Why Microsoft might be looking to make cheap Surface tablets again

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Stop me if you've heard this one: Microsoft, beaten to the tablet market by Apple, wants to build an alternative, one that runs Windows and gives more bang for the buck.

That, of course, was the whole strategy behind the original Microsoft Surface that launched with Windows 8 in 2012. And it's also apparently the playbook Microsoft is again working from now that Bloomberg is reporting the company is looking to debut a new, lower-cost iPad competitor with the Surface brand later this year. 

That's weird, because we all know how the Surface plan played out: The first one was a billion-dollar disaster, but when Microsoft refocused around the Surface Pro line and stopped trying to compete with the iPad and instead market its powerful tablet PC as a MacBook alternative, sales soared, and the Surface found its niche as a high-end Windows machine. Read more...

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What to look for when buying a tablet as a laptop replacement

Tablets didn’t exactly take over the computing world, as Apple and Microsoft had predicted years ago. But they have been evolving to the point where they can fill in for a laptop under the right circumstances. Still, how do you ensure that the tablet you buy is good enough for you to leave conventional PCs behind? It’s not always easy — a tablet that’s powerful enough for one person might be overly complicated for another. We have some tips to help you navigate the shopping maze.

Cortana for iPad takes full advantage of the larger screen

Microsoft updated its Cortana app and it now features native iPad support. The interface makes use of the bigger iPad screen, but otherwise it's largely similar to the iPhone version. The update, spotted by MacRumors, also notes that the app now opens 20 percent faster. "Introducing a brand-new Cortana for iPad design. Enjoy an exclusive layout and interface for your iPad," says the update release. "Cortana now launches 20 percent faster! Enjoy a lightning-fast experience."

Via: The Verge

Source: App Store

Microsoft adds support for iOS Files app, drag and drop to OneDrive

Apple's latest operating system for its mobile devices, iOS 11, added a ton of productivity tweaks. One of the biggest is Files, a new, well, file system for iOS that lets users interact more directly with documents and images without having to go through an associate app. Now Microsoft has just added several new features for its Office and OneDrive iOS apps, including access to OneDrive through the Files app. Other additions feature drag and drop capabilities, co-authoring on iOS (and Mac), and a better list view in OneDrive to help find your files more easily. Microsoft has also added new features to its Slack competitor Teams, like the ability to add interactive cards from apps into chats.

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft will preview the Edge browser for iPad next month

Though Microsoft has been rolling out Edge to more devices, iPad users have been left waiting. But it appears that the browser will finally be making its debut on the iPad sometime soon. As Neowin spotted, Sean Lyndersay, an Edge program manager, tweeted that the iPad version will be previewed through Microsoft's TestFlight next month and should see a wide rollout soon thereafter.

Via: Neowin

Source: Sean Lyndersay (Twitter)

Xbox party chat arrives on iOS in beta

You no longer need an Android phone if you want to join in Xbox party chats when you're away from your console -- Microsoft has introduced party chat to the beta Xbox app for iOS. If you've been accepted into the program (you have to sign up first), you can keep up with your teammates' voice conversations from your iPhone or iPad while you're racing home to join them in a multiplayer match.

Via: OnMSFT, Windows Central

Source: Xbox App Beta signup

There’s a fake version of ‘Cuphead’ on the App Store (updated)

Xbox's retro-inspired Cuphead is on the App Store. There's just one problem: it's a fake. While the iTunes preview page looks legit, the game isn't actually an official project from designer Studio MDHR. A quick whois search reveals that the phoney website is hosted in Hungary and that registered owner, Sheridens LTD. has done this sort of thing before with an unofficial mobile port of melee brawler Gang Beasts. In fact, the fake Studio MDHR website was set up less than two months ago.

Source: iTunes, Whois

‘Dance with flARmingos’ in a mixed reality mating ritual

Flamingos rule everything around her. Her clothes are covered in them. Her workspace is littered with representations of their spindly legs and hot-pink plumes. She's spent hours studying their migratory patterns, mating rituals and native environments. She's traveled the world speaking to conservationists and ornithologists to better understand them. She even adopted 20 of the winged icons to aid in her research and their preservation.

Microsoft’s Learning Tools for students heads to Word on iPad

With its Learning Tools, Microsoft has developed a few ways to make it easier for students to get a better handle on reading and writing. One tool, for example, can read your words aloud and help you identify common grammatical issues. Another, called Immersive Reading, can also read text aloud while highlighting it in "focused" view (where words are spaced out in a distraction-free environment). The Learning Tools started out as a OneNote plug-in, but Microsoft has steadily expanded it to Office apps on desktops, mobile and the Web. Today, the company announced they're headed to Word for iPad.

Microsoft inadvertently hints at its own iPad keyboard cover

You might not have any inclination to buy a Surface Pro tablet if you're an iPad owner, but Microsoft may be happy to sell you the keyboard portion. WinFuture has noticed that Microsoft posted a battery document mentioning an unannounced iPad Touch Cover. The file reveals precious little about the peripheral, but its name harkens back to the Surface Touch Covers that Microsoft used to sell -- the emphasis here would be on thinness over the tactile feel of a Type Cover. The inclusion of a battery and the April timing of the document suggests that it uses Bluetooth and targets the entry-level iPad, although we're not ruling out a Smart Connector attachment for the iPad Pro crowd.

Via: WinFuture (translated), The Verge

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft improves conversations and searches in its Outlook apps

Microsoft's mobile Outlook app can be helpful if you want an alternative to your phone's built-in email client, but it doesn't always nail the tasks you handle every day -- say, following an email thread. Thankfully, Microsoft knows it. The company just unveiled updated Android and iOS apps that tackle some of Outlook's navigational issues. It's decidedly better for back-and-forth conversations, for starters. You'll see more of the conversation at once, and tapping on a conversation will jump to the first unread message to help show what you missed. Also, you only need to tap a quick reply box to start a message to everyone in the thread without losing track of the previous conversation.

