But who, given the choice, would use the Modern Twitter app when the old, Desktop-style Tweetdeck is available? Who’d use Evernote Touch for Windows, when the Evernote app can be installed? The Touch version is really just a very crude viewer – it doesn’t allow you to choose which Notebooks to sync. I have a Symbian-era third party Evernote client that does that. The Modern eBay and Amazon apps belong in a different universe to their iPad counterparts. And lastly, there’s nothing as sophisticated as a fairly standard physics-based children's game, or music app, found in the iPad section of the iTunes Store.So, for all the discomfort that’s been inflicted on desktop Windows users, Microsoft needs to answer the question: has this been worth it? Is it time to reimagine Windows again, so that tablet and phone users get one experience, and PC Windows – if it has to do anything - simply provides a runtime for these phone and tablet apps?
Six months after launching the second generation of its Surface tablets, Microsoft says it is finally ready to begin shipping an accessory that it says can extend the battery life of the fondleslabs by as much as 70 per cent.The Surface Power Cover was announced during the Surface 2 launch but wasn't immediately available for sale, with Microsoft saying only that it would ship in early 2014. That time now appears to be here.The device is essentially a bulkier version of the original Type Cover – it's about 3mm thicker and weighs a tenth of a pound more – where the extra space under the keyboard is given over to an add-on battery that holds nearly as much juice as the Surface's built-in one.The cover works by charging the slab's internal battery, rather than taking over when it goes dead, so you can unplug the cover after a while without worrying about losing power, then reattach it when your tablet needs a top-up.Keyboard-wise, the Power Cover isn't much to write home about. It includes the same shallow keys and undersized trackpad as the original Type Cover, which are passable but suffer in comparison to dedicated laptop keyboards and trackpads. And unlike the more recent Type Cover 2, the Power Cover lacks lighted keys and only comes in black.
Microsoft's online store began accepting preorders for the Surface Power Cover from customers in the US and Canada on Monday, with a list price of $199.99. The devices are expected to ship beginning on March 19.High-flying fanbois will soon be able to use their iPhone, fondleslab or laptop to watch free video content on United Airlines flights.Apple and United have struck a deal which will allow users of iStuff – running iOS 7 – to watch 50 movies and almost 200 TV shows free of charge.However, fandroids shouldn't get any ideas just yet. On the webpage announcing the link-up, United Airlines are at pains to point out that Android mobile devices are not fully supported at this time.The new service will be available on most domestic (which means American) flights by the end of the year.All fanbois need to do is download the latest United app and get on the plane. Some content will be accessible through a browser, whilst other bits will require the app itself.
Microsoft will soon debut a new formulation of its Office 365 subscription service aimed at individual consumers, the company said on Thursday, and in the process it hinted that new, touch-centric Office apps may be coming soon.We recognize that there are households of all shapes and sizes and we're committed to delivering the right Office for everyone – whether that be one person or an entire household, Microsoft marketeer Chris Schneider said in a blog post.So far, Redmond's only consumer subscription offering has been Office 365 Home Premium, which launched last January. That version allows each subscriber to install the desktop Office application suite on up to five PCs or Macs and use Office Mobile on up to five mobile devices.
What about the tablet aspect? One idea is that users will no longer be tempted to travel with a separate tablet alongside their laptop. Maybe, but app availability remains a problem, as well as the complexity of a PC versus the pick-up-and-go appeal of an iPad or Android tablet. Further, despite its impressive lightness (800g without the keyboard, or just over 1kg with), the larger display can be awkward in places where an iPad is handy, such as when flying economy.Two cameras give you 5MP 1080p capture front and rear and are much better than earlier versions, making this a decent device for Skype calls or quick snaps when out and about, if swinging about with a 12-inch screen does not put you off. The speakers are noticeably better than on the Surface 2 range.A complication is performance throttling when the CPU is under heavy load; it is a balance between heat, power consumption and performance but means that a desktop i7 is better for heavy-duty processing.It is a shame that Microsoft could only squeeze a single USB 3.0 port onto Surface Pro 3.0. More ports requires a portable hub, or use of the optional dock accessory - 3 x USB 3.0 ports, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet and a Headset jack, for £164.99 inc ($199.99 in the US store).
