iPhone, iPad Games, Apps, Reviews, News Thu, 30 Jul 2015 08:09:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Microsoft Office apps for iOS updated with iCloud Drive upload feature Wed, 18 Feb 2015 12:35:38 +0000 Read More]]> Microsoft is serious about its “mobile-first, cloud-first” strategy and it shows. The company under its new leadership is taking transformative steps to try to stay ahead in the competitive mobile space. Microsoft Office for iOS is an example of the company coming to terms with Apple’s success in smartphones and tablets.

When Apple introduced the original iPad in 2010, the company also unveiled its iWork and iLife suite of apps for the tablet. The apps were later made available for the iPhone. Apple initially offered the apps has a paid download and then made them free for every new iOS user.

As Apple’s iOS platform gained more and more popularity, it was turning out to be a lost opportunity for Microsoft to not offer its apps on the second most popular mobile platform. It’s clear that Microsoft initially must have struggled and hoped that Widows Mobile gains the same momentum as iOS or Android however, it hasn’t worked out like that as yet.

Under the leadership of Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, the company launched Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint for iOS. The apps when launched required Office 365 subscription to edit and save files but remained free to view Office files. The company later removed the restriction of Office 365 subscription and made editing files a standard feature.

Microsoft Office iCloud Drive Support

With the latest update to the suite of apps you can now save files to Apple’s iCloud Drive. Microsoft has added support for open, edit, and save work to iCloud in the “Places” section of each iOS app. iCloud Drive upload and save feature has been added in addition to existing cloud services such as DropBox and Microsoft OneDrive.

You can download the apps for free from the App Store: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint.

]]> 0 Apple’s Special Media Event for iPad Mini Scheduled for October 23? Sat, 13 Oct 2012 18:37:18 +0000 Read More]]> iPad mini mockup

On Friday, AllThingsD reported that Apple is planning to schedule a special media event for the rumored “iPad Mini” on Tuesday, October 23rd. The device, which is rumored to carry a 7.85 inch screen will likely feature all of the same cameras as on the iPhone 4S as well as the new Lightning connector for iOS devices and the updated A6 chip.

As AllThingsD reported in August, Apple will hold a special event this month at which it will showcase a new, smaller iPad. People familiar with Apple’s plans tell us that the company will unveil the so-called “iPad mini” on October 23 at an invitation-only event.

That’s a Tuesday, not a Wednesday, so this is a bit of a break with recent tradition. It also happens to be just three days prior to the street date for Microsoft’s new Surface tablet.

According to the report, the event is expected to be held at the Town Hall auditorium at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, CA and Apple will likely send out invitations as early as next week. With more and more rumors and images of the iPad Mini surface, it is almost certain that a smaller, cheaper, and lighter iPad is on the horizon. The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple also confirmed the iPad Mini event with a simple “yep” as he has with numerous other Apple product launches in the past.

{Via AllThingsD}

]]> 2 Apple Inc. (AAPL) in Talks to Bring WatchESPN App to Apple TV? Thu, 17 May 2012 16:13:30 +0000 Read More]]>

On Tuesday, a report from Bloomberg suggested that Apple Inc. (AAPL) and parent company of ESPN, Disney, were in talks to bring the popular WatchESPN app to the Apple TV. The report mentioned a statement from ESPN executive Sean Bratches that the deal wasn’t imminent and is currently being hashed out between the two companies.

If AAPL were given the go ahead to bring the app over to the Apple TV, subscribers of select cable networks or subscribers of ESPN would be able to stream live games through the app. The WatchESPN app is currently available in Apple’s App Store and can be streamed on the iPad and iPhone as well as on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming console. Bratches, the executive interviewed by Bloomberg also cleared up the negotiations between Apple and ESPN and explained the benefits of such a deal.

We’re a platform-agnostic company. To the extent that in the future there’s an opportunity with Apple to authenticate through the pay-TV food chain as we’re doing with Microsoft, that’s something we’ll participate in.

This wouldn’t be the first application pertaining to accessing live streaming sports on the Apple TV but would be one of the first major collaborations between the two companies. Currently, the Apple TV allows users to access NHL Gamecenter, and NBA League Pass.

If Apple strikes this deal with ESPN and brings the WatchESPN app over to the Apple TV, the company will likely be setting up for its rumored television set, which may incorporate an App Store of some sort, personal assistant Siri, as well as integrated features from the current Apple TV.

