Even though Windows 8.1 is not Microsoft's most-popular PC operating system at this point -- Windows 7 takes that title -- Apple has decided it should be the only choice users of the new Mac Pro can have in Boot Camp.
This may come as a surprise, considering Windows 8.1's low adoption among PC users, but the company's decision is to be expected. Boot Camp gradually drops support for older versions of Windows in newer Macs, as shown by the software's support page.
It’s fair to say the iPhone 5c hasn’t been a major success for Apple so far. Rumors prior to its launch suggested it would be a cheap iPhone, and while it is more affordable than the flagship 5s, it certainly isn’t "cheap". Those low cost expectations coupled with the actual price have affected the iPhone 5c’s sales -- with many buyers preferring to spend a little extra to get the 5s.
That might change soon though, as Apple has rolled out an 8GB variant of the iPhone 5c, making it available across Europe and China from today.
Another week means a fresh batch of security concerns. In Europe, users were warned of the dangers of connecting to public wifi hotspots, while a new report found that cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their techniques. Ian was on hand with advice for anyone trying to tackle or avoid viruses.
Tenth in a series. A big week for Apple as it released the long-awaited update for its mobile operating system. iOS 7.1 adds support for CarPlay, enhancements to Siri, iTunes Radio, Calendar, and Accessibility, and a new HDR camera setting for iPhone 5s. The big news for owners of iPhone 4 is iOS 7.1 runs far less sluggishly on the older hardware.
Of the new and updated apps that have arrived in the store this week, highlights for me include a free adventure game from two ex-LucasArts designers, an app which transforms everyday snaps into works of art, one that stops you forgetting...er… something… and a kitchen app that that will let you find, and conjure up, delicious culinary delights.
We are spied upon. Someone, somewhere, knows what you have been doing online. It might be your snooping friend taking a look at your browsing history, or it might be that weird looking guy on the next table in the coffee shop watching your every click. It might be advertisers using cookies, or it could be your own government. This is now just about expected; it is part and parcel of using the internet. In some parts of the world, access to the internet is not only monitored, but also restricted and controlled. But it didn’t used to be like this, and it needn't stay like this.
In some regions the idea of mass spying is a relatively recent concept. The activities of the NSA, GCHQ and other government organizations are something only the most recent generation of internet users is "used" to -- for the rest us, it is at best an unpleasant sea change, and at worst just the tip of the iceberg. As it was revealed that governments were not only spying on citizens' online activities but also getting other companies involved by requiring them to hand over user data, big names such as Microsoft, Google, and Apple were falling over themselves to appear to be going out of their way to reveal everything they could about the demands made of them. It was the PR machine in action, trying to make the best of a very, very bad situation.
Apple is revolutionary through evolution. The company did not invent the tablet, but the iPad sparked the modern trend. It did not invent the touchscreen smartphone, yet the iPhone revolutionized portable computing.
Speaking of the iPhone, last year, Apple introduced the iPhone 5s with a 64-bit processor. The fruit-logo company certainly did not invent 64-bit computing, however, competitors are now playing "me too" and trying to catch-up in the mobile sector. According to a new study, the majority of mobile devices will be 64-bit by 2018. Do we have Apple to thank?
Apple's policy of updating older iPhones to the latest iOS version has its perks. Users are better protected against security exploits, get access to new features (but not all of them), and Apple can tout low fragmentation levels. However, there is also a downside. Newer iOS releases often make older iPhones sluggish.
I have first-hand experience with this, as my iPhone 3G ran slower after updating it to iOS 4.0, than it did before. The same thing has also happened with the iPhone 4, which Apple had vetted to receive the iOS 7.0 update, even though the mobile operating system was designed to work best with beefier hardware. Luckily, it looks like iOS 7.1, that was released yesterday, attempts to solve this problem, albeit not entirely.
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.
It's been a busy week for Microsoft -- and not necessarily for the reasons the company might have expected. For anyone unwilling to wait until April to receive Windows 8.1 Update, a few methods emerged that made it possible to grab a copy of the eagerly awaited update ahead of the official launch. While some of these options appear to have been stopped in their tracks, where there's a will there's a way, and numerous users -- my good self included -- jumped on the downloads as soon as possible. Some were impressed while others -- yep, me again! -- were not. Perhaps it is little wonder that Windows XP usage continues to grow faster than that of Windows 8.x. This lead to analysts suggesting that the decline of the PC will be slowed rather than avoided by the continued popularity of XP.
