Office 365 Group events in Outlook, as well as access to a group's OneNote Notebook. Events will be trackable in the group's contact card, while the Notebook access relies on the OneNote app being installed. Other business-focused features coming to the mobile app include the ability to add organization directories to your Outlook contact information, and proxy support for companies who choose to block direct access to the internet from mobile devices. Improvements to Outlook Calendar have also been announced, including bill pay reminders for Outlook.com that appear as calendar items if a bill is identified in a received email (similar to how travel reservations

Apple's iTunes App Now Available Through Microsoft's Windows 10 Store

iTunes, Apple's software for downloading, purchasing, and managing content on iOS devices and playing Apple content on Macs and PCs, is now available for download through Microsoft's Windows 10 Store. Microsoft first announced plans to bring the iTunes app to the Windows 10 Store in May 2017, and said at the time that the app would be available by the end of 2017. In December, though, an Apple spokesperson said that the two companies would not hit that deadline. "We have been working with Microsoft to deliver the full iTunes experience to our customers and we need a little more time to get it right," Apple said. iTunes has been available on the Windows platform for many years as a standalone download for most Windows users, but its addition to the Windows Store will make it easier for Windows users to find the software. Windows 10 S users have not been able to download the iTunes software as the mode only supports software downloaded from the Microsoft Store, so this will be a welcome addition for those Microsoft customers. The addition of iTunes to the Windows Store is a win for Microsoft, as iTunes is reportedly one of the apps that Windows users search for most often.

Microsoft Edge Browser Expands to the iPad

Microsoft today announced that its Microsoft Edge browser is available for download on the iPad and Android tablets, four months after it was first released for the iPhone and Android smartphones. Designed to create a seamless browsing experience for Windows 10 users who also have Apple or Android devices, the Microsoft Edge browser features content and data syncing between the iOS version of the app and the PC version. A "Continue on PC" feature lets users push websites from a PC to a mobile device and vice versa (Windows 10 Fall Creator's Update required) and the "Hub View" features easy access to favorites, reading list, history, and books. Passwords, favorites, and reading lists are all synced across devices where a user is signed in to create a personalized browsing experience no matter which device a PC user is browsing on. Microsoft Edge also features a built-in QR code reader, voice-based search, and an InPrivate browsing mode. Microsoft Edge for iPad and iPhone can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link] There's also a new version of the browser for Android tablets, available from Google Play.

Microsoft's Virtual Assistant Gains Alternative 'Cortana' Activation Command

Microsoft is giving users of its Cortana virtual assistant another way to activate it with their voice. As reported by The Verge, owners of the first Cortana-integrated Invoke speaker can now summon the assistant using just "Cortana" rather than the typical "Hey, Cortana" phrase, although that continues to work as well. The alteration is expected to trickle down to Cortana for iOS in the near future. Microsoft hasn't offered a reason for the new option, but probably doesn't need to, given that many users will find "Cortana" easier to say, just as Amazon's "Alexa" is on supporting devices. Alexa users can also choose an alternative "Echo" invocation, but owners of Apple devices must use the phrase "Hey, Siri" (and its equivalent in other languages) to get the attention of Apple's digital assistant. Apple has never indicated it will offer a way to customize the "Hey, Siri" invocation – perhaps because it's not technologically viable, given the way Siri listens for the activation phrase via an energy-preserving coprocessor. But the ability to do so could theoretically help users specify which device their request is directed at when multiple Apple devices are present ("Hey, HomePod," for example). Aside from offering a little more personalization, the option could also help device owners prevent accidental or prank requests from other sources, like TV ads, podcasts, and so