{via AppleInsider}

]]> 2 Google Inc. (GOOG) Announces ‘Google Drive’ Cloud Storage Service Fri, 27 Apr 2012 15:31:53 +0000 Read More]]>

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been leading the market for quite some time with web based services, including search, email and documents. On Tuesday, Google Inc. released a more streamlined cloud experience for its users, the long-awaited Google Drive. The service provides users with 5GB of free storage, which is also integrated with Google Docs and many of Google’s other online services.

This initial 5GB offering is similar to Apple’s iCloud which also gives users a free 5GB of storage. Following the initial 5GB, users can then upgrade to a higher tier of storage, and for GOOG, that means up to as much as 16TB of storage which is far more than the amount of storage on any computer hard drive.

Today, we’re introducing Google Drive—a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you’re working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a wedding with your fiancé or tracking a budget with roommates, you can do it in Drive. You can upload and access all of your files, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and beyond.

The storage can be accessed directly through Google Docs, or through clients on PC, Mac, Android and very soon, iOS devices. Google promised that the iOS app would be available “very soon”, with it being very likely that the search giant is still waiting for approval from Apple. Google Drive operates very differently than other cloud solutions, including a feature that allows users to open up as many as 30 different file types directly in the browser.

This allows users of the service to open up and view files such as images and documents, regardless of its format. Google Drive has the potential to be one of the next reliable cloud solutions available online. With its availability on numerous platforms, including iOS, it brings into question, whether this service will compete with iCloud.

{via MacRumors}

]]> 0 Apple Inc. (AAPL) Hires Former Xbox Live Marketing Executive to Push iPhone / iPad Gaming Sat, 04 Feb 2012 02:18:58 +0000 Read More]]>

Following the release of Apple’s iPhone in 2007, Apple Inc. (AAPL) experienced heavy adoption of its first smartphone, leading to the release of the second generation phone. After initial support for web apps AAPL also announced the App Store, which revolutionized the landscape of gaming on mobile devices. Many third-party app developers created apps tailored to the iPhone and iPod touch, and gave the iOS platform boost and rival with Nintendo, Microsoft, and other gaming platforms.

On Thursday, it was revealed that Apple has hired former Xbox Live marketing executive to help grow iPad and iPhone gaming initiative. With an update to his LinkedIn profile, Microsoft Marketing Manager for Xbox UK, Robin Burrowes, revealed that he has been hired to help push gaming on iPhone and iPad to further success.

Burrowes tenure at Microsoft saw him work on Xbox for roughly seven years, where he was most recently responsible for all product, business and marketing management of Xbox LIVE in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. For Apple, he’s the latest in a series of high-profile British gaming recruits, following the hire of Nintendo’s public relation’s chief Robert Saunders last year, as well as Nick Grange — who also at one point ran public relations for Xbox, as well as for gaming heavyweights Activision and Electronics Arts.

Microsoft released the Xbox 360 and took over a large percentage of the consale gaming market, with services such as Xbox Live. Apple gave the company some competition with the iPhone 3G and the App Store and has now hired one of Microsoft’s employees to try and get Apple even higher share in the gaming market.

Apple currently has over 550,000 apps in the App Store, 20% of which are games, making the hiring of Burrowes an obvious choice for Apple. iPads, iPhones, and iPods are gaining traction in the mobile gaming market, being considered portable gaming platforms, competing against other systems such as the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable.

{via iMore}

]]> 0 Microsoft to Bring Xbox Live App to Apple’s iPhone and iPad Thu, 26 Jan 2012 20:19:28 +0000 Read More]]>

Microsoft, although having a string of failures in the smart phone market, has gained a large market percentage in video games with its Xbox 360 and Xbox Live services. On Wednesday, in a statement published by Forbes, it was revealed that Microsoft is now looking to bring its Xbox Live app to the iPhone 4S and iPad 2.

While the Xbox Live experiences and games always work best on the Windows platform, we understand that some Xbox fans may be using other types of devices. To satisfy that need, we are working to extend a few of our Xbox experiences and titles to other platforms.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone is still new to the market and is slowly growing in terms of adoption and does not pose a threat to either the iPhone or Android as yet. Therefore, it is natural to assume that Microsoft also sees the opportunities in Apple’s App Store. If Microsoft ports their Xbox Live service over to iOS, games such as Halo could also make an appearance in near future.

With Apple’s focus on the advancement of graphics performance in their devices, Microsoft has the perfect mobile platform to bring their services to.

]]> 1 Microsoft Office Coming to Apple’s iPad and Mac App Store? Wed, 30 Nov 2011 22:08:20 +0000 Read More]]> Microsoft Office ipad Mac App store

On Tuesday, The Daily reported that Microsoft is ‘actively working’ on their Office Suite of products for the iPad and the Mac App Store. With this new approach, Microsoft would be drifting away from desktop computers, and competing with Apple’s iWork products, which currently includes Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.

