Thurrott Daily: October 24

Posted on October 24, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Mobile with 34 Comments

Tech tidbits from around the web.

10/24/2016 11:56:17 AM

Microsoft fires back, tepidly, at Bill Belichick

When Patriots coach condemned Microsoft’s unreliable Surface tablets recently, I figured the software giant would make like the Seattle Seahawks and just lose the big game. Nope: They’re fighting back. With a blog post.

Every week nearly 2,000 Surface devices are deployed at 34 stadiums, and used extensively at over 330 NFL games each year.

We know change can be hard and technology adoption typically has a growth curve. We’re excited to be working with some of the best IT professionals in the industry at the NFL to help with the transition.

Amidst the chaos, each week a team of NFL IT staff rolls out the equipment – sets it up to each team’s specifications; connects network and communications; tests the systems; simulates games between the test cameras and the video directors to test the systems end-to-end; recharges devices; ensures appropriate protection from all sorts of extreme weather conditions; and helps the coaches and players get familiar with the set-up.

It’s an ever-changing, fast-paced technical environment – truly one of the toughest IT jobs on one of the world’s biggest stages, with hundreds of millions of viewers watching. We applaud these hard-working technical experts and appreciate their great partnership.

My mistake. That wasn’t much of a rebuttal, actually. And while the words “Bill,” “Belichick,” and “Patriots” never appear in that post, the controversy is alluded to up front. This is about saving face and damage control. Which would be a lot easier if Surface didn’t have a legacy of unreliability.

Skype no longer works on 85 per cent of Windows Phones

This is rather incredible. MSPowerUser reports.

If you’re a Skype user on a Windows phone (8.x or older), Microsoft no longer supports your device as of this month. Users who activate Windows phone 8.1 devices, or suddenly seek to download Skype from the Store (as few as those may be) – would be surprised to see that Skype is no longer accessible for their devices. You may still be able to download the app via a direct link or installing the appx directly, but it will stop working in a matter of months in any case.

Microsoft lists Skype as being compatible with Windows 10 Mobile, [but] this is a half-truth. Skype officially only supports Windows 10 Mobile 1607, aka the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Now, while 14% (13.7% at last count) of Windows phones are running Windows 10 Mobile, 9.5% of these devices still run Windows 10 Mobile 1511.

So that is a struggle to read, I know, but the basic gist is that Microsoft is killing support for Skype on older Windows phone versions. Which, as the post points out, is most Windows phones.

Microsoft’s Surface PC event: what to expect

I can’t stress this enough. This week’s Microsoft event is about Windows 10, not Surface, and while a Surface AIO is expected to make a showing, that is not the focus. Anyway, Tom keeps doing what Tom does:

Microsoft’s big focus with this event is Windows 10 … This year’s show is expected to include less hardware, with more of a theme around 3D and creativity.

Ah. So it was just a clickbait headline then.

Note: Now it appears that the Surface AIO will be called Surface Studio. Which makes sense: The Studio name previously leaked.

“Microsoft Surface Pro 5, Surface Book 2 release date, specs rumors: Oct. 26 launch likely for both Surface devices”

Nope. Still nope.

What to expect from this week’s Mac event

As you may have heard, Apple is also holding a press event this week, and has been rumored, it will focus on the Mac. But according to a research note by KGI, the focus has been fine-tuned even further. And now it will just be about Mac laptops. 9to5Mac explains:

The report says that Apple will launch three new MacBooks at the event, a new 13 inch MacBook, a new 13 inch MacBook Pro and a new 15 inch MacBook Pro.

The new Retina MacBook Pro, expected to include Touch ID, an OLED function row above the keyboard and new internals, will be debuting in both 13 inch and 15 inch screen sizes.

New iMacs and the Apple external display will not be shipping this year; those should be expected in the first half of 2017.

I can’t say that I’m too excited by this, but Apple’s Macs are all woefully out of date. This is long overdue.

“Pixel vs. Nexus 5X: Which smaller Google phone is best for you?”

The one that is still being sold?

 

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