Microsoft Brings Word, PowerPoint And Excel To iPad

Microsoft Brings Word, PowerPoint And Excel To iPad

Cult of Mac:

Each Office app features a slimmed down version of the dreaded ribbon interface, but it seems like Microsoft has prioritized editing tools to make the workflow easier on the iPad. “I want to do my best work on Windows and I want to do my best work on iPad and I want all of that to accrue to Office,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to Re/code. “It’s really about being able to go where the opportunity is. If we can serve customers who expect our Office 365 everywhere … we will do well.”

It seems new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is admitting that he needs to embrace the iPad and stop fighting against it for Microsoft’s benefit. The Surface – Microsoft’s tablet-come-laptop is never going to outsell the iPad so concentrate on Microsoft’s strengths and get your software on Apple’s devices Nadella- everybody wins.

Review: Shine App (CV & Resume)

20140320-155921.jpg

Shine is fantastic CV/resume creation app which can make your CV/resume look polished, professional and perfect. You don’t have to worry about designing the look – the app has amazing templates to care of that, you just need to enter your information and the app takes care of the rest.

When you are hunting for a new career direction or just managing your own personal files, your CV/resume is probably sitting on your computer somewhere as a Microsoft Word document and maybe has not been updated in a while. If you are not particularly confident on a computer, perhaps your CV/resume is pretty basic to look at as well with just your recent work history, interests and references.

Shine changes all this. The way the app works is that you enter all the information that the app requires, then the app will take that information and apply it to a several different templates to choose from. You can even use a different template each time you want to print or share your document – without editing any of your text that you previously keyed in.

20140320-155441.jpg

The notes state:

Email and print high resolution print-ready PDFs and images right from your iPad.

– Create beautiful info graphic CVs or resumes. No design experience required
– Pick from professionally designed layouts and enter your own information
– Change your chosen design and preview your CV or resume at any time
– Easily update your information and tailer for different jobs
– Email, share and print high resolution copies from your iPad
– High Resolution PDFs are fully text searchable

It’s one of those apps that will stay on my iPad tucked away in a folder with my CV/Resume all ready to be shared if needed and best of all it will look miles better than the version knocked up in Microsoft Word..

20140320-155531.jpg

The app is $4.99 and you can download it here.

Review: Brushstroke App

20140314-144144.jpg

Brushstroke is a fantastic app that the iPhone and iPad has been waiting for. Essentially, you take any photo that is in your camera roll and with just a few taps, you can apply different filters over them to create a brushstroke type effect which makes your photos look like they were painted.

Once you have applied a filter, you can share the photo to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc or save back into your camera roll to add to your own collection.

20140314-151556.jpg

The best feature is that the developers have teamed up with Canvaspop so that you can have the photo professionally printed onto canvas and shipped to your door. You can pick the frame and size that you wish, to ensure that whatever photo you choose it will look like a professional artist has painstakingly crafted the picture just for you to adorn in your home.

The app itself has a minimalist design with easy to navigate buttons that help you through the process. You can in theory, access the app, select a photo and within half a dozen taps, you are done – magical stuff.

It’s so simple to use and is a perfect advert for a use case for the iPhone and iPad. The app is £1.99 and you can download it here.

Review: Find my Friends App

20140312-143209.jpg

Find my Friends is a fantastic little app made by Apple although you have to download it from the App Store as it’s not built into the operating system.

The purpose of the app is that you can subscribe to and share your GPS position to your friends and family, so that every time you access the app, you can see at a glance where all your friends and family are on a map, anywhere in the world which can be super useful.

For people who are not familiar with this app, there are going to be a percentage of users who will be immediately turned off by their pre-misconceptions of user privacy or ‘I don’t want everyone to know where I am!’ – Apple is not Google – There is a strict 2-way authentication service in place that will prompt you to allow your location to be shared with the person who has requested it. This works the other way for when you send an ‘invite’ to a friend or family member who has the app installed on their iPhone or iPad, they will also be prompted to allow you to see their location data. You only have to do this once and you can turn off or revoke the access at any time. As Apple states “With Find My Friends, you can choose when you want to be located, by whom and for how long. It’s all up to you.”

You can even set up alerts so that the app will notify you with a push notification when your chosen person arrives or leaves a particular destination – this is particularly helpful if you are expecting a family member home soon or are wishing to contact someone as soon as they leave that particular place. When you tap on ‘Notify’ you can even expand the radius of the geo-fence in case it alerts you too soon of the person’s apparent exit.

Since iOS 7 was introduced, the app has been changed from it’s early version so that now, it is much more user friendly and simpler to use. Siri also integrates with the app so you can tell Siri “Where’s ……” and Siri will source the information from the app in the background and let you know it’s findings.

Quick tip: If you add a passcode to your iPhone or iPad, then the app won’t ask for your password each time you access it.

