Windows 10 Shines with These 11 New Features

K – I admit it. I am a Windows 10 apologist. I believe Windows 10 is the future of the modern operating system. Although there is still much to improve Windows 10 is well on it’s way to being the first truly modern operating system. I can prove this by talking a little bit about 11 great new featured brought to us bu Windows 10.

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Groove Music Player

It looks like Microsoft will compete with Apple’s Garageband home music creation software with a new Groove Music Maker app. The sizzle reel showed an app for mixing instrumental and vocal tracks, plus apply basic effects like reverb.

A Better Windows Defender

Microsoft has been focused heavily on improving the security of Windows 10, and it looks like that’s getting a further upgrade with a redesigned Windows Defender coming in the Creators Update.

In addition to virus protection, the app also includes firewall and network protection, computer performance and health, and family safety features.

Rich Tab Previews with Edge

Microsoft Edge will get a feature designed to make it easier to flip through a bunch of browser tabs. The video shows a user able to scroll through a horizontal carousel of rich tab previews that show the contents of pages before they’re opened.

Tabs in Edge

In a similar tab management vein, Edge will also get a feature that looks like a way for users to save their browser tabs to access later. It’s reminiscent of features like Apple’s Reading List in Safari, which also lets users keep a list of articles and sites they want to hold on to for later.

Collections of Maps

Microsoft’s Maps app is getting a new section called Collections, which appear to be exactly what they sound like — groupings of places. It also seems like there will be some mechanism in the app for sharing those collections between friends, but it’s not immediately clear how that will work.

New Live Tiles

The new Start menu shows a new Cortana live tile, along with an icon for a Battery Level Live tile.

The former seems like a good way for people to get contextual information from Microsoft’s virtual assistant, and the latter seems like a useful tool for people with laptops and tablets.

Customizing Accent Colors

People who want to further customize the way Windows looks will be able to pick from a full palette of accent colors, rather than the handful of swatches that Microsoft allows today. It also looks like Windows will tell users when the color they picked might be unreadable.

Windows Store

It looks like the Windows Store will get support for selling in-app purchases directly from its home screen. Microsoft is showing both Minecraft IAPs and digital items from League of Legends in this screenshot, which could mean that there’s a partnership afoot between the two firms.

That would make sense, considering that Windows and Devices Group chief Terry Myerson name-checked the League of Legends World Championship on stage at the event on Wednesday.

Gaming Limits – Yes Gaming Limits

It looks like the Windows Store will get support for selling in-app purchases directly from its home screen. Microsoft is showing both Minecraft IAPs and digital items from League of Legends in this screenshot, which could mean that there’s a partnership afoot between the two firms.

That would make sense, considering that Windows and Devices Group chief Terry Myerson name-checked the League of Legends World Championship on stage at the event on Wednesday.

Better Quick Actions

 It looks like the Action Center, which houses notifications and quick access to settings, will also start giving users the chance to get access to files they have been working with on other devices.

It seems like an attempt to better compete with Apple’s Continuity features in MacOS and iOS, which also let people pick up where they left off on their iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Macs.

Apple Updates iOS 9 Less Then a Week After It’s Release

Apple has already rolled out an update to its recently released mobile OS – iOS 9. The first update to Apple’s new operating system will fix a few reported glitches. The company has issued an instruction guide on its website for users looking to fix the bug. The update is available as an OTA download for all the devices that support iOS 9.

iOS 9.0.1 will fix a bug which was reported by many users wherein the device stuck on the ‘Slide to Upgrade’ screen after updating to iOS 9 or while restoring from a backup. The company also fixes the glitches, including inability to complete the setup assistant process after upgrading the device to iOS 9.

Additional improvements include fixing the bug that would cause alarms and timers to fail when activated. It also fixes an issue in Safari and Photos where pausing a video could cause the paused frame to appear distorted. iOS 9.0.1 also fixes an issue that caused many users with a custom APN setup via a profile settings to lose mobile data. Lastly, the new update will also offer a few security fixes.

Follow the below steps to update to iOS 9.0.1:

1. Connect your iOS device to a computer. Then make sure that iTunes is open.

2. While your device is connected, press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons until you see the Connect to iTunes screen.

3. When asked, choose Update.

4. Once the restore is done, finish the onscreen steps to set up your device.

Apple Removes Infected iOS Apps

Apple has removed a large number of apps from its store after it was found that around 40 iOS apps had been infected by a modified version of the company’s software for developers.

Last week Apple announced that it has removed apps from the App Store that it knows have been created with counterfeit software in order to protect its customers.

