Saturday, June 25, 2016

Microsoft finally unified their login screen

Towards the end of 2012, Microsoft revealed that MSN will be merged into Skype. And like a lot of people, I had an MSN messenger account, it was all the craze back then and it was very much the Facebook of that time. As nostalgic as it sounds, it has been three years since MSN messenger was retired but only up to recently has Microsoft solved one of the biggest gripes that I have had with the merging of MSN into Skype.

One of the issues I had with the merge is that it screwed up my Skype (and Hotmail) contact list as there were duplicates everywhere and people who didn't yet moved to Skype had a greyed out icon. I have yet to find the time to sort out my contacts but today I will be talking about something that Microsoft has fixed. It has been a long way but Microsoft has finally fixed their login screen. Well, you might be asking. Is Microsoft's login screen even broken?

To a certain extent yes, but my definition of broken here isn't implying that the login screen is not working. I am referring to the functionality of it. Prior to this, Microsoft's login screen came in all forms which made the experience inconsistent. Given that Microsoft services now span a wide range of devices, this new login screen is as key part of the experience. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Is there home for an app store on the desktop?

Do you have a million apps?

Google recently hit a major milestone with their Play Store by hitting 2 million published applications and Apple also announced during WWDC that the App Store has also reached 2 million apps. Despite reaching that number, Google and Apple didn't make much out of it compared to when they hit 1 million applications. My story today has something to do with applications and the windows store. This is not another one of my debates about defending the app gap, it's about something else.

A while back when I was revising my position for the Surface Pro 4 review, I was considering to do a follow up review about using the device as a tablet. But eventually, I decided to scrape the idea mainly because I couldn't find much to talk about using Windows 10 as a tablet without inserting too much of 'filler topics'. During my Surface Pro 4 review, I did talk a little bit about using it as a tablet but I didn't actually explain why I rarely use the Surface as a tablet.

Which leads me to today's discussion about applications on an app store on a desktop computer (or laptop). Currently, I have quite a number of Windows Store applications installed on my Surface Pro 4 but I rarely open them and I think I know why.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Four takeways from Apple's WWDC 2016 keynote

new software

For once, Apple is didn't talk about the big numbers like the adoption rate of iOS or how mac is compared to the competition, they only talked about the App Store hitting 2 million application and that's it.

This year's WWDC keynote ended up being a little dry because Apple didn't show any new hardware at all. That was well expected because previous reports have indicated that Apple has chosen to do so. No new MacBooks and no new Apple Watches, it's just a lot of new software. But even without the hardware, the keynote itself wasn’t overly boring. It was in the middle in terms of Apple keynotes and I was actually quite impressed with some of the things that they showed off in upcoming versions of Apple software. 
You could easily argue that most of the things that Apple announced were merely just things that competitors have already done in the past. But, this is Apple after all and the features that they (allegedly) borrowed over from others companies did transition into a better product overall. As always, Apple made things look extra special with their presentation style and some of the new features are actually cool.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Apple's favourite country has got to be China

Apple keynotes usually focus on things in the United States with subtle hints of other countries from time to time but during the WWDC 2016 keynote this morning, Apple made a big statement. China is an important market to Apple and they are embracing their presence. It seems that last year's first-wave launch of the iPhone 6S in China was just the start. 

At this point, is not secret that Apple has a thing for China. They have more Apple Stores in China than any other region outside the US. Not only that, Chinese people also love the iPhone hence there are so many Chinese phones out there that try to mimic the look of iOS. But my point here is that Apple has never done such a thing before and this keynote makes is clear that Apple is ready to take on the Chinese market with full force. 
The Apple Store experience in China and Hong Kong"there's something pretty marvelous about the Shenzhen Apple Store in particular compared to the other three Apple Stores in Hong Kong and that is there are actually a couple of table and chairs outside the store themselves and the free Wi-Fi actually works from those seats." Continue reading.
During the keynote Apple VPs like Craig not only mentioned the word China a couple dozen times but they also added quite a number of things that viewers in China might be interested in. Things like mentioning that Siri is integrated with WeChat (which is the primary messaging app in China), randomly sliding in popular location app in China called Dianping, quoting Alipay (the main mobile payment service in China) support with Apple Pay or even mentioning Dim Sum.