According to sources, the tech giant is actively working on adapting its popular software suite for Apple’s tablet. With the iPad making up over 80 percent of the tablet market and millions of people worldwide using Office, that could mean big bucks for the tech giant based in Redmond, Wash.

In addition to an iPad-ready version, a new edition of Office is expected for OS X Lion sometime next year. The current version of the desktop package, Office 2011, officially supports [Mac OS X] versions up to Snow Leopard. A Lion version, likely available via the Mac App Store, is widely expected.

When the iPad was first introduced, many users complained that the iPad does not contain any reliable word processing program and that the Pages application from Apple was only restricted to the iOS platform and very hard to transfer to other platforms. With Microsoft working on a solution for the iPad, the $499 device may actually become a viable option for a laptop replacement for users still dependent on MS Office.

For users who are holding back on purchasing an iPad because of the lack of Word, PowerPoint or Excel it may now become more appealing. Microsoft commented during the initial release of the iPad, suggesting that they were working on Office for the iPad, but after the device was introduced, Microsoft said that they had “no current plans” for the iPad.

]]> 3 Microsoft (MSFT) to Open 75 Retail Stores to Compete with Apple (AAPL) Thu, 14 Jul 2011 12:55:26 +0000 Read More]]> Microsoft Windows Retail

According to a new report published by Neowin Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has unveiled plans at their Worldwide Partner Conference for an additional 75 stores in the US, bringing the grand total of retail stores to 86 stores. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has around 350 retail store locations and continues to add stores in cities all over America, allowing the company to stay ahead of the game and dominate the retail market.

Microsoft (MSFT) has attempted to enter the retail atmosphere in the past, and failed to provide a common theme for their store that customers could relate to. As a result, the 11 Microsoft Retail stores currently in the US, faded away in the shadows of Apple’s (AAPL) retail empire. Now, a few months after Microsoft’s Windows Phone entered the market, Microsoft is planning to once again re-enter the retail market and propose a challenge for Apple.

It is, however, evident that Microsoft is adjusting their strategies based of Apple’s and is readjusting itself to an ever changing market. Microsoft has attempted to create inviting places, with wood surfaces, where customers can enjoy the array of products. The products are available for customers to use and even allows them to ask questions about them at the “Answer Desk”, essentially Microsoft’s form of a Genius Bar.

Microsoft has yet to announce any further plans that they may have, but until they do, it is clear that they are following closely in the footsteps of Apple.

Do you think Microsoft’s new retail stores will pose a threat to Apple? Let us know what you think in the comments.

]]> 4 Apple’s iPhone Stays Strong Even As Smartphone Shipments Dip Wed, 11 May 2011 21:07:16 +0000 Read More]]> Smartphone shipments took a dip in the first quarter for the first time in a couple of years as manufacturers shipped 97.2 million phones in Q1, down 1.5% when compared with Q4.

According to IHS iSuppli who published these figures shipments for electronic goods generally slow down after the holiday season but the dip in smartphone industry is atypical. In contrast, Apple’s iPhone shipments jumped nearly 15% as the company shipped 18.6 million of its smartphones in the first quarter.

The market research firm credited the launch of Verizon iPhone 4 for strong sales in the first quarter. Tina Teng, IHS senior analyst for wireless communications, said:

Not only did this allow Apple to expand its target market and boost shipments, it also placed additional pressure on rival smart phone brands–including Motorola, Samsung, LG and HTC–that focus on Verizon Wireless as a major customer,

Apple continues to remain at number two position on the list of top smartphone manufacturers in terms of total shipments however, companies like Nokia, Motorola saw sequential declines of 14.5% and 16.3% respectively.

Nokia’s tie-up with Microsoft is being viewed as one of the sting factors impacting sales as consumers anticipate newer models to feature the new Windows Phone platform. Ting said, “With the announcement of the deal, Nokia eliminated the incentive for consumers to buy its existing smartphone products, which are based on its Symbian and MeeGo operating systems. Meanwhile, the Microsoft deal is unlikely to yield any products for nearly one year,”

Apple’s clever timing for the Verizon iPhone 4 launch and then the White iPhone is certainly causing a positive impact on sales. The research firm also noted that RIM’s shipments were up 4.2% in the first quarter compared with the fourth. However, Research In Motion failed to catch up and was 4 percentage points behind Cupertino, Calif. based company in terms of shipments, compared with 2.1 points in Q4.