Palo Alto Networks reported last week that a new malware, called XcodeGhost, modified the Xcode integrated development environment for building apps for the Mac, iPhone and iPad.

The security firm reported last Friday that it had found that over 39 apps, including many popular Chinese apps, had been infected by the malware. Some of these apps are used outside China.

It was recommended that that all iOS developers be aware and take necessary actions. XcodeGhost, which targets compilers, collects information on devices and uploads the data to command and control servers.

The mode of attack can also be used to target enterprise iOS or OS X apps in “much more dangerous ways,” Palo Alto researcher Claud Xiao wrote.

Palo Alto Networks further stated that XcodeGhost was a “very harmful and dangerous” malware that could prompt fake phishing dialogs, open URLs, and read and write clipboard data, which in some cases can be used to read passwords.

Some analysts have suggested that the compromised Xcode may have been downloaded from a server in China to get around slow Internet connections to Apple’s own servers.

The good news here is that Apple is being aggressive in their respond and removing the infected apps.

Apple Embraces Ad Blockers

Ad Blockers are becoming very popular these days. Why is that? Very simply most ads pop up or eat up website space and slow internet browsing down.

Now Ad Blockers are coming to your iPhone, if you want it. Thank You Apple.

A $2.99 app called Peace, promises to block “most ads and privacy-invading trackers on web pages”. To prove the popularity of this type of feature Peace is the top paid app in the App Store. Then there is a $3.99 app called Purify Blocker which stands at at No. 4 on the paid-apps charts. And a 99 cent app called Blockr is No. 17 on the charts.

Why this sudden interest in ad blockers? Apple’s new iOS 9 software, adds a feature that allows the Safari Web browser to tap into content blocking from third-party apps. You simply install such an app and then set Safari to use it to block advertisements and similar content as you surf the Web.

As I said at the start of this article ads have long been a sore spot for people surfing the Internet.

iOS 9 Arrives Tomorrow

If you have a relatively new model iPhone, iPad or iPod, you will soon be able to download what Apple is calling “its most advanced mobile operating system yet” otherwise known as iOS 9. Available starting tomorrow as a free update, iOS 9 is being touted by Apple as more intelligent and more proactive than any previous version.

Among the changes you are most likely to notice include, new support for multitaskinga new News app; the addition of public transit information in Maps (not available in the Philadelphia area sadly); and an updated Siri digital assistantthat’s quicker to offer both answers and suggestions.

Before upgrading to iOS 9, Apple you should take the usual precaution of backing up the content on their devices first. The new mobile operating system will work on the iPhone 4 and later generations, fifth-generation and later iPod Touches, and the iPad 2 and iPad mini and up.

Peek and Pop with your IPhone

Perhaps Apple’s most daring change will arrive with the release of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus on September 25. The new 3D Touch responds to the amount of pressure a user puts on the device, which Apple reported will enable new gesture controls such as “Peek and Pop” (i.e., press lightly to peek at an app, press harder to pop into the content).

Apple Releases iOS 8.4

Today Apple released iOS 8.4, the latest update to its mobile operating system. The update is not as wide-ranging as iOS 8.3, but it does add a few notable things, chief among them are a revamped Music app and a fix for a bug where a specific set of characters could crash the operating system. iOS 8.4 is available for the iPhone 4S and newer, the iPad 2 and newer, and the fifth-generation iPod Touch.

The redesigned music app accompanies the launch of Apple Music and the 24-hour, human-curated Beats One radio station, which Apple exec Eddy Cue and a parade of others spent a long, long time unveiling at WWDC earlier this month. The Spotify-esque on-demand streaming station comes with a three-month trial, and when that ends, it will cost $10 a month for individuals or $15 a month for families of up to six people.

Also included in iOS 8.4 are improvements to iBooks, which can now be used for audiobooks. “Made for iBooks” books now work on the iPhone, too. Other improvements include a setting to turn off the auto-night theme, the ability to pre-order books in a series, and various bug fixes.

Finally, iOS 8.4 fixes another problem that “prevented GPS accessories from providing location data,” and “fixes an issue where deleted Apple Watch apps could re-install.”

iOS 8.4 will likely be the last major update the operating system receives before iOS 9 is released later this fall. The new version, which will also be available as a public beta next month, will run on every device that currently runs iOS 8. Among other things, it introduces a more intelligent, context-aware Siri, multitasking for newer iPads, and many refinements for existing apps.

Apple’s Profits Surge as iPad Sales Plummet

At the start of this week I talked a little bit about Microsoft’s monster third quarter surrounding their adoption of cloud services. If you think Apple will be left behind, think again, on a very different model, Apple also reported a very good second quarter (Apple’s fiscal quarters are different then Microsoft’s) but their earning came in very different ways then Microsoft.

