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'Microsoft' Articles

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.

Microsoft's Word, Excel and PowerPoint for iOS Gaining Real-Time Co-Authoring, Drag and Drop Support

Microsoft today announced a major update for its Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps, which will see the introduction of real-time co-authoring, drag and drop support on the iPad, universal link support for shared files, and more. With support for real-time co-authoring, multiple people can contribute to and edit documents in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on iOS devices. Changes made by each user will sync within seconds, plus you'll be able to see everyone that's working on a document and what they're working on. Real-time co-authoring support on iOS devices follows the introduction of the feature in Microsoft's Mac apps earlier this month. Microsoft is also adding drag and drop support for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on the iPad, which means you'll be able to drag files between Microsoft apps and quickly add links, text, photos, graphs, and more. The three apps will also support universal links, which means anytime you're sent a shared Word, PowerPoint, or Excel file, it'll open right in the app rather than requiring you to authenticate in a browser, and there are new Accessibility features like improved VoiceOver support for better navigation. Microsoft today also announced major changes for the OneDrive app, which includes an overhauled interface, support for the Files app, drag and drop support, and several other new features. Microsoft says the new functionality in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will be available "in the coming days" through updates available in the iOS App Store. Microsoft Word [Direct Link], Microsoft Excel [Direct Link], and Microsof

OneDrive for iOS Updated With Redesigned Interface, Drag and Drop, and Files App Support

Microsoft released an update to its OneDrive app on Tuesday that adds support for the Files app in iOS 11 and brings a host of other new features many of which are responses to user feedback. To begin with, the interface has been overhauled to make better use of screen space and make filenames easier to read, while an ellipsis button next to each item brings up a new contextual options menu, so users no longer need to long-press a file to take actions. More generally, thumbnail images have been made larger, shared files are now easier to spot, and the multi-column list view on iPad has been redesigned to be less cluttered and give items and filenames more room to breathe. Another welcome enhancement in version 10.1 is expanded preview support for over 130 file types, including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, RAW, 3D objects, high-precision DICOM, TIFF files, iWork Files, Java/C/Swift, and many more. In addition, OneDrive now supports drag and drop, enabling users to drag files to emails and move them between open tabs on iPhone and iPad. Several iPhone X UI fixes are also in evidence, with the interface now displaying properly in landscape orientation, while a number of annoying bugs have been fixed, including one that made search results vanish whenever a file was opened. OneDrive is a free download for iPhone and iPad available from the App Store. [Direct Link]

End-to-End Encryption Comes to Skype Through Signal Partnership

Microsoft is testing a new "Private Conversations" feature in Skype, which is being introduced through a partnership with Signal. Skype is using the Signal Protocol for the feature, allowing users to take advantage of strong end-to-end encryption for more secure communications. Private Conversations are available for one-on-one conversations on Skype, with users able to initiate a private conversation by tapping on the "+" icon and then selecting "New Private Conversation." Once a conversation is initiated, it will be available only on the specific device where it was started. Microsoft says Private Conversations offer several unique features: A Private Conversation will have a lock icon next to your contact's name. Preview messages from Private Conversations will not show in Chats or notifications. Private Conversation capabilities are limited. You cannot edit a message or forward a file. From the chat window, only emoticons, files and audio messages are available to send. Private Conversations are specific to a device. A new invitation must be sent and accepted, to change to another device. Private Conversations are available today in a preview capacity for Skype Insiders, Microsoft's beta testing program for

iTunes Not Coming to Microsoft's Windows Store in 2017

At its Build developer event earlier this year, Microsoft said Apple was planning to bring its iTunes app to the Windows 10 store, making it easier for Windows users to find the software. At the time, Microsoft said the app would be available in the Windows Store "by the end of this year," a deadline Apple now says it's not going to be able to make. "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," an Apple spokesperson told ZDNet. Both companies are still working to get iTunes into the Windows Store, according to ZDNet's sources, but there is no updated timeline on when it might be available. Apple also did not provide details on why it's taking so long to wrap up the transition to the Windows Store. Most Windows users can download the iTunes software outside of the Windows Store, but Windows 10 S users will need to do without iTunes for the time being as that's a version of Windows that can only run apps available in the Microsoft