Microsoft Planning to Integrate Cortana Into Outlook Apps for iOS and Android

Microsoft is planning to integrate its AI assistant Cortana directly into the Outlook mobile apps on iOS and Android, according to people familiar with the company's plans speaking with The Verge. Cortana currently offers various email-related actions and commands on supported devices, but the assistant can not be called up within Outlook on smartphones. Image by Tom Warren via The Verge With the addition of Cortana, Outlook users will be able to hear their emails read aloud and respond to them with their voice. Details are still scarce, but the sources said that command phrases will include asking Cortana "What's my email," or asking to read recent emails from a specific contact. The Cortana integration will allow users of the popular mobile email client to listen to and respond to emails with their voice. This will be particularly useful during car journeys, and Microsoft is testing Cortana integration directly within Outlook mobile that will work over Bluetooth and read messages aloud. Users will be able to ask Cortana phrases like “what’s my email,” or just to read messages from specific contacts. The most recent Cortana-related iOS news saw the AI assistant's iOS app gain native iPad support last month. Prior to that, Microsoft updated Cortana's iPhone app last October with a revamped interface and improved performance. Microsoft and Google each have apps dedicated to their AI assistants on the iOS App Store, aimed as competitors to Siri. The main limitation of the non-Apple assistants is that they lack system-wide functionality on iPhones and iPads, and can

Quick Takes: Apple Hires a Latin TV Head, New Owner of Reserve Strap Plans to Sue Apple, and More

In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays. Friday, March 2 Apple announces hiring of Sony TV's Angélica Guerra as Head of Latin American Programming: Guerra oversaw Sony Picture Television's production business across Latin America, including Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil. She will report to Morgan Wandell, Apple's head of international creative development. Commentary: Apple has poached several Sony executives, including Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who run the company's new Worldwide Video Programming division. Apple has already placed orders for over 10 original series with well-known actors and producers such as Jennifer Aniston and Steven Spielberg. Apple hasn't revealed how it plans to distribute its original content, but it will soon. The company could launch a streaming service like Netflix, or it could release the series through its TV app or iTunes. In the past, episodes of Apple's "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" and "Planet of the Apps" were exclusive to Apple Music. Microsoft releases Soundscape: The app for iPhone uses 3D audio technology to enhance a person's surroundings, helping people with blindness or low vision to explore unfamiliar areas. An audio beacon can be placed on a point of interest, which users hear as they move around. Soundscape provides information about your surroundings with synthesized binaural audio, creating the effect of 3D sound. It can run in the

Microsoft Releases 'Photos Companion' iOS App for Quickly Transferring Photos to PC

Microsoft today released Photos Companion, an iOS app specially made for Windows 10 users to let them transfer photos from their Apple devices to PCs more easily. First circulated among beta testers in November, Photos Companion links with Windows 10's built-in photos app by way of a QR code, after which multiple photos can be sent over the same Wi-Fi network. Microsoft hopes the app – the result of a Microsoft Garage project – will appeal primarily to students who don't back up their photos to a cloud service such as the company's own OneDrive, but need a convenient way to get content from their smartphones to Windows machines in an education setting. We began developing a simple, experimental app for iOS and Android to see if we could unblock educators and help them begin using the Photos app in their classrooms. We knew that students often captured on multiple phones or tablets, but leveraged a single "project" PC to assemble their media and create their final project. We also knew that Wi-Fi access in the classroom was great between devices, but that any solution that required the cloud for transfer could be blocked by overloaded networks. Our solution was to build an app that would support direct wireless transfer between any phone or mobile device and the Photos app on any Windows 10 PC. This would enable students to transfer media to their own computers … or to a shared, project PC … without worrying about network speeds or mobile data charges.The app is part of Microsoft's wider mobile strategy to improve its iOS offerings, now that Windows 10 Mobile

Microsoft's Cortana Assistant Now Available on iPad

Microsoft today updated its Cortana app for iOS with native iPad support. The design looks essentially the same as the iPhone version, but with an interface optimized for the larger 7.9-inch to 12.9-inch screen sizes of Apple's tablets. The release notes also mention that Cortana now opens 20 percent faster:What's new: Introducing a brand-new Cortana for iPad design. Enjoy an exclusive layout and interface for your iPad. Cortana now launches 20% faster! Enjoy a lightning-fast experience.Like rivals Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, Cortana is a digital assistant that can set reminders, schedule calendar appointments, respond to queries, and provide other information through machine learning techniques. Apple only allows third-party assistants to function within their apps, however, limiting their usefulness versus Siri on iPhone and iPad. For example, Cortana can't be invoked with a voice command when an iOS device is locked. Nevertheless, iPad users now have one more assistant to choose from alongside Siri and Alexa. Cortana is available for free on the App Store.