Some of the best -- and worst -- trends in tech this week
The MacNN Podcast is now up to episode five, and this week we looked at the new Microsoft Office 2016 preview; the disturbing trend of legitimate app makers inserting adware (or worse) into their apps to make a few extra bucks; the news from last week's Mobile World Congress, including the new Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge; our favorite reviewed apps of the week, and more news about Monday's public debut of the Apple Watch.
The behemoth of office data processing returns -- and it is very good
We're not going to judge Microsoft Office for Mac 2016 in the detail or the depth that we will when it finally ships as a finished product. However, Microsoft has made it available in preview beta form, and it is irresistible. It's also very good, and if you have even a modicum of interest in Microsoft Office, you should try it now - though there are one or two caveats you'll want to keep in mind.
Shows Yosemite styling, Notification Center support, more
Images claiming to be from a leaked copy of the next version of Outlook for Mac have appeared on the Chinese site cnBeta, which may hint at an impending release for the long-awaited update to the Microsoft Office suite. The program is said to be called "Outlook for Mac 16," and may suggest that the next major Office revision for Mac may be be released alongside a new Windows version. The program appears to take on the design language of OS X Yosemite, and is said to be more unified with the Windows version.
iPad Air is a more capable productivity tool than some might expect
The question of how much productivity you can get done on the Apple iPad is one that has persisted since its introduction. Even if the question is not an easy one to answer, it seems almost irrelevant to even ask when one looks at how massively successful the iPad has been since its introduction. The question also depends on what one defines as being 'productivity,' when it has been clear for some time that plenty of people can and do use iPads for getting work done, particularly in creative endeavors. The recently announced partnership between Apple and IBM in enterprise, coupled with the arrival of Microsoft Office for iPad suggests that the iPad's capability in the workplace will be properly tested given that IBM also becomes an official Apple reseller and will help to shift many more units into the workplace.
Office for iPad said to allow document creation and editing, require Office 365 subscription
On the same day as Microsoft released its official version of OneNote for the Mac, reports are flying that Microsoft will finally release the long-awaited Microsoft Office for iPad on March 27. Rumors say that the iPad release will be similar to the current Office for Mobile that exists on the iPhone, adding full document and editing support but requiring a subscription to Office 365, Microsoft's subscription-based web version of Office.
Remote antenna/DVR to be available in Greater San Antonio region February 19
Cloud-based DVR and TV streaming service Aereo is expanding its service-providing area again, with its announcement of its upcoming servicing of the Greater San Antonio region. Using Aereo's technology, consumers can pause and rewind any program that they are watching live on computers or mobile devices, or save a program for future viewing. Beginning February 19, consumers in the Greater San Antonio region will be able to use Aereo to have access to over 30 over-the-air channels, as well as Bloomberg Television.
Mac, PC, iOS, Android versions all available to qualified institutions
After a reveal in October, Microsoft has launched the Student Advantage program, giving free access to Microsoft Office software. The Student Advantage program is an initiative by Microsoft that gives attendees of schools and universities that have site licenses for Office 365 access to current software Office releases. Office 2011 is provided for Mac students, with a version of Office 2013 available for Windows users.
Only security issues addressed, affects all Mac Office 2011 editions
On Tuesday, Microsoft issued a new security patch for all versions of its Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 edition, including academic, Standard and Home & Business editions and all the main applications contained therein. The update "fixes critical issues and also helps to improve security. It includes fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer's memory with malicious code." The fix is intended for Intel Macs running OS X 10.5.8 or later.
Patch fixes numerous bugs, requires OS X 10.5.8 or higher
A new update is available for Microsoft Office 2011, the most recent version of the widely-used office suite. Version 14.3.4 addresses numerous issues and bugs, adds a needed font for sharing documents, and most importantly further refines the interoperability of the Office 365 initiative, allowing the option for users to jump to the subscription version of Office if they want. In addition, the new version adds the built-in option of saving files to SkyDrive and SharePoint in Microsoft Word.
Microsoft exec avoids question, suggests Surface, 365 options
The head of the Office division at Microsoft played coy and dodged questions from analysts about plans to release an iPad version of Microsoft Office, stressing the current online versions and suggesting the program as a selling point for the company's beleaguered Surface tablet. Kurt DelBene was asked about the software at a Morgan Stanley technology conference in San Francisco, but instead pointed to iOS versions of some Office add-ons such as OneNote, Lync, SharePoint and its cloud-storage offering SkyDrive.
Minor update solves issue with false licensing alert
Microsoft on Monday released a further update specifically for Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 that resolves a false licensing alarm bug. Specifically, Office 2011 applications would report a problem with licensing even though the applications would continue to run unaffected by the warning. The new problem was apparently introduced in the previous fix, which also addressed various bugs with Exchange calendar servers, hyperlinks with hastags and other issues.
Subscription-based model may become the norm for PC users
Microsoft will offer new buyers (as of October 19) of its existing Office 2011 standalone software for Macs the option of receiving either a free year's worth of the newly-announced Office 365 Home Premium -- a new consumer version of the online edition of Office that runs by subscription -- or a free upgrade to the next version of Microsoft Office for Mac. The promotion appears to be an either-or offer, but may give Mac users (for the first time) access to the entire suite of Office applications -- and a better look at the previously business-only Office 365.
Update also includes fixes and improvements
As part of a larger release of bug and security fixes for Windows issued on Tuesday, Microsoft also updated its flagship Mac product, Microsoft Office 2011. A security vulnerability that stems from the way that folder permissions are set "in certain Microsoft Office for Mac 14.2 installations" that could allow attackers privileged access has been resolved. Users are advised to update to version 14.2.3, which also features some general enhancements.