It would be great if a future version of the app added the ability to have repeating alerts so you didn’t have to manually set an alert each time.

Find my friends is fantastic app from Apple that is super useful for parents and loved ones and is a great companion app to Find my iPhone which the idea clearly came from.

The app is free and you can download it here.

iOS 7.1 makes British Siri more human, and female!

iOS 7.1 makes British Siri more human, and female!

Richard Devine:

iOS 7.1 brought many things for many people, but for us British folks Siri got a noticeable update. Until now, we’ve been given only one choice for how Siri sounds over here; the robotic sounding male. With iOS 7.1 a few regions, the UK included, got improvements to the quality of the voice feedback. Oh, and we also got a female voice for the first time ever!

It seems like a small thing, but the changes have made interacting with Siri should you be using UK English as your language more enjoyable. And I don’t know, but I’ve always thought of Siri as a more female entity anyway, so it’s good we get that choice now as well!

Agreed. I’ve always thought of Siri as a female entity ever since her introduction in the U.S. I will be testing Siri in the next couple of weeks to see if the service is more reliable now that there has been an update. Head over into Settings on your iPhone or iPad and try the new voice for Siri..

Watch the iTunes Festival from SXSW

Watch the iTunes Festival from SXSW

iMore:

Apple has had an iPhone and iPad app for the iTunes Festival in London and the SXSW edition is no exception. Recently updated, the official app is the best way to keep up with all things iTunes Festival related wherever you are. It’ll show a countdown to when each days headline acts take the stage, but you’ll also see local timings for when everyone else starts their slots.

It’s available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and requires iOS 7.

This is an underated service from Apple. Everyone loves music, so tune in at anytime to stream or play the latest live performances from the top artists who are perfoming this month. Download the app for iPhone or iPad here or watch via your Apple TV.

Apple releases iOS 7.1 with multiple improvements

Apple releases iOS 7.1 with multiple improvements

MacUser:

FaceTime call notifications are now synced via iCloud, so that they are automatically wiped on all devices when you answer a call, and the iPhone 5s’ camera can now be set to take HDR photographs automatically. There are also new ‘more natural sounding male and female voices’ for Siri in various languages, including UK English. And in Calendar, Events are now displayed in Month view.

There is a noticable speed increase as well when jumping in and out of applications, random crashes have apparently been fixed and subtle changes have been made to the user interface. A worthy update and as others have commented, 6 months overdue.

On your iPhone and or iPad, go to Settings, General, Software Update to commence the update if it hasn’t already prompted you to.

Best Read it Later Service

The Top Contenders:

Safari Reading List
Instapaper
Pocket

When it comes to reading articles on the web, certain factors immediately apply such as what type of device you are using, what browser is being used and whether you have time to read and take in the particular article at that current time.

A typical person will use their smartphone or mobile computer to read news headlines and will speed read through links on websites because they are on the go and it might not be convenient to read a whole article or page at that particular time. For this situation, there are services and apps available that allow you to ‘save’ any webpage or article to read it later.

The benefits of using a service such as these, especially when you are using the particular service in question’s app, are that it will essentially save a copy of the original article you were viewing in your browser or the app you were using for later, so you can catch up with all your saved articles at a time when it’s perhaps more convenient to read them.

There is also the benefit of when you do come to use one of these services or apps to view the saved articles, it will display the article in a more easy-on-the-eye font which you can also customize if you prefer. The majority of these services have other benefits as well such as ‘offline’ viewing – the article is saved whilst your device has a connection so that you don’t need to be ‘online’ to read the article. There are also ‘Pro’ uses which I will come on to shortly such as automatically sharing the article with other services and apps.

There are multiple services that offer a read it later facility but I am going to touch on what I feel are the strongest three services.

Safari Reading List

Safari’s Reading List is built into the browser on Mac and iOS and therefore Apple make it super easy for you send any web page you have open automatically saved within Safari for later viewing or ‘offline’ viewing. Access to this service is via the bookmarks icon in the Mac version or within the bookmarks menus on iOS.

Once a webpage is within Reading List, clicking or tapping on a page to view it is easy enough with the option of ‘Reader’ in the address bar available to format the web page to remove most of the html and ads which results in a more pleasing reading experience.

My issue with Safari Reading List is down to one thing – notifications. In as far as they aren’t any. When I was using the service a few months back, I felt I needed to be reminded that I had saved articles to read to refer back to and with Safari not displaying badges, I simply forgot that I had them.

‘Add to Reading List’ is also baked into most 3rd party apps, so getting your articles into there is well supported by developers. The support is great, it works well, it’s reliable but the lack of notifications keeps me from using it as my preferred service.