]]> 0 Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) to Acquire Skype for $8.5 billion Wed, 11 May 2011 16:18:37 +0000 Read More]]> Microsoft To Acquire Skype Official

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) on Tuesday officially announced in a company press release that they are acquiring Skype for $8.5 billion.

Now, that’s a lot of cash to put down on a company that, just last December left users in the dark before the holiday season, and put fear in investors who were looking towards an Initial Public Offering (IPO).

Skype is expected to be integrated into Microsoft’s suite of products that are currently offered to customers, including the Xbox 360 and Kinect support as well as Windows Phone integration.

The acquisition will increase the accessibility of real-time video and voice communications, bringing benefits to both consumers and enterprise users and generating significant new business and revenue opportunities. The combination will extend Skype’s world-class brand and the reach of its networked platform, while enhancing Microsoft’s existing portfolio of real-time communications products and services.

Skype was first sold at $2.5b to eBay in 2005, who later sold most of it off to Silver Lake in 2009 at an overall value of $2.75b. It is now being sold to Microsoft for almost triple the amount that it was originally purchased for.

A brand new Microsoft Skype Division will be created in order to accommodate those making the switch over to Microsoft, and current Skype CEO, Tony Bates will be moving with his company to lead the new division. Check out the official Microsoft press release on the acquisition of Skype here.

]]> 0 Gartner Claims Windows Phone 7 Will Overtake Apple’s iPhone Fri, 08 Apr 2011 22:03:43 +0000 It’s the analyst lottery today on Touch Reviews, with today’s little stroke of genius (read, guessing) coming courtesy of Gartner. A recent report by Gartner says the firm expects Microsoft’s fledgling mobile operating system to overtake Apple’s iOS as soon as 2015 thanks to the Redmond outfit aligning itself with Finish mobile phone giant Nokia.

Gartner has revised its forecast of Windows Phone’s market share upward, solely by virtue of Microsoft’s alliance with Nokia.

Gartner believes iOS and WP7 will achieve parity in 2014 with the Microsoft solution taking control a year later, with Google’s Android being the clear winner overall. Thanks to Android’s availability on a raft of hardware it’s hard to see beyond the open source OS.

Whether Gartner turns out to be correct remains to be seen. Will Nokia’s ability to build strong hardware be enough to make buyers move to WP7? We think potential sales will depend on the availability of key apps rather than which camera is included. Gartner is also using existing Nokia Symbian sales as a benchmark (though they do admit it is less than current Symbian sales) for how well WP7 Nokia handsets will sell, which may or may not be the best way to predict market share 4 years out.

But hey, who are we to argue with analysts?

]]> 6 Apple and Microsoft Employ Linguists In App Store Trademark Spat Mon, 04 Apr 2011 14:40:45 +0000 Both Apple and Microsoft have hired linguists in their quest to come out on top in their battle over whether or not the Cupertino company should be allowed to trademark the term ‘App Store’.

Apple is currently attempting to claim ‘App Store’ as a trademark after its highly lucrative foray into the mobile application market with its iOS store. With other companies trying to join in on the fun and Amazon even going so far as to call their own service the ‘Amazon AppStore’ Apple is trying to get things sewn up as soon as possible, though their competition obviously isn’t so keen on the idea.

Apple obviously believes they should be granted the trademark, and hired Robert Leonard to help persuade U.S Patent & Trademark Office to come around to their way of thinking.  It seems Leonard says that while both ‘app’ and ‘store’ are separate words, once combined they become a proper noun and as such should be trademark-able.

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft’s own rent-a-linguist disagrees. The argument against Apple is that ‘app store’ is a generic term and should be available for all companies to use freely. Microsoft’s linguist Ronald Butlers agrees with MS:

“The compound noun app store means simply ‘store at which apps are offered for sale,’ which is merely a definition of the thing itself—a generic characterization,”

In a post behind The Wall Street Journal’s pay-wall the newspaper claimed both linguists were earning over $350 per hour for their troubles – not bad work if you can get it, though we’re sure neither Apple nor Microsoft will struggle to pay their respective bills.

We’ll just have to wait and see who’s linguist is the most persuasive.

{Source: MacObserver}

]]> 1 Android The Victor As Smartphone Sales Soar Sat, 02 Apr 2011 19:45:56 +0000 Android

According to new numbers coming out of ABI Research today, approximately 302 million smartphones shipped last year worldwide, with sales up 71% in 2010 when compared to 2009.

The figures also show that a massive 69 million Android devices were sold to eager punters, while ABI Research predict the platform will reach a 45% market share by 2016.