Surface is Microsoft’s opportunity to show how smoothly Windows can run given Apple-like control of both hardware and software. Experience with earlier models has been disappointing in this respect, with problems like the keyboard becoming unresponsive, or the Wi-Fi driver crashing. The review unit has been generally good, though I have seen Word restart after a keyboard disconnect, and Internet Explorer go into a CPU-consuming spin for no apparent reason.Most of the time though, Surface Pro 3 has been fast and pleasant to use, with only the occasional hiss to remind you that the CPU has a fan.Should you get a Surface Pro 3? It does plenty of things right, with a lovely high-definition display (though I wish it were less glossy), fast performance, and remarkable lightness and portability. The keyboard is not as good as on most laptops, but it is good enough, and if you want to run full Windows everywhere Surface is an obvious choice, expensive but not out of line with most Ultrabooks – and remember, no crapware with this. Those who love pen input should look no further.The case against is that Surface Pro 3 is too expensive for the mass market, over-sized for a tablet, and the pen a nuisance made necessary by the unsuitability of Windows for touch.The original Surface was a brave but (so far) failed attempt to reinvent Windows for a new kind of computing. Surface Pro 3, by contrast, is a high-end laptop replacement for those who like or need to run Windows applications. The hardware is delightful, with just a few annoyances, but leaves open the question of just what Microsoft can do to counter competition from Apple and Android.
On Sunday, Linux Lord Linus Torvalds announced version 3.16 of the kernel is now good to go.Torvalds says “3.16 looked a bit iffy for a while” but “things cleared up nicely, and there was no reason to do extra release candidates like I feared just a couple of weeks ago.”You'll be excited by 3.16 if you're keen to run Linux on Samsung's Exynos or other ARM SoCs. Those keen on ARM CPUs as data centre alternatives to x86 will be pleased to note work to help Xen virtual machines suspend and resume. There's also a boot-from-firmware feature on ARM.Collectively, these three additions inch Linux towards being even more attractive and capable on ARM platforms, which will interest those keen on making the architecture a viable data centre alternative.Other inclusions offer more graphics and GPU support, a few tweaks to the XFS and Btrfs file systems and support for Dell's sensors that figure out a laptop is falling and try to limit the damage.So you've spent well over a grand on a new Macbook Pro. How do you fancy spending even more than that amount, all over again, to mod your laptop so it resembles a, er, Microsoft Surface?Judging by the the cult-like Apple worship practised by covens of fanbois and gurlz, we'd reckon that few people would take up the offer of turning their Macbook into an Apple-soft mutant.
But the optimistic bods behind a new project called ModBook beg to differ. They reckon people will spend up to $2,999 to turn their Macbook Pro into a Surface knock-off, allowing Apple aficionados to wrench off the screen and use it as a tablet.Naturally, there's a funding drive now running on Kickstarter. It may even be successful. So how do the ModBook bods over in Los Angeles propose to desecrate your shiny new Apple product?The Modbook Pro X, like its predecessors, strives to be a respectful citizen in the Mac OS X ecosystem, its creators wrote. Our hardware modifications are designed to preserve native functionality so as not to interfere with the base system's normal operations.Our experienced Mac developers create the software and hardware for the Modbook Pro X in tight adherence to all applicable Apple Mac Developer guidelines and Apple design guidelines for accessories and peripherals.
What this means is that you send ModBook a Macbook and they send it back as a two-piece device, with the high-resolution screen detachable from the keyboard.It also comes with a digitizer pen to allow direct on-screen scribbling. This device offers 2,048 pressure levels, pen tilt and rotate functionality and a digital eraser.A number of keyboard shortcuts have dedicated buttons on the back, allowing you to quickly navigate away from sensitive pages when a wife/boss/parent/sensitive member of the public walks past.On Kickstarter you can buy the mod at a cost of $2,299, which is reduced from the eventual price of $2,999. Or, if you can't face buying a Macbook and then defiling it, you can pledge up to $5,689 to get a high powered Apple laptop which comes pre-ruined, a sum which is $800 lower than the eventual fee of $6,588, which will get you a ModBook with 2.8GHz quad-core Intel i7 processor, Intel Iris Pro 5200 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M graphics, 16GB RAM and 512GB PCIe flash storage drive.
You can almost imagine them thinking of buyers with more money than sense.I mean, really, what does Jony Ive or his team know anyway? they might ask. Why would anyone with serious money trust one of the most respected design squads in the world, when they could just spend $6,000 and get a mashed-up Macbook from us?To register your interest in destroying that lovely Macbook of yours, pledge some cash at Kickstarter.With 34 days to go and $51,773 pledged out of a total goal of $150,000 (at the time this story was published), there are clearly people rich enough to do this.To them we say: go forth and spend. But lend us a tenner first, please, as we can tell you've got a few bob knocking about.