Xbox Party Chat Coming Soon to iOS and Android Apps

Microsoft this week announced that the beta for its main Xbox iOS app will soon allow testers to enable party chat and speak with friends who are in a party on Xbox One, with a wide launch expected to follow. Those interested can sign up for the Xbox app beta, run through Apple's TestFlight program, on Microsoft's website. The party chat mode is already available on the Android beta of the Xbox app, as spotted on Reddit (via Engadget). Xbox party chat beta is now available in the Xbox beta app for Android (available in app store) and iOS (sign up for the iOS beta here https://t.co/4jXxF2CQs2)— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) December 14, 2017 Details on the party chat feature are scarce, but it appears that it will work similarly to Nintendo's Switch Online mobile app, although likely won't be as game-specific. Nintendo's app was created due to the fact that the Switch console itself lacks a voice chat feature, so players in online games like Splatoon 2 are required to use the Switch Online app if they want to talk with friends. As of today, Splatoon 2 is still the only game supported in the app, despite numerous other online games being available for Switch, like Mario Kart 8. For the Xbox app, players will be able to chat with their friends who are playing on Xbox -- or on the mobile app themselves -- even when not at home near their console. Otherwise, the app allows users to view their friend list, send messages, post updates and game clips, purchase games on the store, and more. The Xbox app is available to download for free on the iOS App Store [Direct Link].

Microsoft Edge Browser for iPhone Launches on App Store

Microsoft Edge for iPhone was officially released on the App Store today following nearly two months of public beta testing. The alternative web browser will primarily appeal to iPhone users that use a Windows PC instead of a Mac thanks to a "Continue on PC" feature that can push a website from the mobile to desktop version of the browser. Microsoft Edge for iPhone also syncs your favorites, passwords, and reading list across your devices. Other features include an all-in-one Hub View, built-in QR code reader, voice search, and private browsing mode. Bing, Google, or Yahoo can be set as the default search engine in Microsoft Edge for iPhone, which has a similar design as the desktop version. The mobile version doesn't have Microsoft's Cortana assistant or built-in ad blocking. On iOS, Microsoft is using Apple's WebKit engine, as required for all third-party browsers on the platform. From a compatibility perspective, Microsoft said Edge for iOS should match the version of Safari that is currently available for iPhone. Keep in mind that, like other third-party web browsers, Microsoft Edge cannot be enabled as the default browser on iPhone. Microsoft Edge for iPhone is rolling out on the App Store [Direct Link] now for iOS 9 and later. It's also available for Android smartphones on Google Play. Microsoft said iPad support will be added in the future. The browser is initially available in the United States, China, France, and the United Kingdom, with more regions and languages to follow. The app has yet to be optimized for the iPhone X's screen

Microsoft Stops Offering New Outlook.com Premium Subscriptions, Rolls Features Into Office 365

Microsoft today announced that its Outlook.com Premium feature, which offered features like an ad-free Outlook experience for $19.95 per year, is closed to new subscribers. Outlook.com Premium features are now being added to Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal subscriptions. Today, we began rolling out new benefits for Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal subscribers who use Outlook.com. These premium email features include an ad-free inbox, enhanced protection against malware and phishing, larger mailbox sizes, and premium customer support. In the coming months, we'll be introducing additional premium Outlook.com features to make personal email and calendar experiences for Office 365 subscribers more powerful, productive, and secure.Office 365 subscribers will now get the same ad-free experience that was available with Outlook Premium, eliminating banner ads and advertisements in the message list. More mailbox storage is also included, as is advanced security against email threats, including a feature for scanning attachments and checking incoming links. All Office 365 subscribers now get 50GB of mailbox storage, while free Outlook.com accounts will get 15GB of storage space. Microsoft says that in addition to 365 subscribers, all loyal Outlook.com users whose mailbox is 12GB or larger will be updated to 50GB. The premium Outlook features will be added to all 365 Home and Personal subscription accounts automatically for users that have @outlook.com, @hotmail.com, @live.com, and @msn.com accounts. Advanced email security features will not apply to