Instapaper:

Originally developed by Marco Arment, Instapaper is perhaps the oldest and best known of all the read it later services due to its fast, reliable and and concise design. Instapaper also benefitted by it’s universal adoption by many twitter services, websites, social networks and news feeds so it became very popular and although Marco sold on the service last year, it remains a powerhouse in it’s field.

If you are using a browser on a desktop PC or Mac or laptop, there is an Instapaper extension available for the most popular browsers like Safari and Chrome which can add a small button near the address bar which with one click, can add the currently open page – straight to your Instapaper account. On iOS there is a universal app for the iPhone and the iPad which you can use to catch with up with all your saved articles. Instapaper has a nice back-end feature that you can setup so that it will automatically share saved articles to various services like Twitter, Evernote, Pinboard etc. Frasier Spiers has a terrific workflow for saving web articles via Instapaper into Evernote.

The iOS Instapaper app currently has a couple of limitations that stop me from using it as my preferred read it later service. The first one is that it doesn’t quite take advantage of the new background updating feature of iOS 7 which means that it won’t automatically download the articles in the background. Instead it uses background location updating which ironically was one of the pioneering features in an earlier iOS version release which only updates and downloads articles once you have reached a certain GPS-enabled location like at home or at work.

Another useful feature that I like to have in the app is to maintain a constant badge icon to show how many articles you have unread in your Instapaper account. The app will show the badge briefly, but once you exit the app the badge notification disappears. I like to know at a glance exactly how many articles I have queued up or unread in my read it later service and unfortunately these 2 issues let the app down and stops me from using the app.

Pocket

Pocket for me ticks all the boxes I require.

It’s a popular service and I can see why. 3rd party support is again well supported by developers so most Twitter apps and news apps can ‘Add/Send to Pocket’.

The Pocket app on iOS really is fantastic. It’s fast, smooth and easy to navigate and manage with a great choice of fonts to use as your default reading experience. You can tick or swipe to mark saved articles as read which of course can update your Pocket account and sync read and unread articles across your devices.

Notifications are the killer feature for me. Fully supporting iOS 7’s background updating API, I am in love with the number of saved articles badge over the app icon on the iPhone and iPad. I can see at a glance how many I need to catch up on which of course is a great reminder. I can be in twitter, see a link that I want to research or read later, hit ‘Send to Pocket’ and by the time I have exited the Twitter app and gone back to the home screen, the badge as been updated on the Pocket app to reflect the change. My only wish is for a Mac app rather than having to access the site via Safari but considering I mostly use my iOS devices, there is no great need.

Pocket is a fantastic app with the notification badge being the killer and stand out feature. You can download it for free here.

Best Read it Later Service

The Top Contenders:

Safari Reading List
Instapaper
Pocket

When it comes to reading articles on the web, certain factors immediately apply such as what type of device you are using, what browser is being used and whether you have time to read and take in the particular article at that current time.

A typical person will use their smartphone or mobile computer to read news headlines and will speed read through links on websites because they are on the go and it might not be convenient to read a whole article or page at that particular time. For this situation, there are services and apps available that allow you to ‘save’ any webpage or article to read it later.

The benefits of using a service such as these, especially when you are using the particular service in question’s app, are that it will essentially save a copy of the original article you were viewing in your browser or the app you were using for later, so you can catch up with all your saved articles at a time when it’s perhaps more convenient to read them.

There is also the benefit of when you do come to use one of these services or apps to view the saved articles, it will display the article in a more easy-on-the-eye font which you can also customize if you prefer. The majority of these services have other benefits as well such as ‘offline’ viewing – the article is saved whilst your device has a connection so that you don’t need to be ‘online’ to read the article. There are also ‘Pro’ uses which I will come on to shortly such as automatically sharing the article with other services and apps.

There are multiple services that offer a read it later facility but I am going to touch on what I feel are the strongest three services.

Safari Reading List

Safari’s Reading List is built into the browser on Mac and iOS and therefore Apple make it super easy for you send any web page you have open automatically saved within Safari for later viewing or ‘offline’ viewing. Access to this service is via the bookmarks icon in the Mac version or within the bookmarks menus on iOS.

Once a webpage is within Reading List, clicking or tapping on a page to view it is easy enough with the option of ‘Reader’ in the address bar available to format the web page to remove most of the html and ads which results in a more pleasing reading experience.

My issue with Safari Reading List is down to one thing – notifications. In as far as they aren’t any. When I was using the service a few months back, I felt I needed to be reminded that I had saved articles to read to refer back to and with Safari not displaying badges, I simply forgot that I had them.

‘Add to Reading List’ is also baked into most 3rd party apps, so getting your articles into there is well supported by developers. The support is great, it works well, it’s reliable but the lack of notifications keeps me from using it as my preferred service.