Apple had a tough act to follow after their record-breaking first quarter, but they managed to surpass expectations in the January to March quarter when it comes to iPhone and Mac sales. While iPad sales are actually dipping, the firm posted record revenue and profit for the three-month period.

Here is a rundown of Apple’s fiscal report:

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus1. The iPhone 6 is really, really popular
Typical of Apple’s earnings is simply how many iPhones the company sold during the three-month period.

Apple announced sales of 61.2 million for the second quarter which. This was down from the 74.5 million reported over Christmas and represents a 40 percent increase from the previous year.

This surge was driven largely by the success of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

2. Macs Bring in More Cash for Apple than iPads
iPad sales for the second quarter came in at 12.6 million, down from 16.3 million from the first quarter and 21 million in the fourth quarter (2014). Mac sales, on the other hand, came in at 4.5 million, up from 4.1 million in the year-ago quarter.

3. Apple’s App Store generates 70 percent more traffic than Google Play
The Apple Store reported its best quarter ever with a record $5 billion (yes that’s a B) in revenue. It was also revealed that the App Store generated 70 percent more traffic than Google Play.

4. China has overtaken Europe to become Apple’s second biggest market
China in Q2 surpassed Europe with revenue of $16.8 billion to become the company’s second biggest market after the United States. Apple said that it has sold more iPhones in China than it did in any other country, and sales rose 71 percent.

5. Apple made 27 acquisitions in the past six quarters
Apple reported that it has made 25+ acquisitions during the the past year and a half.

iCloud for Windows Arrives

One of my biggest complaints about Apple’s iCloud is that it was not truly available across platform. I believe that when you are dealing with user’s “data” the cloud provider has an obligation to make the data available on whatever device / operating sysyem the user chooses to use.

Apple has finally adopted this theory and has made iCloud available on Windows.

On Windows, iCloud Drive is available as its own folder for managing documents stored in the cloud. iCloud Drive appears to work largely the same as iCloud Drive on Apple’s operating systems.  Although Windows users still cannot use iCloud Keychain for web passwords, Notes or Find My iPhone the ability to access stored data is a big leap from where we were a short time ago.

If you would like to access your iCloud from your Windows PC download the link here.

OneDrive on iOS Just Got Upgraded

Microsoft keeps working to improve their cloud storage service, OneDrive. If you have not checked OneDrive out the time may be right, even if you are an iPhone user.

This is because yesterday Microsoft updated their OneDrive iOS app to support a more seamless method of integration with their Office iPad apps. The app will now instantly open Word, Excel or PowerPoint from within OneDrive (which was not happening) if you tap on an Office document provided of course if you have the Office iPad apps installed. Previously OneDrive would simply display the document (.doc, .xls, .ppt, etc) using the iOS’ preview, which unfortunately struggles to properly format the more complex Office documents. The feature can be turned off by going to the OneDrive settings and toggling the ‘Use Office Apps’ switch.

The OneDrive app’s Camera Roll upload feature was also improved to support background uploads, allowing the app to contine upload images when you switch to another app. The app update also included various bug fixes, most notably making uploads more reliable.

In other news that I did cover earlier this week, Microsoft also announced that they would soon boost the storage space for Office365 users to 1TB per person on a family plan and 1TB per subscription for those on personal or university plans. For those without a Office365 subscription, the free storage available also got a boost to 15 GB (up from 7 GB) and standalone OneDrive storage plans were also reduced.

Cloud storage cost is falling like a rock and Microsoft like Google is beginning to offer excellent cloud storage plans in order to bring consumers into the ecosystems.

Printing Office Documents From Your iPad

Microsoft’s recent inclusion of their Office line of products (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) on the iPad has certainly been a winner for Microsoft. However, a major bummer with the app was that you had to transfer the document after you were done editing or creating it to a PC in order to get the document printed. You simply could not print from the iPad.

However this is the new more open and responsive Microsoft. You can see that Microsoft has paid attention to this major complaint because it has already updated all the Office Apps with the ability to print documents directly from Word, Excel or Powerpoint on your iPad. It is important to remember that you still need to have Airprint (ready) Printer for this to work.

Word-print-options

You can select specific slides or pages you wish to print, and not just that, in Excel you can also print a set selection of cells making the feature a welcome addition to an already an productive application.

And that’s not all in this update! Microsoft has also added Auto Fit in Excel which allows you to adjust the width of rows and heights of columns to help you reshape the cell sizes based on the data requirements, giving your sheet a very professional look.

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