Former Apple Engineering Leader Joins Microsoft to Work on HoloLens and Other Hardware

Rubén Caballero, a hardware engineering executive at Apple who worked with suppliers on modem hardware, has taken on a new role at Microsoft, reports Bloomberg.


At Microsoft, Caballero is serving as corporate vice president of engineering and based on his Linkedin profile, he will work on mixed reality hardware such as Microsoft's HoloLens. He is listed as part of Microsoft's Mixed Reality and AI Division, and will also work on "special projects."

Caballero left Apple in April 2019, just after Apple settled its lawsuit with Qualcomm and inked a deal that will see Qualcomm supplying modem chips for the 2020 iPhones, and after his division was folded into Apple's custom chip vision headed by Johny Srouji.

Caballero first joined Apple in 2005, and his name has been on hundreds of patents related to wireless technologies. Caballero was a well-known part of Apple's antenna engineering group, having gained public recognition following the "Antennagate" situation that impacted the iPhone 4.
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Microsoft Cancels In-Person Build Developer Conference and Moves Event Online

Microsoft has announced that the 2020 Build developer conference will not go ahead as an in-person gathering and will take place online this year instead, owing to concerns over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


The tech giant had planned to hold the annual conference in Seattle from May 19 to May 21, but Microsoft has decided to make it an altogether "digital event." A Microsoft spokesperson provided The Verge with the following statement:
The safety of our community is a top priority. In light of the health safety recommendations for Washington State, we will deliver our annual Microsoft Build event for developers as a digital event, in lieu of an in-person event. We look forward to bringing together our ecosystem of developers in this new virtual format to learn, connect and code together. Stay tuned for more details to come.
Like Apple's WWDC, Build annually brings together thousands of developers from all over the world, and Microsoft typically uses the event to preview its latest software and services updates. This year, Microsoft is expected to share more details about its dual-screen plans for Android and Windows 10X.

It's not the first tech company to cancel a major developer event in light of the pandemic. Facebook's F8 and Google's I/O developer conferences have been canceled due to the coronavirus. On Wednesday, organizers for both the E3 gaming convention and NAB trade show also announced cancelations.

Other public events and sports seasons in the U.S. have been either canceled or suspended amid the viral outbreak, in an effort to limit the possibility of a rapid rise in infection rates. Similar containment measures have been implemented or are actively being considered in many other countries.

Apple hasn't provided word about its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference, which is normally held in San Jose, California, in June, but it now seems only a matter of time before Apple announces that the event has been canceled or will be held in some digital capacity.
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Microsoft Defender ATP Security Platform Coming to iOS and Android

Microsoft today announced that it plans to bring a version of its Defender ATP security platform to iOS and Android.


Defender ATP provides "preventive protection, post-breach detection, and automated investigation and response" for Windows and macOS, but it is unclear what the platform will offer on iOS given it is a sandboxed operating system. Existing "antivirus" apps for the iPhone typically only offer features such as identity theft and phishing prevention, website and phone call blocking, and VPN access.

Microsoft plans to share more details about Defender ATP for iOS and Android next week at the RSA Conference in San Francisco.


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Microsoft Office App Released for iPhone, Combines Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

Following beta testing, Microsoft today released its new Office app for iPhone, bringing together Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in a single app.


The main benefit of the unified Office app is that it requires only a single download with a much smaller file size, but it does have a few unique features, including camera integration for easily converting photos of documents and tables into Word and Excel files. The app also has a new Actions pane that supports a number of common tasks like signing PDFs and scanning QR codes.


Microsoft's standalone Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps remain available and were recently updated with a simplified three-tab layout.

The new Microsoft Office app is available on the App Store.

(Thanks, Michaël!)


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Microsoft’s Project xCloud Streaming Game Service Available on iOS Through TestFlight Preview

Microsoft in September introduced Project xCloud, a service designed to allow gamers to play games on any device, from PCs to consoles to mobile devices.

Project xCloud for mobile devices has been available on Android for a few months now, but as of today, Microsoft is expanding it to the iPhone and iPad through a limited TestFlight beta test.


The Project xCloud beta test is available in the United States, UK, and Canada, and due to TestFlight restrictions, it is limited to a total of 10,000 testers.

The iOS TestFlight preview is kicking off with a single game, "Halo: The Master Chief Collection" and while the Android test version also includes Xbox Console Streaming, that feature is not available on iOS at this time.

Microsoft says that it anticipates demand will exceed capacity, and that it will be unable to accommodate all applicants. Invites will be provided on a first-come first-served basis.

Participating in the preview requires a Microsoft account and associated Xbox gamertag, a Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One Wireless Controller, an iPhone or iPad running iOS 13 or later, and access to a data connection that supports 10Mb/s down bandwidth.

iOS users who want to sign up for the beta test can do so by signing up on the Project xCloud website.

Microsoft says that it wants to work with Apple to bring the full preview of xCloud to more iOS customers in the future, and that it plans to use the feedback to improve the technology.


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Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Apps Redesigned With Simplified Three-Tab Layout on iPhone

Microsoft today updated its Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps for the iPhone with a simplified three-tab layout.


