The first big update to Apple’s mobile operating system is currently rolling out to users now. The update includes various improvements and bug fixes.
Among the additions are support for CarPlay, and enhancements to Siri, iTunes Radio, Calendar, and Accessibility. There’s also a new camera setting which can automatically enable HDR on iPhone 5s.
Ninth in a series. This week Google updated its Gmail app, adding background refresh, so it can now fetch new mail even when it’s not open. This is a great addition, and stops you having to manually refresh to check for new messages. Google also added simplified sign-in. Log in to any Google app -- Gmail, Maps, Google+ or Chrome, for example -- and your account details will be used to log you in to all other Google apps automatically.
Of the new apps that have arrived in the store this week, there's a great, easy to use file transfer tool, an app that will help you monitor and (maybe) manage your caffeine consumption, a social local discovery tool, a dance game, and a cartoon racer that will let you go head to head against Top Gear's The Stig.
Microsoft is readying an update for its tiled operating system that is expected to be released next month. Thanks to various leaked builds we have a good idea of what to expect from it -- plenty of tweaks to make it more keyboard and mouse friendly mostly -- and we thought we knew what it would be called too -- Windows 8.1 Update 1. However, it turns out that might not be the case.
Help files for the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 8.1 (leaked by WZor.Net) refer to the forthcoming pack as simply Windows 8.1 Update (so apparently not "Spring Update" or "Feature Pack" as some have suggested). They also reveal more about the mysterious "with Bing" edition of the OS.
According to International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, global PC shipments fell by 9.8 percent in 2013, the most severe contraction on record, but the future looks slightly brighter going forward. And by "slightly brighter" I mean things thankfully shouldn’t be anywhere near as bad as they were last year.
IDC had been anticipating a decline of 10.1 percent by the end of 2013, so the actual results were slightly more positive than had been expected in mature markets (which includes the US, Western Europe, Japan, and Canada). Part of the reason for this is, IDC believes, down to short-term factors like the rise in people purchasing XP replacements, but it doesn’t expect this bump to last for very long. XP still accounts for a third of the desktop OS market share, and there’s currently no signs of a trickle of users migrating to Windows 8.1, let alone the flood of users Microsoft would like to see.
I went for a 5k run before starting work this morning, and as always Zombies, Run! provided me with the motivation required to not come to a stop, bored, after ten minutes. I’ve covered the immersive app several times in the past, but if you’re not familiar with it, Zombies, Run! basically turns a real-world jog into a journey through the zombie apocalypse. Episodic stories unfold in between tracks from your playlist as you run.
There are plenty of episodes on offer for regular runners, and a radio mode will give you something to listen to once you’ve finished with the main story and side quests. However, sooner or later you’ll have listened to everything and be ready for new tales, and the good news is they’re on their way.
Ten months ago, Microsoft announced it would be rolling out a preview version of Skype for Outlook.com in the United Kingdom that would allow users to make audio and video calls directly from their inboxes.
Three months later, the devices and services giant expanded the preview’s availability to five additional countries -- United States, Canada, Germany, France and Brazil -- and stated it would be rolling out the feature to the rest of the world "in the coming weeks". A mere seven months later and finally, today, Microsoft makes good on that promise, announcing that Skype for Outlook.com is now available to all. The service also gains support for HD video calls.
It's a new month and so once again NetMarketShare reports desktop share for all of the major operating systems. What's interesting this month is all versions of Windows showed fairly minor changes. Whether dropping or gaining, the differences in share were minimal.
However, one inescapable truth is clear from the figures. While Windows 8.x might finally have shifted 200 million licenses, use of the OS has pretty much plateaued. In February, Windows 8's share declined from 6.62 percent to 6.38 percent, a drop of -0.24. Windows 8.1 increased shared from 3.94 percent to 4.30 percent, rising by 0.36. Combined, Windows 8.1 grew by just 0.12 percent.
It’s been rumored for a while, but today Apple announces its new in-car interface that will let iPhone users make calls, use Maps, listen to music, and access messages with just a word or a touch. It will debut this week at the Geneva International Motor Show.
"CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car," says Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing. "iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction. We have an amazing lineup of auto partners rolling out CarPlay, and we’re thrilled it will make its debut this week in Geneva".
Eighth in a series. The app that’s got me most excited this week isn’t even out yet. Audio Defence: Zombie Arena, from the makers of Papa Sangre II, is an audio-only first person zombie shooter that promises to be awesome. If it can hit its Kickstarter target that is.
Of the new and updated apps that have arrived in the store this week, the Professor Layton inspired The Voyage is a great puzzler, and God of Light will similarly tax your gray matter. Parents worried about what their children get up to on the web while using an iPad (or iPhone), will be interested in the MetaCert browser. Google has improved its Hangouts messenger apps, and a chunk of the world's knowledge has been curated into Learnist.
I was a beta tester for Papa Sangre II, the excellent audio-only game for iOS (if you’ve yet to try it I can whole-heartedly recommend it -- Sean Bean stars) and am a massive fan of Zombies Run, an audio fitness app, that you listen to while running and which takes place following a zombie apocalypse.
So naturally, the news that Papa Sangre’s creators Somethin' Else are working on a zombie-based audio-only first person shooter has me in a heightened state of excitement.
On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will officially end support for Windows XP. After that date, users of the aging OS will no longer receive new security updates, hotfixes, support options, or online technical content updates.
Obviously the tech giant is worried about the dangers than might befall XP users who continue to cling on to the decade-and-a-bit old OS after that date, and that’s the reason for all the blog posts that have been appearing lately. I mean, sure, it looks like Microsoft is cynically using the death of XP support purely to try and persuade people to upgrade to Windows 8.1 but that’s not the case, honestly. Oh, okay, maybe it is. A bit.
Microsoft has released a service pack update for the latest version of Office. Service Pack 1 (SP1) promises greater stability, expanded functionality, and security enhancements for Office 2013, SharePoint 2013 and Exchange Server 2013, as well as improved compatibility with Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2.
The service pack contains all of the public and cumulative updates released since Office 2013 first became available, as well as numerous unreleased fixes and updates that reflect recent changes. SP1 improvements include:
So Samsung has taken the wraps off its new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5. It's a good looking device, that refines and improves on last year's model and borrows elements from Apple's similarly named device, most notably the fingerprint scanner used to unlock the phone and make mobile purchases. Even the choice of colors on offer is similar -- there's black, white and gold available, although Samsung includes a smart "electric" blue shade too.
It doesn't just copy from Apple though, it has some welcome additions of its own. Highlights include dust and water resistance, a Download Booster, which speeds up downloads by bonding Wi-Fi and LTE simultaneously, a built-in heart rate monitor, an improved 16 megapixel camera, and an Ultra Power Saving Mode that shuts down all non-essential features to allow you to eke out the last remaining drops of battery life.
Today at the Unpacked 2014 event at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, Samsung introduces the latest iteration of its flagship smartphone. The Galaxy S5 is, as you’d probably expect, evolution not revolution. The smartphone looks like a more polished update of last year’s S4 and comes with Android 4.4.2 KitKat and Samsung’s user interface and S-branded apps.
The device is slightly larger than the S4, at 5.1 inches, with a 1080p Super AMOLED panel. It sports the same plastic surround, but with a new perforated look, and is IP67-rated for water and dust resistance, and so can survive being submerged in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. There's a new home key below the screen with an integrated fingerprint scanner that can be used to unlock the phone and authenticate mobile payment purchases online.
There’s already been a lot of big announcements pouring out of the Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, but the really big one is still to come. Samsung is set to introduce its Galaxy S5 smartphone today, and thanks to the usual round of photo leaks we already have a good idea of what to expect.
According to images which found their way on to the web earlier today, the device will have a larger 5 inch diagonal display, dimpled plastic back, and include a 16 megapixel camera on the rear, fingerprint scanning app, and a download booster that will make use of both LTE and Wi-Fi to speed up larger downloads.