Apple appears to have hit a brick wall in the first three months of 2014 where iPad growth is concerned, but it turns out they may not be alone: Consumers are finding few compelling reasons to upgrade existing tablets.
Following years of speculation, Microsoft finally unleashed a trio of Office apps on iPad a few weeks back, with Word for iPad, Excel for iPad, and PowerPoint for iPad all offering good-to-great touch-enabled takes on the long-running productivity favorites. Curiously, though, all three launched without printing support, which made them not-fully-ideal options for users looking to untether from a traditional computer. Luckily, that oversight has been swiftly corrected, as Microsoft announced today via its Office blog that all three apps can now print over the air to any AirPrint-compatible printer.
Skype has long offered video call capabilities for more than two users on Mac (and PC) — but only when at least one had a paid Premium subscription plan in effect. Now, the company has eased that restriction, making group calling available free as of today to all computer users, along with those on Xbox One. And iOS users may be next to be added to that list.
Although many use Office for everyday word processing and number crunching tasks, there’s a substantial contingent of customers who live and breathe the presentation leg of Microsoft’s productivity tripod, which has finally made an impressive (though somewhat handicapped) transition to mobile. Together with Word and Excel, PowerPoint for iPad makes up Microsoft’s newly mobilized Office trilogy. This trio of apps features a touchscreen user interface often slicker than their desktop equivalents, but more importantly, documents can be opened and edited with complete confidence that they’ll look exactly as they do on Mac or PC.
Wherever Word travels, Excel cannot be far behind—and at long last, Microsoft has allowed the number crunching favorite to follow the money trail straight into the App Store with a touchscreen version built just for iPad. Microsoft Excel for iPad ends years of suffering with less-powerful third-party solutions that have been all too happy to encroach in Redmond’s absence. Like Word, Excel for iPad is in most respects a superior effort over the venerable Mac application, offering an impressively clean user interface that doesn’t skimp on features.
Purchase an iPad for a loved one or family member, and without fail, the recipient will ask, “Does this work with Microsoft Word?” Thankfully, the answer is now a resounding yes—at least for those willing to pay for the privilege. With few exceptions, Microsoft Word for iPad is well worth the wait. While the iPad-only app doesn’t offer the same full-frontal feature assault of the Mac or Windows editions, the majority of the most frequently used, make-or-break tools (including track changes, charts, and rich formatting) are all present and accounted for.
Well, Apple's future is getting close to becoming clear as the date for WWDC 2014 has finally been let loose. Looks like some tech journalists are going to be revamping any early summer vacation plans. Meanwhile, it feels like it's been so long since Microsoft had a hit that this week's news of how well Office for iPad did can't help but be a shot in the arm. Plus games, leaks, updates and new stuff all in this week's hottest news.
On the eve of the launch of Microsoft's three signature Office apps for the iPad, several critics were still suggesting that it was too late for their appearance to make much of a difference. According to today's Twitter report from Microsoft, however, they couldn't have been more wrong. Just one week since Word, Excel, and PowerPoint came to Apple's tablet, the apps (combined with OneNote) have been downloaded a stunning 12 million times.
Apple's Siri voice assistant received a new challenge Wednesday as Microsoft debuted a similar long-rumored feature for Windows Phone 8.1 called Cortana. Powered by Bing search, Cortana (named after a virtual character from the Halo video games) appears to have a lot of Siri's personality, but will only be available to U.S. users as a beta when Windows Phone 8.1 launches in the next month or two. Sound familiar?
Why wouldn't we start in with the iPhone 6 rumors already? The year is creeping on by, getting ever closer to the next handset drop date, so let's see what's cooking in that and other stories this week. But as we look forward to the iPhone's future, we also get an inside look at the past, where it all began. Plus games and TV news and more in this week's hottest news roundup.