10 reasons why Apple is to blame for the decline of iPad sales

KGI

It has been a tough slough for Apple’s iPad since the height of its popularity in 2013. Facing its second straight year of negative growth, there isn’t a consensus on why iPad sales have declined. I believe the slump is attributable to a combination of factors.

Apple CEO Tim Cook called the declining iPad sales a “speed bump” last year before the launch of the 2014 models, but we haven’t seen what Apple plans to do to rejuvenate the product. From my point of view, Apple itself has done more to hurt iPad sales than any external factor, such as Microsoft or Google.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Here’s a full explanation of my theory…

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Opinion: Don’t hold your breath for real Nintendo games on your iPhone or iPad

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My feelings for Nintendo are complicated. I’ve loved its games ever since the original Donkey Kong, owned every Nintendo console (including the Virtual Boy), and recommended the Wii U as the best game console for families and kids. But if I was mildly displeased with Nintendo as a company during its haughtiest years — the time when most of its key third-party developers walked away — I’m downright angry with it today. At a press conference in Japan this morning, Nintendo announced its second collaboration with a mobile game publisher in two months, the headline from which was what millions of people have been waiting years to read:

“Nintendo to start making iPhone games, including first-party IP like Mario.”

Sure, the official Nintendo press release actually says “smart devices” including phones and tablets, but iPhones and iPads are a safe bet. The press release also says “gaming applications” rather than games, but a press release from Nintendo’s new mobile partner DeNA confirms that the companies will indeed produce mobile games together. Just think about it: Super Mario World on the iPad! Donkey Kong Country on the iPhone! That’s just what everyone has wanted! But there’s a catch…

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Microsoft plans to bring Siri competitor Cortana to iOS devices, with focus on predictive intelligence

cortana

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 …  Read more

Back to the Mac: Microsoft releases redesigned Office for Mac 2016 Preview w/ Retina support, collaboration, more

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. Read more

Microsoft’s OneNote for iPad app gets handwriting, and same OCR functionality as Mac app

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 …  Read more

Microsoft OneNote for Mac adds OCR for scanning & copying text from images, full search coming soon

OneNote

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:

Parallels Desktop 10 updated with support for Windows 10 and Microsoft Office previews

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: Read more

The iPhone and iPad reportedly captured 93% of mobile device profits in holiday quarter, 79% across 2014

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Apple reported the largest profit ever recorded by a public company in the holiday quarter, mostly driven by sales of 74 million iPhones with an average selling price of $687. According to Cannacord, this meant Apple captured 93% of handset smartphone profits. Perhaps more staggering is that it claims Apple dominated on similar levels across the entire of 2014 — with 79% of mobile device profits.

The analyst expects continued growth for the iPhone for the next few users, with an estimated 650 million iPhone users by the end of 2018.

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Microsoft buys Sunrise Calendar in acquisition deal worth over $100 million

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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Microsoft launches revamped Outlook mail app based on Acompli for iOS [Video]

Microsoft Acompli

Microsoft announced plans today to launch a new app for its Outlook email service on iOS. The app is based on the Acompli software that the company purchased in December for $200 million. The app includes “email triage” features found in the old app as well as new features to help appeal to a wider audience, such as the ability to toggle threaded conversation views.

The Outlook iOS app will also support mail from third-party services beyond Microsoft’s. iCloud, Gmail, and Yahoo email accounts can be plugged into the app, and attachments can be added to messages from cloud services like Google Drive and Dropox. Check out the video below …

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Apple shutting down legacy TestFlight next month following iTunes Connect integration

TestFlight iTunes Connect

Apple today began informing legacy TestFlight users that the services on TestFlightApp.com will no longer be available after February 26th, 2015. Apple bought the popular software testing distribution service through its acquisition of Burstly almost a year ago, and announced plans at WWDC 2014 to roll out its own version of the service in the future. Since then, Apple has integrated TestFlight beta testing for app developers with iTunes Connect. Read more