Cortana for iOS Gains New Look, Faster Reminder Creation and Improved Performance

Microsoft today updated its Cortana app for iOS, improving the way the AI assistant works on iOS devices. Designed to compete with Siri, Cortana is a personal assistant that can do things like set reminders, schedule calendar appointments, answer queries, and offer up information you're interested in through machine learning techniques. Today's iOS app update introduces a revamped look that Microsoft says offers a simpler, better user experience. It's easier and faster to create reminders using the new interface, and there's a redesigned profile and settings page for managing preferences. Cortana features improved performance when it comes to page transitions and app responsiveness, and there are also general bug fixes.We are bringing major updates to make Cortana a better assistant for you: - A fresh new look with a simpler and improved user experience - It's now easier and faster to create reminders to help you stay on top of things - Redesigned profile and settings page to easily manage your preferences - Improved performance particularly faster page transitions and app responsiveness - Regular bug fixes and performance improvementsThe Cortana app for iOS devices first launched in December of 2015. Cortana is built into Windows devices as well, so customers who use Windows and are accustomed to Cortana may prefer to use the iOS app for reminders and other tasks. Cortana can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Microsoft Claims Upcoming ARM-Powered Laptops Offer Multi-Day Battery Life

Microsoft and Qualcomm have revealed they hope to release ARM-powered laptops by the end of the year, with the two companies promising multi-day battery life from the new machines (via Trusted Reviews). At its annual 5G summit in Hong Kong, Qualcomm revealed new details about the PCs it is developing in partnership with Microsoft. Known as "Always Connected PCs", the laptops are powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor and rely on an ARM emulation layer to run x86 Windows 10 desktop applications. ARM processors require fewer transistors, which enables a smaller die size for the integrated circuitry. Their smaller size and lower power consumption are two reasons why they can be found in iPhones and iPads, but the increasing performance and efficiency of the chips is making the step up to laptops a realistic proposition. Microsoft said it is already testing "hundreds" of the ARM-powered laptops internally on a daily basis, with battery life in particular exceeding expectations. "To be frank, it's actually beyond our expectations. We set a high bar for [our developers], and we're now beyond that. It's the kind of battery life where I use it on a daily basis. I don't take my charger with me. I may charge it every couple of days or so. It's that kind of battery life." Bernard added: "I would consider it a game-changer in terms of the way people have experienced PCs in the past."The first round of Always Connected PCs are said to be coming from the likes of Asus, HP, and Lenovo, but they aren't expected to be cheap. Qualcomm said more affordable Windows 10

Microsoft Says Its New Surface Book 2 is Twice as Powerful as Latest MacBook Pro

Microsoft today introduced the Surface Book 2, the second generation of its high-end notebook and tablet hybrid. The new Surface Book 2 is equipped with Intel's latest eighth-generation Core processors, up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 17 hours of battery life based on video playback. Microsoft says those tech specs make the Surface Book 2 up to five times more powerful than the original Surface Book, and twice as powerful as the latest MacBook Pro, but it didn't specify which configurations. Microsoft's comparisons to its primary competitor didn't end there. On its website, it said the Surface Book 2 has 70 percent more battery life than the latest MacBook Pro, which lasts up to 10 hours on a single charge. The new Surface Book 2 is available with a 13.5-inch or 15-inch display that can be detached from the keyboard and used as a tablet. The display can also be folded or reattached in Studio Mode or View Mode. Microsoft added that the Surface Book 2 has 45 percent more pixels than the latest MacBook Pro. The 15-inch model has a resolution of 3240x2160 pixels, good for 267 PPI, while the 15-inch MacBook Pro is 2880x1800 and 220 PPI. The notebook is equipped with two USB 3.1 ports, one USB-C port, a full-size SD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It also has a proprietary SurfaceConnect port that allows a Surface Dock to be connected. Surface Dock, available separately for $199, has two Mini DisplayPorts, one Gigabit Ethernet port, four USB 3.0 ports, and one audio out port. As a Windows PC, the Surface