Source: Office Blog, App Store, Google Play

iPad regains share in a shrinking mobile tablet market

                    <img src="http://o.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/GLOB/crop/1600x1200+0+0/resize/1600x1200!/format/jpg/quality/85/http://o.aolcdn.com/hss/storage/midas/aa6ec35672d39fd49c552c61bf68b70d/203609653/201623iPadPro_9_7+43JT.jpg" />Apple's share of the tablet market has been <a href="https://www.engadget.com/2015/05/14/white-box-tablets-outship-ipads/">sliding for a while</a>, but it's making a comeback... if not for the reasons the company might prefer. Strategy Analytics <a href="https://www.strategyanalytics.com/strategy-analytics/news/strategy-analytics-press-releases/strategy-analytics-press-release/2016/10/31/apple-follows-microsoft's-lead-on-2-in-1s-to-rebuild-ipad-growth#.WBdnrOErL-o">estimates</a> that the iPad climbed from 19.1 percent of the market in the third quarter of 2015 to 19.9 percent a year later. However, that's mainly because the market as a whole shrank 10 percent. The analysts believe that many tablet manufacturers' shipments dropped year-to-year, and that Apple simply experienced a <a href="https://www.engadget.com/2016/10/25/apples-iphone-sales-keep-falling/">smaller decline</a> than most. The one major exception is Amazon, whose $49 <a href="https://www.engadget.com/2016/04/21/amazons-fire-tablet-16gb-colors/">Fire tablet</a> helped its shipments more than double.
                                                <strong>Source: </strong><a  href="https://www.strategyanalytics.com/strategy-analytics/news/strategy-analytics-press-releases/strategy-analytics-press-release/2016/10/31/apple-follows-microsoft's-lead-on-2-in-1s-to-rebuild-ipad-growth#.WBdnrOErL-o">Strategy Analytics</a><!--//-->

Microsoft’s Surface business skyrockets as the iPad’s slows

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Tabletop Microsoft saw revenue from its Surface line jump 38% over last year’s total, according to its most recent financial report. Released today, the report states that Surface revenue hit $926 million during the last quarter, up from $672 million last year. Even at this level, Apple’s iPad business is still much larger, though growing more slowly. Apple’s iPad business is still… Read More

Microsoft puts your company intranet on your iPhone

                    <img src="http://o.aolcdn.com/hss/storage/midas/f541e2c9e1eab4fe77a39cb79b377722/203984564/microsoft-sharepoint-ios.jpg" />Look, we know: accessing your company's intranet is about as exciting as watching paint dry.  However, wouldn't you rather have the option of using it from your phone, instead of having to sit at a computer?  Microsoft thinks so.  It just <a href="https://blogs.office.com/2016/06/21/your-intranet-in-your-pocket-the-sharepoint-mobile-app-for-ios-is-now-available/">launched</a> SharePoint <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/app/microsoft-sharepoint/id1091505266?ls=1&amp;mt=8">for iOS</a>, its first mobile SharePoint app.  The tool gives you access to the files, portals, sites and teams that you're used to on the desktop.  It's also smart enough to hop between apps depending on what you're accessing.  It'll jump to <a href="https://www.engadget.com/2015/01/29/onedrive-photo-revamp/">OneDrive</a> if you're peeking at the company's document library, for instance, or switch to one of the <a href="https://www.engadget.com/2014/11/06/office-for-iphone-hands-on/">Office apps</a> if you're opening a recent file.
                                                <strong>Source: </strong><a href="https://blogs.office.com/2016/06/21/your-intranet-in-your-pocket-the-sharepoint-mobile-app-for-ios-is-now-available/" >Office Blogs</a><!--//-->, <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/app/microsoft-sharepoint/id1091505266?ls=1&amp;mt=8" >App Store</a><!--//-->

Pro Tablet Showdown: iPad Pro vs. Surface Pro 4

Apple’s iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 look a lot alike. Both are big tablets, both connect to slim keyboard covers, and both offer a stylus for drawing and note-taking. But after spending some time with these potential laptop replacements, I found that they’re really quite different, particularly when it comes to productivity.

Read more...

Outlook for iOS turns your meetings into Skype calls

                    <img src="http://o.aolcdn.com/hss/storage/midas/eb900ff1b055963bd1e3e9e55fb204b8/203136875/outlook+ios.jpg" />If you use Skype on a frequent basis, you've probably wanted to schedule a few of those internet-based calls.  Doing that on your phone, however, has been a hassle -- at least, until now.  Microsoft has rolled out an <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/app/id951937596?mt=8&amp;ign-mpt=uo%3D8">update</a> to <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2015/12/15/outlook-ios-3d-touch-support/">Outlook for iOS</a> that lets you turn any meeting into a Skype call, and join that call by tapping a button.  Theoretically, you'll never hold up an important talk while you're sifting through your Skype contacts.  And there's more on the way if you prefer face-to-face video chats, too.
                                    <strong>Via: </strong><a href="http://www.zdnet.com/article/free-skype-group-video-calling-coming-to-android-ios-windows-10-mobile/" >ZDNet</a><!--//-->
                                    <strong>Source: </strong><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/app/id951937596?mt=8&amp;ign-mpt=uo%3D8" >App Store</a><!--//-->, <a href="http://blogs.skype.com/2016/01/12/ten-years-of-skype-video-yesterday-today-and-something-new/" >Skype Big Blog</a><!--//-->