Microsoft’s early attempts to the tablet crown from Apple hasn’t really gone according to plan. All the Surfaces from the original to the Pro 2 were flops, but Microsoft seems to have hit its stride with the Surface Pro 3. Now it’s ready to take on the iPad with an even cheaper tablet.
Today, Microsoft unveiled its thinnest and lightest tablet ever, the Surface 3. At 1.37 pounds it’s just a little bit heavier than the iPad Air 2, but boasts a bigger screen and price tag that starts at $499.
The organization has scaled back its five-year forecast for tablets, expecting market growth to come to a near standstill. With 234.5 million units expected to be sold in 2015, the tablet market will only gain a modest 2.1 percent year-over-year.
It’s the weekend, and Cult of Mac is here to bring you a roundup of all the app awesomeness you might have missed from the last week.
There’s a hot new video streaming app called Meerkat that’s taking the tech world by storm, a fun new game that’s totally free, a widget-based app to keep you on top of the news, the Microsoft Office 2016 beta preview, and more.
Without further ado, here are this week’s awesome apps!
The hottest app of the week in tech was Meerkat, a live video streaming service. It’s the talk of the town in Silicon Valley, but it hasn’t really caught on in the mainstream yet.
The idea is simple: you can start a live stream from your iPhone, and by linking with your Twitter account, automatically tweet a link for people to come watch. You can then chat with viewers directly in the app while streaming. Following people in the app means you get a push notification whenever they’re sharing video.
This entry is brought to you by Nektony, maker of Duplicates Expert.
Most Mac users' hard drives are clogged with space-wasting duplicate files. You accidentally create dupes when you copy a folder to a new destination without removing the original folder, download the same file twice, or back up your hard drive, among other ways.
Now you can find all those unneeded files with Duplicates Expert, the advanced duplicate finder. The Mac app scans your hard drive and any external drives, then provides a simple yet informative report about duplicate files and folders. It even flags similar items for inspection.
After scanning your drives, Duplicates Expert provides a visual report showing how much space each duplicate takes up, with the largest ones listed first. Then the app provides you with useful cleanup recommendations for fast, easy removal.
Duplicates Expert is loaded with great features that could speed up and simplify your Mac's performance: You'll find skip lists for files, folders and extensions; always/never select preferences; customizable scanning size options; and many more. It's the most powerful duplicate files finder around.
Available on: Mac OS X 10.9 and higher
Price: On sale for $1.99 for a limited time (usual price is $4.99)
“The year is 2015: Mankind has created it's first sentient machine: a humanoid robot. If we only knew what would happen next, we probably could have saved ourselves. Now, we’re abandoning the only planet we’ve ever known.”
That’s the story behind Lastronaut, the latest endless runner worth playing. With its delightful retro design and soundtrack, it feels like a throwback to the kinds of games you grew up on.
Best of all: it costs nothing. No ads or in-app purchases. Its creators wanted it to be “love-letter” to the gaming industry. You can read the great story behind the pricing decision on Medium.
The latest app from the fine folks at Robocat is Breaking, a slightly different take on RSS.
You can add news sources by name (Cult of Mac, for example) and have the site’s last few posts displayed in a Notification Center widget. Simple. And if it sounds like something you could use, convenient.
It's Wiper - your basic messenger between two people - text, videos and pictures - as well as HD voice calling. At any time, either party can hit the wipe button - totally wiping it from their screen, the other user's screen and wiper's servers. Permanently. There's no queue - it's done instantly.
They just integrated Bitcoin directly into Wiper to take Bitcoin mainstream. Each Wiper account now comes with a Bitcoin wallet. Essentially once you fill your wallet (you can do so from Coinbase) it's as easy as Venmo or Squarecash, but with Bitcoin.
A scammer pretending to be a Microsoft employee threatened to murder someone who didn’t believe his credentials. Photo: WMKY
Apple’s customer service is tops. Go into any Apple Store, and a Genius will be happy to assist you with even the most trivial of technical support problems.
I bet the guy on the other end of a call from an alleged Microsoft tech support guru wished he was talking to an Apple Genius instead. The “support” guy turned out to be a scammer, and when the victim called him out on it, the fake Microsoft agent actually threatened to murder him.
This just keeps getting higher and higher. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
The Nasdaq has been flirting with busting past the 5000 mark for days now, but investors are blaming one stock on holding it back: AAPL.
Apple shares have ballooned to their highest value ever over the past month. After weeks of growth, the stock’s performance has been flattish the last few days, which is a big problem for Wall Street because Apple now accounts for 10% of the Nasdaq’s index value.
Anyone wanting to see what productivity tools would look like on an iPad with stylus need look no further than Microsoft’s updated OneNote iOS app.
Having just updated its OneNote app for Mac, the iPad app adds OCR scanning of text within images, alongside the neat ability to add handwritten notes — either using your finger or, better still, a third-party stylus. While this feature has previously been available for the Windows and Android versions of the OneNote app, this is the first time iPad users can get in on the fun.
Microsoft’s Outlook remix is now available on iOS and Android. Photo: Microsoft
Back in December, we noted that Microsoft had acquired the popular iOS and Android email app Acompli, which offered a more task-oriented approach to email, with the ability to schedule meetings, edit your calendar, and in your most important emails to the top of the page.
Just under two months on, and Microsoft is launching a cross-platform version of Outlook for the first time ever — incorporating pretty much all the tools previously found in Acompli.
And don’t worry: if you’re not a user of Microsoft’s email services, Outlook also supports Yahoo, iCloud and Gmail accounts.
Apple acquired TestFlight maker Burtsly last year and quickly added it to iOS in an effort to improve the iOS beta testing experience for both developers and testers. Now Apple plans to close the independent site TestFlightapp.com to Android users and everyone else, forcing iPhone and iPad owners to only test apps through the official TestFlight iOS app.