The three tabs include Home, New, and Open:
  • Home: Sign in to your Microsoft account and view recent documents, spreadsheets, or presentations

  • New: Create a new document, spreadsheet, or presentation with various templates to choose from

  • Open: Open an existing document, spreadsheet, or presentation stored on your iPhone, in the Files app, or on a supported cloud service
The redesigned Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps are available on the App Store.

Microsoft recently introduced a new Office app for iOS that provides access to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint through a single app with a smaller download size. The app remains in beta testing via TestFlight.


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Microsoft Outlook App Optimized for Split View on iPad

Microsoft today updated its Outlook app with full support for Split View on compatible iPad models, allowing users to multitask in a variety of ways, such as having an email and calendar open side by side.


Split View also enables users to drag and drop text, photos, and files from one app to another, such as dragging text from Safari into an Outlook email. To drag and drop text, select the text first, and touch and hold the text until it lifts up. To select multiple items, touch and hold an item, drag it slightly, and then continue to hold it while tapping additional items with another finger.

Outlook for iOS is a free download on the App Store for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Split View support comes in version 4.23.0.


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Microsoft’s Chromium Edge Browser for Mac Officially Launches

Microsoft today announced the first stable launch of its Edge browser built on the Google Chromium open source project. Microsoft Edge can be downloaded on both Windows machines and Macs.

A beta version of the Microsoft Edge browser has been available for several months ahead of the official, stable launch.


Microsoft's aim with the Edge browser is to provide better web compatibility with improved performance for customers while also making sure there's less fragmentation of the web for developers.

Edge for Mac has been designed to be similar to the Edge experience on Windows, but Microsoft has added optimizations to make it feel more Mac-like. Extensions can be added from the Microsoft Addons store or other Chromium-based web stores like the Chrome Web Store.

The browser includes tracking prevention (enabled by default), customization options, built-in search capabilities with Bing, an Internet Explorer mode for viewing older web pages, and a new wave-style logo that replaces the traditional "e" that past Microsoft browsers have used.

For Mac users who plan to use Edge, the browser is available cross platform and can be downloaded on Mac, Windows, and iOS devices with the Edge iOS app.

Microsoft is planning regular updates for the Edge browser, with Canary, Dev, and Beta updates on a daily, weekly, and multi-week basis. The next stable version of Edge will see an update sometime in February.


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Apple Hiring to Build ‘Next Generation of Media Apps for Windows’

Apple is looking for software engineers to build "the next generation of media apps for Windows" according to a new Apple job listing shared earlier today by Microsoft-focused site Neowin.

In macOS Catalina, Apple eliminated the iTunes app and replaced it with new Music, Podcasts, and TV apps, but similar changes were not made to Apple's iTunes for Windows app. Windows 10 users currently need to access services like Apple TV+ and Apple Music on the web, which is not ideal.


Apple's existing iTunes and iCloud apps are quite old and could benefit from being overhauled. The job listing suggests Apple may be aiming to introduce Windows apps that are similar to what's offered on Mac.
The Media Apps team is looking for a creative Senior Software Engineer to work on the next generation of media apps for Windows. You will help build innovative features that will delight millions of customers around the world.

You possess strong skills in the areas of application design, solid API design principles and have a strong understanding of customer and workflow issues. You have a history of shipping large volume consumer product successfully. You are a well-rounded developer who is not afraid to question assumptions. You have an excellent written and oral skills. You love collaborating under tight deadlines.

If you love music and you are passionate about writing code, and want to work with world-class engineering teams that ship to millions of users, the Media Apps team is the place for you.
The job listing says that experience with UWP is a "big plus," with UWP standing for Universal Windows Platform. With UWP support, Apple could create apps that would work on Xbox One and various Windows 10 platforms.

An ‌Apple TV‌+ app built using the Universal Windows Platform would allow the service to be accessed on the Xbox One, expanding ‌Apple TV‌+ to platforms beyond smart TVs, Apple devices, and set-top boxes.


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Microsoft Releases ‘Play My Emails’ Text-to-Speech Feature for Cortana in the iOS Outlook App

Alongside a slate of announcements made this morning, Microsoft has launched a new text-to-speech feature for Cortana in the Outlook app for iOS devices. With this feature, called "Play My Emails," the Outlook app uses Cortana's natural language interactions and AI to read out your latest emails.


Microsoft is aiming this feature at users who want to catch up on their inboxes while doing something else, like driving or working at their desks. Cortana starts by summarizing how many emails are new in the user's Focused Inbox in the last 24 hours, and if there have been any changes to their upcoming daily schedule, thanks to integration with Outlook's calendar.


Cortana also uses Microsoft Graph to identity the sender of each email in relationship to the user, so it's easier to know the context of the message without looking at the screen. Because of these abilities and more, Microsoft said that Play My Emails is more than just a text-to-speech update, but a way to have a natural conversation with Cortana.
Cortana synthesizes the information in the message header and meta data and marries it with the insights about you and information from apps and services that power Office 365. This provides a more meaningful and contextual readout.

The Play My Emails experience is like having a conversation with your personal assistant.
Play My Emails is launching today to customers in the United States for the Outlook app on iOS devices, and later it will launch on Android.


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