May 26


Reuters reported back in March that Microsoft planned to bring its Siri competitor Cortana to iOS, and Microsoft has now officially confirmed this in a blog post.

Today, we’re announcing a Cortana application for Android phones and for iPhones which works as a companion to Cortana on your Windows 10 PC. The ‘Phone Companion’ app on the PC will help you install the Cortana app from the Google Play or Apple App Store onto your phone so you’ll be able to take the intelligence of Cortana with you, wherever you go […]

The Cortana companion will be available for Android phones at the end of June and for iPhones later this year.

While Microsoft is pitching the app as a companion to a Windows PC, it appears that most of the functionality will work in the iPhone app without the need for a Windows device, Microsoft saying that you can “make the same queries, ask the same questions” in the standalone app …  expand full story

May 20


Microsoft appears to be working on a new instant messaging app for the iPhone, acting as a kind of cross between email and instant messaging, known as Flow by Outlook. The download page, which describes the project as ‘Microsoft Confidential,’ was first spotted by @h0x0d (via ZDNet).

Use Flow with anyone, it’s email: Reach anyone with an email address and all conversations for you and others are also in Outlook. Together, you can use Flow and Outlook interchangeably to participate in the same conversations.

Fast, fluid, natural conversations: No subject lines, salutations, or signatures. Flow is designed for fast, light-weight conversations in real time.

Focus on what’s important: Only conversations started in Flow and their replies show up in Flow, not your whole inbox. Focus on your most important person-to-person conversations without the noise.

While the webpage describing the app is unprotected, the actual download link requires a login…
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April 29

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 12.35.34 PM

Microsoft announced today during its Build conference that it will release a tool for developers to port their iOS apps directly to Windows 10 as “universal apps” that run on both phones and desktop computers. Developers will be able to feed their existing Objective-C code into a new software package and have it converted to work on the upcoming PC operating system.

At least, that’s how Microsoft is pitching it, though the whole process is a bit more complex. Essentially Windows 10 will ship with APIs that mirror the expected behavior of many iOS APIs, and this new conversion tool will help developers swap out iOS code for matching Windows code.

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April 21

As we near the April 24th launch for the Apple Watch, a pair of notable apps have received support for the device this evening. First off, Microsoft’s OneNote app has been updated to version 2.11.7 with support for the Apple Watch. A variety of features will be available from the Watch, including the ability to dictate new notes.

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April 16

April 15

Microsoft has updated its preview version of Office 2016 for Mac with several new features and a number of bug fixes. It has also launched two companion apps for the iPhone, Office Delve (above) and Office 365 Video.

Office 2016 for Mac allows meeting attendees to use Outlook to propose new times for meetings to which they’ve been invited, and allows organizers to modify proposed meetings and send updates. Word gets macro recording, online template search and new proofing tools. Excel is given new analysis tools and a “solver” feature. Powerpoint gets bug fixes and better support for VoiceOver …  expand full story

April 2

Microsoft is bringing its OneNote scanner app called Office Lens to the iPhone after first launching on Windows Phone a year ago. Office Lens is similar to other on-the-go scanner apps letting you use your iPhone camera to capture information from receipts, documents, and other information around you. Office Lens is different, however, because it’s connected directly with OneNote, Microsoft’s cloud-syncing notebook service.

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March 31

Microsoft shifted its focus when it introduced the Surface Pro 3 last year to target both the iPad and the MacBook, but today the company announced a more consumer level iPad-like version of its tablet simply called the Surface 3 with the same $499 starting price as the iPad Air 2.

Google also unveiled a collection of new competitively priced hardware including new Chromebooks and a Chromebit HDMI running Chrome OS for under $100 … expand full story

March 13


Microsoft is planning on making the next generation of its Siri competitor, Cortana, available on iOS and Android devices sometime after the fall, reports Reuters. The focus, says the company, will be on an intelligent assistant that predicts the help you need, rather than simply responding to user requests.

Cortana could tell a mobile phone user when to leave for the airport, days after it read an email and realized the user was planning a flight. It would automatically check flight status, determine where the phone is located using GPS, and checking traffic conditions.

Google has majored on this kind of proactive approach through its Google Now service, which aims to work out what you will want to know when, and Apple began implementing similar functionality into the Today view in Notification Center in iOS 7, but Microsoft believes that integrating everything into the digital assistant is the future …  expand full story

March 6

March 5

PowerPoint 2016

Before today, the latest versions of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel for OS X came with Office for Mac 2011, a suite of productivity apps which you can tell from the name included dated software without many modern features Mac users expect. Office for Mac 2011 was actually first released in October 2010. A lot has changed since then.

Microsoft moved Office from a paid upgrade approach to a cloud subscription model, saw its CEO Steve Ballmer retire and buy a basketball team, appointed Satya Nadella as head of the company, and even released Office for iPad and iPhone.

For the Mac, though, the most capable versions of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel have only been available as Web apps—not native—until now. As promised, Microsoft is today releasing the public beta of Office for Mac 2016 including all new versions of the company’s go-to productivity apps. expand full story

March 2

February 24

February 19

A day after Microsoft updated its OneNote for Mac app, adding OCR scanning of text within images, it has today updated its iPad app. OneNote for iPad gets the same OCR functionality, along with the ability to add handwritten notes–a feature previously available only on the Windows and Android versions of the tablet app.

As many of you have pointed out, one major feature that has been missing from OneNote for iPad is handwriting. With today’s update, you can pen notes. To get started, just tap the new Draw tab on the ribbon. Select a pen, marker, or highlighter and write, sketch or doodle until your heart’s content.

Handwritten notes can be made using either an iPad-compatible stylus or your finger, with customizable ink color and pen thickness …  expand full story

February 18

OneNote, Microsoft’s cross-platform application for taking and organizing notes, received a useful update on the Mac adding support for OCR, or optical character recognition. OneNote version 15.7.1, which is rolling out on the Mac App Store now, adds the ability to scan images from OneDrive notebooks for text.

Once OneNote’s OCR system has ran, you can actually copy the text and save it to your notes just like if it were a editable text file from the start. Searching images for text is currently possible for new images added to OneDrive notebooks, but a future version will make text search possible on existing images as well.

The update also includes the ability to toggle viewing authors and closing the window without quitting the app. Microsoft also added support for iCloud Drive on its iOS versions of Office yesterday. Full release notes below:

February 17

February 10

Windows 10 Tech Preview in Parallels Desktop 10 on Mac OS X Yosemite

Parallels announced this evening that its virtual machine software Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac has been updated with “experimental” support for the technical preview of Windows 10 from Microsoft. Users who want to take the latest version of Windows for a test run without overwriting their existing Boot Camp installation or creating a new partition can now do so safely and free within the confines of a VM.

The update also adds the ability to run the new preview version of Office for Windows 10, which includes updated versions of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Microsoft announced earlier this year that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for one year for any users running Windows 7 or later.

Parallels Desktop 10 is available from the Parallels website for $79.99. Special pricing is available for students and users running previous versions of Parallels and a free trial is available here. Press release follows: expand full story

February 4

Microsoft has acquired the Sunrise calendar application in a deal worth over $100 million, a report revealed today. The buyout may be the next step in the company’s plans to revamp its mobile offerings, which started with the release of the new Outlook email app—also based on acquired software—last month.

Like Acompli, Sunrise works with a variety of services, not just Microsoft’s. Those services include Google’s calendar service, iCloud calendars, and, of course, Exchange. It also had built-in support for reminders that sync along with the calendars.

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