Again using the analyst’s numbers, iOS currently has a 15% share which is expected to grow steadily to 19% in the next 5 years.

Also-rans RIM (BlackBerry) and Microsoft (Windows Phone 7) are expected to make up the remainder while not pulling up any trees. RIM seem content to sit in their comfort zone of the enterprise market while MS are still struggling to get their fledgling operating system to take off. Recent software update woes won’t help them in the short term either.

IDC however disagrees with the assessment of WP7’s chances. The firm said last week that the believe Microsoft could find their OS overtake Apple in market share by 2015 thanks to the recent deal bringing Windows Phone 7 to Nokia handsets.

{Source: PCWorld}

]]> 3 Apple Tops Microsoft in Third Quarter Revenue Sat, 30 Oct 2010 01:35:30 +0000 Read More]]> Apple (AAPL) earned more revenue in the most recent quarter than its arch-enemy Microsoft. The numbers involved are equally interesting (and mind-blowing!). Apple’s revenue hit a staggering $20b compared to Microsoft’s none-too-shabby $16b. Once you’ve got your head around the shear size of those numbers, remember that means Apple’s revenue is a massive $4b more than that of MS. That’s money of Scrooge McDuck proportions!

When it comes to cold hard profit however, the team from Redmond still rules the roost – turns out software doesn’t cost that much to make. Who knew!?

Perhaps the most amazing fact is that 60% of Apple’s profits came from the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad – none of which were around just over 3 years ago. Contrast this with Microsoft’s results – almost all their profit comes from everyone’s (2nd) favourite OS, Windows, plus its Office suite of apps. Recent successes such as the Xbox console and its replacement the Xbox 360 just can’t compare with the success story of the MS software devision.

Will Windows Phone 7 mean increased revenue for Microsoft or will Apple’s increasingly innovative approach to software and hardware see them stay ahead in the revenue stakes? Only time will tell.

[via tipb] ]]> 1 Apple’s iOS reaches all-time best, Android still far behind in web share Sun, 03 Oct 2010 21:37:30 +0000 Read More]]> iOS Android Web Share

The guys over at Net Applications recently released some interesting information about various operating systems, both mobile and desktop, and how they compare to each other with regards to web share. Apple’s iOS platform, with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices combined, rose to 1.18% of all web usage. When you consider mobile browsing in total reached an all-time high of 2.8% that’s impressive stuff.

Why did Apple’s iOS see its highest score to date? The smart money is on the release of the iPad and iPhone 4’s continued high demand drawing in new users to mobile web browsing.

As for the competition, Android handsets accounted for just 0.24% of web use – turns out having more handsets than apps doesn’t automatically get you great results! is it possible Android users use their phones differently?  Maybe they are just too busy scanning QR codes!

The report also measures desktop usage and it’s not great reading for Microsoft. Internet Explorer, the Redmond company’s own internet browser, saw its share fall to 59.65% – still nothing to sniff at. Windows in general also suffered a loss, with a result of 91%. Still remarkably high.

[electronista] ]]> 15 Blackberry Coming Under Pressure from Apple and Google for Market Share Wed, 14 Jul 2010 17:58:48 +0000 Read More]]> It seems that the fairytale success of the Blackberry is coming under increasing pressure from both Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) , as demand for iPhone 4 and Android handsets, and their increasing market share steadily encroaches on RIM’s market dominance.

A recent survey from ChangeWave Research completed at the end of June, prior to the iPhone 4 launch, shows that RIM is holding onto its market lead by its fingernails.

In terms of current share, Apple (34%) is up 1-pt since our March survey to an all-time high while RIM (34%) has taken another hit – dropping 4-pts in the past 90 days.

When questioned, 52% of the people surveyed by ChangeWave confirmed that if they were going to buy a new mobile phone in the next 90 days it would be an Apple iPhone.

Largely forgotten now, Palm holds onto barely 1% of the mobile marketplace, which makes it sadly irrelevant.

It bears repeating that this survey was completed prior to the iPhone 4 going on sale, but at that point Apple led in customer satisfaction over other manufacturers. 73% of Apple customers stated that they were happy with their device. It will be interesting to revisit this particular figure in a couple of months when the current iPhone 4 issues have been clarified.

What chance does Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 have in this marketplace we have to wonder.

