Fifth in a series. A big week for Apple as the company delivered record fiscal first quarter results -- $57.6 billion revenue and $13.1 billion net profit. The tech giant revealed it had shipped 51 million iPhones, an all-time quarterly record, compared to 47.8 million a year-ago, and 26 million iPads, up from 22.9 million in the same period a year ago. Wall Street wasn’t impressed, but that’s to be expected.
Of course a big part of Apple’s success is the number and quality of apps available for its hardware. As the owner of both iOS and Android devices, I find the apps for the iPhone and iPad to be vastly superior (although there are always exceptions). There’s less garbage, and far fewer ad-riddled apps. Part of that reason is Apple’s strict approval process, and the amount of money it pays to developers -- $2 billion in its fiscal first quarter -- helps too.
Two weeks ago my colleague Mihaita Bamburic wrote a piece on how a Facebook news reader app could give users the best tailored content. Today, Facebook announces Paper, a "new app that helps you explore and share stories from friends and the world around you". It's not quite the app Mihaita was hoping for -- not yet, at least -- but it does sound promising.
Paper is essentially a Flipboard alternative for iPhone (and Android eventually, presumably) that displays content from your Facebook friends, well-known publications, and "emerging voices" in a fullscreen, distraction-free layout.
As you would expect, tablets proved to be a popular purchase over the holiday period, with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker reporting a solid rise in global shipments.
According to preliminary data, worldwide tablet shipments grew to 76.9 million units in the fourth calendar quarter of 2013 (4Q13), delivering a 62.4 percent increase over the previous quarter and 28.2 percent growth over the same period a year ago. For the full calendar year, worldwide tablet shipments totaled 217.1 million units, which is up from 144.2 million units shipped in 2012. But despite that good news, things don’t look quite so rosy for the future.
Google has identified a nasty bug in Gmail that may have led to the accidental deletion of some messages in your inbox, as well as incorrectly labeling others as spam.
The severity of the bug has caused the search giant to issue an Important Notice which appears at the top of Gmail when some users -- myself included -- log into the webmail service through the web or iOS app. Although the problem has now been fixed, Google suggests you take a look in your Trash and Spam folders. I’ve just done so now, and there are indeed messages in both that shouldn’t be there.
To close an app in Windows 8 all you need to do is drag it to the bottom of the screen. In Windows 8.1, Microsoft made a small change. While you can still close the app in this way, removing it from view, this method doesn’t stop all of the processes associated with the app (Windows will, however, close the app properly, eventually, if you don’t use it after a while).
So in other words, if an app is misbehaving, dragging it down to the bottom of the screen and then relaunching it probably won’t fix the problems you’re experiencing. You could reboot, or use Task Manager to close it that way, but there’s an easier method.
I was a massive fan of LEGO as a child, and now that I’m a parent I get to play with the interlocking plastic bricks all over again, even though they’re a lot more advanced than they were back in my day. LEGO Group has done a fantastic job of keeping its product modern, with video games like LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Hobbit, and there’s even a fantastic looking LEGO Movie to look forward to later in the year.
If you fancy playing with some LEGO, but don’t want to buy a set, the great news is Google has announced a new Chrome experiment that lets you build fantastic virtual LEGO creations on a Google Map. Just find a spare plot of land (or build in the sea if you prefer) and start your construction.
After running into legal problems with the name SkyDrive -- satellite television provider Sky sued for trademark infringement -- Microsoft announced last July it was going to change the name of its cloud storage service. Sky generously gave Microsoft some time to come up with an alternative and today we learn the new name is… drumroll… OneDrive.
Let’s hope One Direction aren’t feeling litigious.
Fourth in a series. Unsurprisingly, after last week’s post-holiday rush of big and important new releases and updates, things have quietened down a little in the App Store.
There’s the usual collection of interesting apps and games, of course, but nothing massively groundbreaking this time around. That said, as ever, I’ve found plenty of apps to take up space on both my iPad and iPhone 5s.
Earlier today Mike Williams wrote about a cloud storage provider which is offering a whopping 1TB of space for free, plus a further gigabyte for every day you use the service. It’s a stunning offer and one that should have us all signing up immediately. But most of us are familiar with the saying, "if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is", and 1TB+ of space -- for free -- certainly fits that description.
There are reasons for alarm bells to sound. The company behind Yunio, Shanghai Kui Zhi Internet Technology Co., Ltd, is based in China, and its terms of service are currently all in Chinese, so unless you speak the language, or trust Google’s translation, you can’t immediately be sure of what it will, or won’t, do with your data. And, because you’ve likely never heard of the company, how sure can you be that your data is safe, and the firm won’t go out of business?
A couple of days ago Microsoft released a 20-page expert guide to mastering Windows 8.1, and now it announces the availability of the Windows 8.1 Business User Guide Package. This is a collection of guides and video tutorials aimed at helping business users take full advantage of the tiled OS.
In addition to the new Windows 8.1 Power User Guide, the package offers a 16-page Windows 8.1 Quick Guide for Business (in two formats -- PDF and raw files for printing) and eight short how-to video tutorials. The Quick Guide and videos have all been available previously, but Microsoft promises new support material is on the way.
Internet Explorer is no longer just the browser you use to download other browsers (even though, for many people, that will always remain the case). These days it’s a decent, fast and standards compliant offering that you don’t have to be embarrassed to admit to using.
Microsoft’s clever, self-deprecating Browser You Loved to Hate campaign did a great job of challenging people’s views and getting them to take a second look at Internet Explorer, and today the software giant launches a new initiative and website, called Rethink, which aims to showcase how Internet Explorer is helping to "create a web that is fast, beautiful and perfect for touch" while also, Microsoft hopes, getting people to rethink their views on the much maligned browser.
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates appeared on Bloomberg Television today to discuss his philanthropic work. While he was there the question of whether he would consider returning to run Microsoft full-time was raised. Gates has said previously that his future remains with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, but many people -- including our own Robert Cringely -- would like to see him emulate Steve Jobs and return to once again helm the company he co-founded.
Given how the search for a new CEO is dragging on, and Ford’s Alan Mulally, the most fancied candidate by far, ruled himself out recently, it seemed a possibility that Gates might step in at least temporarily, but judging from his answers that doesn’t appear to be the case.
The primary focus of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was very much on wearable technology. 2014 may not be the year when wearables hit the mainstream, but it’s clear this is where the future is headed with new smartwatches, smart glasses, fitness bands and the like being developed to keep us constantly connected.
The Wearable Technology Show, being held in London on the 18 and 19 March 2014, is the UK’s first dedicated wearable technology event and its organizers have just announced the speaker lineup for the conference program.
Windows 8.1 -- or "New Windows" as it’s increasing being referred to -- is much easier to use than its predecessor, thanks to the inclusion of various help and tips built directly into the OS. There is still a learning curve for anyone coming to Windows 8.1 from an older, or different, operating system, but it’s nowhere near as challenging to get to grips with as Windows 8 undoubtedly was.
The new operating system is very powerful, but many people won’t be aware of just what it’s capable of, so to help users uncover the advanced features on offer Microsoft has published a new 20 page PDF guide covering areas such as File Explorer, Task Manager, Internet Explorer 11, Mobility Center, Windows To Go, Miracast, and SkyDrive.
IObit has updated its excellent free all-in-one Android security and performance optimization app, making it safer and faster, and introducing some welcome additional features.
Advanced Mobile Care (AMC) 4.0 gains a streamlined interface and a set of useful new Android tools including a Call/SMS Blocker and Anti-Surveillance.