Microsoft leaks its brand new chat app for iPhone

Flow will work alongside Microsoft Outlook.
Flow will work alongside Microsoft Outlook.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Microsoft has inadvertently leaked plans to release a new chat app for iPhone called Flow, which will allow users to have “rapid email conversations.” The service will be a part of Outlook, but it will focus on quick communication with “no subject lines, salutations, or signatures.”

iPad comes under fire from Surface 3 running full Windows 8.1

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Photo: Microsoft
Photo: Microsoft

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.

Tablet market growth is shrinking, and iPad is the weakest link

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Will the iPad rebound in 2015? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Will the iPad rebound in 2015? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Tablet sales are on the decline, and the iPad is “the weakest leak,” according to the latest report from International Data Corporation.

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.

Awesome apps you might have missed this week

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Awesome Apps of the Week

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!

Meerkat

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.

Available on: iPhone

Price: Free

Download: App Store

Duplicates Expert

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)

Download: MacApp Store

Lastronaut

“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.

Available on: iPhone/iPad

Price: Free

Download: App Store

Breaking

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.

Available on: iPhone/iPad/Mac

Price: $2.99 for iOS, $4.99 for Mac

Download: iOS App Store, Mac App Store

Momentum

Momentum is a new todo app that’s designed to help you achieve goals and track your goals. It’s more of a long-term experience than checking items off a list each day.

The Today widget showcases the app’s unique interface, which is designed to show you trends and how close you are to reaching your targets.

Available on: iPhone

Price: Free

Download: App Store

Imgur

Imgur’s new iPhone app is a great way to browse its never-ending trove of silly GIFs and photo collections.

Photos are presented in swipe-able cards organized by what’s the most viral any given day, and you browse randomly or by new submissions too.

Available on: iPhone

Price: Free

Download: App Store

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Wiper

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.

Available on: iPhone/iPad

Price: Free

Download: App Store

Office 2016

Microsoft released Office 2016 as a free beta this week, and it’s actually not bad.

The suite’s first major update on the Mac in five years brings the infamous ribbon menu, improved Retina graphics, OneDrive integration, and new features for Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

Available on: Mac

Price: Free (while the beta lasts)

Download: Microsoft