Wayne Williams

The iPad Air 2 is why tablet sales are falling

Apple disappointment

So yesterday Apple announced the latest iteration of its hugely popular iPad. I own a fourth gen model, and as someone who likes to be on the cutting edge, I was all set to snap up the new device. Except, what I saw didn’t excite me or give me a killer reason to drop $600+.

Tablet sales are slowing, and a large chunk of the reason for that can be laid squarely at Apple’s door. While the iPad Air 2 will appeal to first time buyers, businesses, or people looking to upgrade from inferior tablets, it just doesn’t offer enough to get existing iPad owners like me to upgrade. But it’s thinner! It’s lighter! So what? I’m not a frail old lady, or cursed with a muscle wasting disease. My iPad 4 is hardly a major weight, and to be honest, I like my devices to have a bit of heft to them anyway.

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Apple announces the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 -- thinner and faster

ipad air 2 and ipad air mini

As is the case with all Apple announcements these days, rumors, speculation and leaks were rife ahead of the official iPad event, and pretty much all of what we were expecting to be revealed today, was revealed.

We expected Apple to refresh its iPad Air and iPad mini tablets, and that’s what we got in the shape of the iPad Air 2, and the iPad mini 3.

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Watch the Apple iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 launch on a Windows PC

Apple Store France

Apple always streams its major events live, but restricts them to existing users of Apple products.

If you want to watch today’s launch of the Apple iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, you need to be viewing on Safari 5.1.10 or later on OS X v10.6.8 or later; Safari on iOS 6.0 or later. Streaming via Apple TV requires second or third-generation Apple TV with software version 6.2 or later. However, there is a way around this.

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1 million people are trying Windows 10 Technical Preview, and a new build is on its way

windows 10

Microsoft released the Windows 10 Technical Preview a fortnight ago, inviting testers to participate in the Windows Insider Program and help the company build a better operating system.

In two weeks, over a million people have apparently signed up to try out the new OS, and according to Microsoft, the tech giant has received over 200,000 pieces of user-initiated feedback to date via the built-in Windows Feedback app. You can see a rough breakdown of the top feedback received so far here. Microsoft also revealed some genuinely interesting information regarding how people are running the OS.

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Windows 10: How to quickly switch between the Start menu and Start screen

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The main highlight in the Windows 10 Technical Preview is unquestionably the new Start menu. It is the perfect blend of the old and the new, mixing the Windows 7 Start menu with Windows 8's tiled Start screen.

If, however, you’re a Windows 8.x user who has become accustomed to working in the Start screen, you may not want to take the 'backward step' of returning to a Start menu. (My colleague Mark Wilson certainly feels your pain). The good news is Windows 10 lets you choose between the Start menu and Start screen, although switching backwards and forwards between the two modes is rather cumbersome. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution.

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Imgur reinvents the GIF with Project GIFV

gif video

The GIF was first introduced to the world by CompuServe in 1987 and despite all of the technological advancements that have occurred since then -- including the creation of the web itself -- the ancient graphics format remains as popular today as ever.

With Project GIFV, Imgur has taken what’s great about animated GIFs, but modernized the format. The platform-wide upgrade will automatically convert uploaded GIF files into MP4 video on-the-fly. The resulting .gifv will offer better quality in a smaller file size and load much faster. But that's not all.

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Atongm Bluetooth Virtual Laser Keyboard: Lets you type on any flat surface [Review]

atongm

Tablets are fantastic for casual tasks such as checking email, browsing the web, watching movies and playing games, but they’re not so good for doing work on because the virtual keyboard takes up so much of the screen space, and it’s difficult to touch type on.

If you want to boost your productivity, you need to consider buying a keyboard for your device. There are plenty of good ones to choose from, but that adds yet another thing to carry around with you. The Atongm Bluetooth Virtual Laser Keyboard is a tiny solution (36x18x74 mm, approx. 40g) which gives you back your screen space and turns any surface -- such as a table in a coffee shop -- into a keyboard.

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Apple Watch not cool enough? How about a Samsung Gear Live running Windows 95?

Windows 95 watch

Apple Watch could well be the device that brings wearables into the mainstream, but if you’re not a fan of Apple products, there are plenty of Android smartwatches to choose from, and if you want to really stand out from the crowd, how about a watch that runs Windows 95?

Microsoft’s veteran operating system will turn twenty next year, and enterprising Samsung Gear Live owner Corbin Davenport has managed to blend old and new, getting Windows 95 running on Android Wear.