Do you think Apple and Google will crush RIM, as they appear to have done to Palm? And do you think that Microsofts latest mobile phone, after their Kin disaster, will fair any better? Let us know your thoughts in the comments…

]]> 2 iPhone OS 4.0 To Include More Bing Sat, 29 May 2010 17:15:04 +0000 Read More]]> bing microsoft logo

It appears the war between Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has escalated and to some it may seem that Apple has chosen the nuclear option. According to reports originating on TechCrunch, Apple is currently in talks to expand the breadth and availability of Microsoft services in iPhone OS 4.0. Traditional foes during the original Silicon Valley wars, increasingly Apple has taken a pragmatic, “enemy of my enemy” approach in Silicon Valley War 2.0. How ironic would it be if Microsoft, who once famously injected a 150 million life saving dollars into Apple, was in turn saved by their former nemesis?

Reports earlier this year suggested that Apple and Microsoft had been in talks to include Bing as an iPhone search option or replace Google entirely. If Apple is serious about ridding their operating system of Google-branded products, Microsoft and their Bing division certainly have the services to do it. Bing provides replacements for basic web search, image and video search, news, maps, and visual search. In some cases these products are more highly regarded than similar offerings from Google. Although we shouldn’t expect a wholesale expulsion of Google from the iPhone OS immediately, it certainly sets the stage for further moves if these first ones are successful. Microsoft has hungered for a way to get more eyeballs on Bing and the iPhone ecosystem is certainly prime real estate. Bing already offers a very popular iPhone application, it wouldn’t take much for Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple to work together to integrate these services into the operating system. This integration could be as simple as letting a user choose which services they want right up to the eventual end game of wholesale Google replacement.

These negotiations with Microsoft demonstrate the incredible acumen with which Apple manages their products. Talking to Microsoft serves two primary purposes. First, Apple gives a company desperate for a foothold in the mobile space a chance for success. Apple is very good at selecting partners who are in need of the boost inclusion provides. Originally it was the music industry with the iPod and iTunes. After that it was the print industry with the iPad. Now Apple recognizes that partnering with Microsoft puts them in a position of power to deal for the services they need. When the iPhone was introduced in 2007, Google was in a similar situation. They wanted and needed a foothold in mobile that Apple was happy to provide. Now that Google has shown its desire to go an independent route, Apple is more than happy to move away from them.

Secondly, it gives Apple options. They can choose to use a contract with Microsoft as leverage with Google or as their exit strategy. If Apple isn’t quite ready to cut the cord with Google they could use an agreement with Microsoft to gain concessions from the search giant. Rumors have circulated about how much Google is paying Apple for relatively exclusivity on the iPhone platform but no hard numbers have ever been revealed. With Bing in their back pocket, Apple could sting their former friends in Mountain View with demands for more money or other concessions to maintain that exclusivity, or at least primacy, in the operating system. By the same token, Apple may well have decided the end has come for their partnership with Google and be readying a phased exit strategy. They’ll gradually introduce Bing-based services into 4.0 and subsequent releases until all traces of Google have been removed. It may be hard to see the break up happen but it may be time and best for both companies to go their separate ways.

What do you think of the Apple – Microsoft negotiations? Will the inclusion of Microsoft services help or hinder the iPhone OS? Do you Google or Bing? We’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject.

]]> 2 Microsoft Courier: Just a Concept after all Fri, 30 Apr 2010 18:20:33 +0000 Read More]]> It was a sad day today as I scanned the web for news of what was new and exciting going on in the world of Technology. I came across confirmation of what myself, and many others feared for a long time.

The Courier is not real. And it never will be. It was a moment for me personally similar to the one when I learned in the game Portal that “The Cake is a Lie”!

If you remember a while back many of us were excited by User Interface concept videos for the Courier Tablet, and what was supposed to be Microsoft’s unique take on that category of device.

Engadget followed up on those initial videos a few weeks later and confirmed that the device was real, and proceeded to flesh the story out for us all with more details, which hinted very strongly at a real device in the pipeline.

We reported on that here: [touchreviews]

And I had this to say at the time :

If, and this is a big if. But if Microsoft can produce this device so that it looks as good as the pictures we have seen to date. And if the User Interface has the functionality detailed in those concept videos, then the Courier is going to be truly remarkable. And I will camp outside a store or travel half way round the world to buy one on day one. And I’ll want to develop for it too.

I am not convinced that this device will be all that the videos and pictures promise. It just seems too good to be true. But if it is then I think we could see a massive shift in power in the mobile market place.

Well it was “too good to be true”. In fact it’s worse that that.. Microsoft had this to say today :

At any given time, across any of our business groups, there are new ideas being investigated, tested, and incubated. It’s in Microsoft’s DNA to continually develop and incubate new technologies to foster productivity and creativity. The ‘Courier’ project is an example of this type of effort and its technologies will be evaluated for use in future Microsoft offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time.