Instapaper:

Originally developed by Marco Arment, Instapaper is perhaps the oldest and best known of all the read it later services due to its fast, reliable and and concise design. Instapaper also benefitted by it’s universal adoption by many twitter services, websites, social networks and news feeds so it became very popular and although Marco sold on the service last year, it remains a powerhouse in it’s field.

If you are using a browser on a desktop PC or Mac or laptop, there is an Instapaper extension available for the most popular browsers like Safari and Chrome which can add a small button near the address bar which with one click, can add the currently open page – straight to your Instapaper account. On iOS there is a universal app for the iPhone and the iPad which you can use to catch with up with all your saved articles. Instapaper has a nice back-end feature that you can setup so that it will automatically share saved articles to various services like Twitter, Evernote, Pinboard etc. Frasier Spiers has a terrific workflow for saving web articles via Instapaper into Evernote.

The iOS Instapaper app currently has a couple of limitations that stop me from using it as my preferred read it later service. The first one is that it doesn’t quite take advantage of the new background updating feature of iOS 7 which means that it won’t automatically download the articles in the background. Instead it uses background location updating which ironically was one of the pioneering features in an earlier iOS version release which only updates and downloads articles once you have reached a certain GPS-enabled location like at home or at work.

Another useful feature that I like to have in the app is to maintain a constant badge icon to show how many articles you have unread in your Instapaper account. The app will show the badge briefly, but once you exit the app the badge notification disappears. I like to know at a glance exactly how many articles I have queued up or unread in my read it later service and unfortunately these 2 issues let the app down and stops me from using the app.

Pocket

Pocket for me ticks all the boxes I require.

It’s a popular service and I can see why. 3rd party support is again well supported by developers so most Twitter apps and news apps can ‘Add/Send to Pocket’.

The Pocket app on iOS really is fantastic. It’s fast, smooth and easy to navigate and manage with a great choice of fonts to use as your default reading experience. You can tick or swipe to mark saved articles as read which of course can update your Pocket account and sync read and unread articles across your devices.

Notifications are the killer feature for me. Fully supporting iOS 7’s background updating API, I am in love with the number of saved articles badge over the app icon on the iPhone and iPad. I can see at a glance how many I need to catch up on which of course is a great reminder. I can be in twitter, see a link that I want to research or read later, hit ‘Send to Pocket’ and by the time I have exited the Twitter app and gone back to the home screen, the badge as been updated on the Pocket app to reflect the change. My only wish is for a Mac app rather than having to access the site via Safari but considering I mostly use my iOS devices, there is no great need.

Pocket is a fantastic app with the notification badge is the killer and stand out feature. You can download it for free here.

Fixes & Improvements Coming in iOS 7.1

Since iOS 7 was introduced in September last year, it is widley acknowledged that users have been suffering from bugs that has caused our iPhones and iPads to crash every so often which I touched on previously.

There is good news however, as Apple is working on a software update which is currently in beta testing with developers and here at MacTap we highlight the currently known changes and fixes coming:

New Siri Voices

New more “natural-sounding” voices for Australian English, U.K. English, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese have apparently been added to the latest beta which should make the current Siri voice sound a little bit less robotic.

Changes to the UI for the Phone App

20140212-153532.jpg

As you can see the call and to end call button is now green or red which tweaks the UI. This is different to the button currently on iOS 7.0 which shows wording instead of this colour coded button.

Tweaks to Lockscreen

20140212-154027.jpg

This could indicate system wide changes but at the moment, this picture shows a ‘power’ button to slide across just for the lock screen where as at the moment on iOS 7, there is just wording to indicate to slide to power off.

Other Changes

The Calendar app has been improved as well as system wide speed improvements and bug fixes which should hopefully eradicate the crashes which according to early reports, is the case.

MacRumors also report:

Release notes from the first iOS 7.1 beta indicated that the update fixes network connection issues in addition to other bugs. The beta also included a new Yahoo logo, extra burst mode uploading options for the camera, and an option for a “dark keyboard” in the Accessibility section.

According to the iOS 7.1 beta 2 release notes, this update fixes several bugs, including one that caused all tones to sound like the default. The settings for Touch ID and Passcodes have also been moved from General settings to the main settings menu and Calendar has a new list view toggle.

There’s a new “Button Shapes” option that can be turned on to indicate where tappable areas are located. Animations appear to be faster in iOS 7.1 beta 2 and Control Center has gained a new bounce animation and music labels that show the audio source.

Keyboard:

The keyboard in iOS 7 has been slightly tweaked to make it clearer when shift keys and caps lock are enabled.

20140212-160523.jpg

Icons:

The green color in the Phone, Messages, and FaceTime apps has been toned down and is now darker, especially at the bottom of the icons. This introduces a less neon coloration to iOS 7, cutting down on some of the operating system’s brightness.

20140212-160616.jpg

According to various sources, Apple is expected to release this update to all users later this month or early in March.