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How to use virtual desktops in Windows 10

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While most people will be talking about the return of the Start menu in the next version of Microsoft’s operating system -- and with good reason -- it’s not the only big change in Windows 10.

Windows 8 proved to be something of a productivity killer for many people, but Microsoft is once again catering to the needs of power users, and has finally introduced a feature that has been offered in Linux for many years -- the virtual desktop.

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Gigaset QV830: A super-affordable 8-inch Android tablet [Review]

QV830

There are lots of excellent Android tablets around, including the Nexus 7, and the Kindle Fire HDX, but if you can’t afford a top of the range tablet, or are looking for a second device, or one to give as gift, then a budget model may be preferable.

Gigaset (previously Gigaset Siemens), which usually makes home phones, has entered the tablet market with the QV830, an ultra-affordable 8-inch Android tablet with some stylish touches -- it has an anodized aluminum rear casing, for example, rather than being all-plastic as you might expect.

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Thinking of buying a secondhand iPhone? Check if it's been stolen first

activation lock

Apple devices hold their value well, which is good news if you’re thinking of selling an old one. The downside of this is it makes iPhones an attractive target for thieves.

If you’re looking to buy an iPhone, but can’t afford a brand new one -- on contract or off -- then shopping for a used model makes a lot of sense. But how can you know for sure that the device you’ve got your eye on is being offered by the legitimate owner, and not a thief offloading his ill-gotten gains? A new Apple tool can tell you.

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Everything you need to know about the Windows 10 Start menu

Start menu yellow

I switched from Windows 7 to Windows 8 from day one, and although I’ve dabbled with Start buttons, Classic Shell being the preferred choice, I learned to live with the Start screen, something that became easier once Microsoft released Windows 8.1 and 8.1 Update. But now that Windows 10 Technical Preview is here, it’s time to once again embrace the Start menu.

Windows 10’s Start menu is the perfect blend of Windows 7 and Windows 8.x. Click the Start button and the menu appears, displaying icons on the left and tiles on the right.

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How to install Windows 10 Technical Preview on Oracle VirtualBox

techpreview

Microsoft has just released the Technical Preview of Windows 10. It’s a very early build, so you wouldn’t be advised to run it as your main operating system, and while you could set it to dual boot, running it in a virtualized environment is probably a better idea.

The process is very simple -- all you need is a copy of Oracle VM VirtualBox and the Windows 10 Technical Preview ISO.

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Windows 10 Technical Preview is live -- download it now

Tech-Preview_Start-menu

Microsoft surprised everyone yesterday by announcing that the next version of Windows would not be Windows 9, as was widely expected, but Windows 10. The new name makes little sense really, but that doesn't matter because the new operating system looks good, and should please current users of both Windows 7 and 8.x.

Before it launched Windows 8, Microsoft released preview versions of the OS, allowing people to test what was a radically different UI. With Windows 9, the tech giant is taking the same approach, but with one fundamental difference -- it promises to listen to what users think of the OS, and this feedback will help shape the direction of Windows 10. If the company had done that with Windows 8 there's a very good chance things might have worked out differently for the tiled OS. If you're keen to get your hands on the technical preview, the good news is the wait is over and it's now available.

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Windows 8.x goes back into reverse gear, losing the most usage share yet

win8 reverse

Windows 10 really can’t come soon enough for Microsoft as its predecessor is continuing to tank. In August the tiled OS actually gained usage share -- according to web analytics firm NetMarketShare -- which was unusual as 8.x had lost users in the previous two months. But any suggestions of a recovery are swiftly crushed looking at September’s figures. Both Windows 8 and 8.x lost a load of usage share last month, while Windows 7 reached an all-time high. It’s Windows 7 users Microsoft really needs to be aiming for with Windows 10 (and if it can tempt XP users too, so much the better). In August, Windows 8 managed a 6.28 percent share of the desktop operating system market, but lost 0.69 percent in September. Windows 8.1, an OS which really should be growing, went from an all-time high of 7.09 percent to 6.67 percent, a drop of 0.42 percent. In total, Windows 8.x lost 1.11 percent share. Windows 7 on the other hand went from 51.21 percent in August to 52.71 percent in September, a gain of 1.5 percent. That’s its highest point ever. Windows XP, which should be losing share, dropped just 0.02 percent, going from 23.89 percent to 23.87 percent. So September was another dreadful month for Windows 8.x. It’s no wonder Microsoft decided to skip ahead to Windows 10 in an attempt to really distance its future OS from the current one.

// Photo Credit: i3alda/Shutterstock

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