Windows 8.1 Update wasn't that only Microsoft download that was on the agenda this week. Brian had details of how Windows RT users can update their copies of Office 2013 to SP1. At the top of Microsoft, a quick reshuffle saw a change of faces in a number of key positions as well as the departure of some well-known characters. Skype rolled out to Outlook.com around the world and gained HD video calling as well. It is normally Microsoft that is to be found on the giving-end of a smeary advertising campaign (hello, Scroogled), but after the Oscars it was Nokia poking fun at Ellen DeGeneres' blurry selfie that was taken on a Samsung device.
If you do not fancy using the App Store or the built-in recovery mode to download and run the large OS X 10.9 Mavericks setup file, Apple gives you the option to create a bootable USB drive to install the operating system on your Mac. It is fast and works even when there is no Internet connection available.
The process is pretty straightforward, and does not require advanced skills, or downloading a dedicated third-party tool (although I will also explain how to use one, in case you decide or need to go down this road). All you need is an 8 GB USB drive (it can be larger), which you may already have lying around somewhere, and a Mac.
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.
Even though 4K displays have started to pop out for quite some time now, Apple has been lazy at fully supporting them in OS X 10.9 Mavericks. So when my colleague Brian Fagioli tested the Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD he found that, while Windows 8.1 was able to adequately handle it, Apple's Mac operating system rendered the display "unusable".
The reason for this lies in the display settings made available by the OS. Those only allow folks to choose a lesser resolution like 1080p. Fortunately, that is set to change as Apple is readying an update for OS X 10.9 Mavericks that will soon allow users to take full advantage of what 4K displays have to offer.
This is a personal account of the way I have noticed the technology markets changing over the years. It is not gospel, and you are welcome (encouraged, if you like) to disagree… It's not all that long ago that brand loyalty was a given; it was almost the default setting for many people. If you got into computing -- and it was something you "got into" rather than just having as part of your life -- you stuck loyally to whatever brand you chose at the start. We could go back to the 70s and look at the birth of personal computing, but as this is my personal account, we'll have to start in the 80s.
I did just manage to sneak into the 70s -- being born in 1979 puts me in the difficult-to-comprehend position of being 34 years old but having seen five decades -- but an interest in computing didn't emerge until some time in the late 80s. I remember there being several computing camps: BBC, Amstrad, Spectrum, Vic and Commodore to name a few. My decision was made for me at an early age when my dad decided to invest in a Commodore 16 Plus 4 (the Plus 4 referring to the fact that the OS featured four built-in applications including a spreadsheet tool, the absurd simplicity of which was not lost on me even at a young age).
There are few people who like ads. Sure, they can be works of art -- certainly there are some advertisements that are infinitely better than a lot of the dirge pumped out by television networks -- but while advertisements on television can be fairly easily avoided (thank you TiVo -- other PVRs are available!) it is a different matter on a computer or mobile device. "Opting" to watch a mindblowing ad for Apple, Guinness or Honda is one thing, but to have unavoidable -- and usually crappy -- advertisements forced upon you whilst browsing the web or using an application is an entirely different matter.
There are groups of people who are happy to endure these adverts because they fund apps, and make it possible for developers to provide their hard work free of charge -- you may fall into this group and have perhaps been able to configure an automatic ad filter for your eyes. But there are larger legions for whom ads are just plain, damned irritating. In some instances it is possible to pay to avoid them, but this is not always the case. If BlackBerry and Yahoo get their way, advertisements are going to become rather more noticeable.
The tablet market is showing strong, continuous growth year-over-year. Research firm Gartner today announces that slate sales in 2013 increased by 68 percent compared to the year before. Android takes the market share crown after more than doubling its sales, iOS came second and Windows follows in third place.
Of the three, iOS was the only platform that did not post tremendous year-over-year growth. Android increased its sales, and lead over Apple's iPads, to 120.96 million units in 2013, up from the 53.34 million units sold in 2012. Meanwhile, Windows grew to 4 million units, which is, again, considerably higher than in the previous year when sales topped 1.16 million units. In contrast, iPad sales came in at 70.4 million units, marginally more than the 61.45 million units sold in the year before.