Microsoft Fully Drops Support for Office for Mac 2011

Microsoft has officially ended support for Office for Mac 2011 as scheduled, nearly seven years after the software suite was first released. 2011 versions of Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint will no longer receive feature or security updates as of October 10, 2017. Any form of paid or free technical support from Microsoft has also ended indefinitely. Microsoft Lync for Mac 2011 still has an extended support period through October 9, 2018 for any possible security updates. Since the mainstream support period for the rest of the Office for Mac 2011 was already extended beyond the usual five years, there is no extended support period for those apps. In other words, support has completely ended. Earlier this year, Microsoft said it had not even tested Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Lync on macOS High Sierra, but some users on the web have reported that the suite is mostly functional on the new operating system. Word 2011 totally works in High Sierra: pic.twitter.com/whpRH0bQeV— Spider Mann (@spidermann) September 30, 2017 Microsoft recommends users upgrade to Office 2016 for Mac, which is fully supported on macOS High Sierra. OS X 10.10 or later is required. (Thanks, Jacob Harvey!)

Microsoft Admits Windows Phone is Basically Dead

Microsoft has publicly admitted for the first time that its Windows Phone is dead. In a series of tweets, Windows 10 chief Joe Belfiore said that the company is no longer developing new features or hardware for Windows 10 Mobile, with only bug fixes and security updates to come for existing users. Belfiore explained that his team had tried "very hard" to incentivize app developers by paying them and writing apps for them, but the low volume of users meant it was no longer worth the investment in Windows Phone. Microsoft officially ended support for Windows Phone back in July, but the software giant never owned up to the fact that the move was essentially the final nail in the coffin for its flagship mobile platform. Today's news that the Windows 10 Mobile hardware is no longer a focus for the company now puts that beyond doubt, and makes the possibility of a long-rumored Surface-branded phone seem further away than ever. Of course we'll continue to support the platform.. bug fixes, security updates, etc. But building new features/hw aren't the focus. 😟 https://t.co/0CH9TZdIFu— Joe Belfiore (@joebelfiore) October 8, 2017 Windows Phone was released in 2010 and quickly became the world's third most popular mobile operating system, but the platform couldn't compete with iOS and Android, which accounted for a combined 99.6 percent market share earlier this year. In another sign of the times, the New York Police Department recently confirmed it will begin transitioning from Windows Phones to iPhones for its 36,000 police officers in the fall. In Belfiore's

Parallels Desktop 13.1 Update Brings APFS and HEVC Support in macOS High Sierra

Parallels Desktop 13 for Mac received an update on Thursday to include full compatibility with the new Apple File System (APFS) and HEVC video standard included in macOS High Sierra. With APFS support, Parallels Desktop 13.1 can take advantage of Apple's cross-platform replacement for HFS+, bringing more security and better performance on devices with flash memory. New HEVC video support means the virtualization software will be able to benefit from more efficient compression of video files and smoother playback. You can learn more about Apple's new HEVC video codec here. Elsewhere, there are a host of stability and performance fixes, as listed in Parallels' knowledge database update summary. They include the following: Enables the user to create a new Boot Camp® virtual machine on a Mac® with macOS® High Sierra. Enables the user to install a High Sierra virtual machine from the Recovery partition on their High Sierra Mac. Resolves an issue with some Windows shortcuts not working (for example, "Control+Shift+"+"/"-" in Microsoft Excel). Resolves an issue with installing Parallels Tools on Windows XP (Note: Parallels Tools are used for Windows and macOS integration. Do not confuse them with Parallels® Toolbox.) Resolves an issue with Windows not starting when opening a file associated with a Windows application on macOS. Resolves an issue with crashes of BIMcollab ZOOM and TopSolid CAD. Resolves an issue with Zoom In and Zoom Out in APEX 3. Resolves an issue with “Sending as Attachment” not working for Windows files and Mac