So that’s it. Probably the best looking stab that any manufacturer has taken at a tablet to date is not going to happen. Perhaps the Courier was not the most well thought out device in its physical form overall. But in its User Interface and conceptual design it was groundbreaking in many ways, and any possible issues it may have had with folding I am sure could have been worked out. Especially if its size was to be around that which Engadget predicted.

HP also cancelled their Windows 7 tablet yesterday after having purchased Palm and webOS.

So with HP grabbing Palm, perhaps recognising where webOS might take them in the tablet arena, and then clearly deciding they need to play catchup to Apple, who are apparently years ahead of everyone else with the iPad. Microsoft have cancelled their remaining tablet project a day after HP killed their only other upcoming Tablet product of any import. A Tablet that Steve Ballmer proudly announced on stage at CES earlier this year.

I have to wonder who makes the important decision at Microsoft these days!

Are you disappointed that Microsoft will not make the Courier? Let us know in the comments.

]]> 2 Phone Patent Battle lines drawn. Microsoft eyes opportunities. Wed, 10 Mar 2010 04:28:19 +0000 Read More]]> As I suggested last week, Apple’s lawsuit against HTC over phone patents did not come out of the blue, and is not the last of what may mushroom into a multi-company skirmish, perhaps even including Microsoft.

Oppenheimer analyst Yai Reiner issued a report yesterday that illuminated the issues and industry discussions that have been going on behind closed doors prior to patent suits Apple (AAPL) filed last week against HTC.

“Starting in January, Apple launched a series of C-Level discussions with tier-1 handset makers to underscore its growing displeasure at seeing its iPhone-related IP [intellectual property] infringed. The lawsuit filed against HTC thus appears to be Apple’s way of putting a public, lawyered-up exclamation point on a series of blunt conversations that have been occurring behind closed doors.”

“Our checks also suggest that these warning shots are meaningfully disrupting the development roadmaps for would-be iPhone killers. Rival software and hardware teams are going back to the drawing board to look for work-arounds. Lawyers are redoubling efforts to gauge potential defensive and offensive responses. And strategy teams are working to chart OS strategies that are better hedged.”

In simple terms Apple has been warning rivals for the best part of a year that it was not happy about them stepping ever closer to infringing it’s IP. Warned them appropriately, with the primary aim of disrupting their ongoing design work, and ultimately curbing what it perceives as theft of it’s ideas.

Tim Cook (COO of Apple) also touched on this last January in Apple’s quarterly analyst call : Apple “will not stand for having our IP ripped off, and we’ll use whatever weapons that we have at our disposal”.

As I speculated, and Reiner agrees, HTC is merely a proxy target for Google (GOOG), the company behind Android OS. He also points out that HTC does’t have any shared suppliers that may be affected by a legal battle between the two companies.

Most manufacturers interpreted these grumblings from Apple as related primarily to multi-touch. But that seems not to be the case, and they have misinterpreted the breadth and scope of Apple’s intentions. With the launch of new Android mobiles towards the end of last year and no direct comment from Apple many manufacturers decided to go ahead and push further with multi-touch phones, something they had previously held back on.

“It was likely in order to counter that perception that Apple began reaching out to handset OEMs in January and explaining in no uncertain terms that it was now ready to do battle and not just on multi-touch,” Reiner goes on, “It was ready to press its case along a number of axes that had made the iPhone experience unique, from the interpretation of touch gestures, to object-oriented OS design, to the nuts and bolts of how hardware elements were built and configured.”

In the HTC suit Apple not only lists multi-touch, but also a raft of other iPhone specific features such as power management, networking modules and object-orientated system design.

One down side to innovation is that a lot of phone designers are now treading more carefully, reexamining designs, and consulting with lawyers on those designs so as to avoid possible law suits from Apple. All of this could drag on for some time as the HTC lawsuit could take many years to be decided, and much of that could be delayed by pending investigations into that lawsuit itself by the ITC in the US, and another investigation by that same body into the still ongoing Apple V Nokia phone lawsuit.

Another worrying side effect of this (for Apple) is that Microsoft seems to actually enjoy this kind of battle and see benefits they can reap from the confusion. Consequently, they apparently stand ready with their own batch of patents and their Win7 Mobile designs to “join battle with customers that come under IP attack.” Now that’s a marketing ploy to pitch at OEMs!

If I was forced to choose between Android and Windows Phone 7 right now I think I might go with the company behind the OS which is a heavier hitter, and more experienced litigant of the two. So all this raft of lawsuits may do is end up helping Microsoft.

In other news AAPL shares rose even higher to a new record high of over $223 per share yesterday!

