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.

Put an SSD in your pocket and you’ll sail through Boot Camp

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VisionTek's USB Pocket SSD gives you 120GB of super-fast storage. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac
VisionTek's USB Pocket SSD gives you 120GB of super-fast storage. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Need bags of speedy storage you can take with you anywhere you go? With VisionTek’s USB Pocket SSD, you get a bus-powered solid-state drive that’s small enough to fit in your palm, and fast enough for almost anything.

I’ve been using one as a Windows drive for my Mac for the past few months; let me tell you why it’s been great.

You can now play Minesweeper in Notification Center!

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Screenshot: Cult of Mac
If you want Minesweeper in your Notification Center, better grab it fast. Screenshot: Cult of Mac

Although it’s a Windows game, I’ve never met anyone without a sweet spot for Minesweeper, the addictive little puzzle game that Microsoft debuted in Windows 3.1. Sadly, though, it never came to the Mac.

But if you love a good game of Minesweeper, we’ve got some great news. You can now play it right within Notification Center. Better act on it soon, though: Apple has a tendency to pull interesting iOS 8 widgets like this one.

Cheap Chromebooks teach Apple a lesson: Price matters

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Apple and Google are very interested in taking over the U.S. education market from Microsoft, but when it comes to capturing marketshare, the Chromebook is teaching Apple an important lesson: Price matters.

For the first time ever, Google has passed Apple in the U.S. education market, according to IDC data obtained by The Financial Times, which shows Google’s Chromebook laptops are more popular now in the K-12 classrooms than the iPad.