]]> 0 Microsoft’s Courier. Is this the iPad slayer? Sat, 06 Mar 2010 20:28:40 +0000 Read More]]> Mircosoft courier iPad Slayer 2

Microsoft’s Courier tablet was first mentioned on tech sites a couple of months ago. At the time it was only a concept which existed in the form of a kind of User Interface showcase with cartoon hands controlling a virtual device. But those concept videos were rather impressive and very forward thinking. Of the many UI features that impressed me one really stuck in my mind. It was perhaps the simplest of them all, but it struck me as really nifty. When you want to transfer a picture or note to the clipboard you just slide it to the hinge of the device and it sticks there partly exposed on both screens. You can then flip through pages until you find the one you want. Once there you slide the clipping out onto either screen and paste it. Simple, but so cool I wanted one just so I could try it!

The User Interface of the Courier overall had the same shock and awe effect on me that the iPhone’s did when I first saw it. Before that OS X blew me away similarly.

Because at that stage the Courier was a concept no-one had any idea of the dimensions of the device. Or how much of the hardware was actually real. Or even how close to reality the incredibly impressive conceptual GUI of this thing was. All we did know was that the Courier had two screens, and opened like a traditional book with a hinge in the middle. It also supposedly had a pen, although the UI videos showed both multitouch with fingers and the pen being used. Oh, and it had a camera if the concept videos were accurate. We get to see it taking shots with that, and those snaps being filed away in a scrap book, edited and collated, and used as part of a presentation.

My initial reaction to the hinged device idea was that I wondered how people were going to actually use a device on the move which folded in the middle. How would it stay open on your lap? How would you type, draw or work with it when also having to hold it. Would the hinge be floppy or stiff? It was all the same kind of concerns that people had about how Apple’s take on a Tablet would work for typing and viewing movies etc. But I loved some of the ideas that were being explored with the Courier. Part of the reason that I worried about the folding design was that I envisioned it being around the size of a legal note pad when folded shut. So around the size of a magazine. I am not sure why, but that was my impression. My mind was stuck with the idea of a traditional tablet sized device or something about the size of the iPad, I guess.

Looking at the concept videos again it is fairly clear that this thing is not actually that big. Indeed, pictures that Engadget have today show the device (or at least a mockup) in human hands, and as being much closer to the size of a traditional paperback. For some reason this has made a massive impression on me. Engadet’s information on the device is here.

Mircosoft courier iPad Slayer

The videos (which have been around for a while now) are further down the same page. Make sure you watch them. They are obviously not real. By that I mean they are not running on a real device. But there is no reason in this day and age that a User Interface could not do all the things we are seeing there. And if Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 7 interface is anything to go by then the general look and feel all fits. Again though, all we’ve seen of that is flashy web sites and conceptsÉ so far.

Engadget have this to say: “Courier will function as a “digital journal,” and it’s designed to be seriously portable: it’s under an inch thick, weighs a little over a pound, and isn’t much bigger than a 5×7 photo when closed. That’s a lot smaller than we expected.” With reference to that last sentence: Join the club guys!

If, and this is a big if. But if Microsoft can produce this device so that it looks as good as the pictures we have seen to date. And if the User Interface has the functionality detailed in those concept videos, then the Courier is going to be truly remarkable. And I will camp outside a store or travel half way round the world to buy one on day one. And I’ll want to develop for it too.

I am not convinced that this device will be all that the videos and pictures promise. It just seems too good to be true. But if it is then I think we could see a massive shift in power in the mobile market place.

Microsoft could really be making a rather incredible device that people simply must have.

What do you think about the Courier? Is it the iPad slayer or is it promising too much and will it underwhelm in real life?

By: Stephen Northcott

Microsoft’s Courier: Videos of the interface in action

Images and Video Credit: Engadget

]]> 3 Bing Search App For iPhone: Now Available Wed, 16 Dec 2009 14:03:54 +0000 Read More]]> bing-microsoft-logo

After releasing Seadragon app for iPhone almost a year back, Microsoft has finally launched their second app on the App Store called Bing.

Bing (iTunes link, Free) is not just a simple search app, Microsoft has really taken interest in working on the user interface and features. The app supports speech recognition for search queries and an easy toggle to change search type from web to images or news and more. It also offers Bing daily image which works like the app background and also displays interesting trivia. You can view your search results via in-app browser. The settings area lets you select your Safe Search, Units and Screen Rotation preferences.

If you like using Bing or are just looking for good web search app then Microsoft’s Bing for iPhone is definitely worth a try!

]]> 0