Apple, Microsoft Working to Fix iOS 11 Mail App Issues With Outlook.com, Office 365 & Exchange Accounts

Apple says it is working closely with Microsoft to fix an issue that prevents Outlook.com, Office 365, and Exchange 2016 account holders from sending or replying to emails using Apple's native Mail app in iOS 11.

Apple published a support document on Tuesday, September 19 – the official launch date of iOS 11 – to acknowledge the issue affecting users of Microsoft email servers.


If you can‘t send an email with iOS 11 and an Outlook.com or Exchange mail account



You might see an error message that says "Cannot Send Mail. The message was rejected by the server."

If your email account is hosted by Microsoft on Outlook.com or Office 365, or an Exchange Server 2016 running on Windows Server 2016, you might see this error message when you try to send an email with iOS 11: "Cannot Send Mail. The message was rejected by the server."
On Tuesday, Microsoft also published a support note, which states that Apple's Mail app in iOS 11 "is not compatible with Outlook.com, Office 365, or Exchange Server 2016 running on Windows Server 2016".

Both companies' statements suggest they were caught off guard by the Mail app problem in iOS 11, however MacRumors is aware of several users who installed beta builds of the mobile operating system and flagged the issue with Apple as far back as July.


Despite apparently being aware of the problems for some time, both Apple and Microsoft said they are still working together to resolve the issue. Apple added that it would release a fix soon in an upcoming software update, while Microsoft offered the following workaround in the meantime.
To work around this issue, download the free Outlook for iOS client from the App Store. The Outlook for iOS client fully supports various email services, including Outlook.com, Office 365, and Exchange Server 2016. 

If you use the Mail app to sync data from Exchange Server 2016 that is running on Windows Server 2016, you can ask the system administrator to disable HTTP/2 in Windows Server 2016 as a workaround. The instructions on disabling HTTP/2 can be found in the Workaround section of KB 4032720: How to deploy custom cipher suite ordering in Windows Server 2016.
Stay tuned to MacRumors to find out as soon as Apple releases a fix for the ongoing Microsoft server issues in iOS 11.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
Tags: Microsoft, Office 365

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Apple, Microsoft Working to Fix iOS 11 Mail App Issues With Outlook.com, Office 365 & Exchange Accounts

Apple says it is working closely with Microsoft to fix an issue that prevents Outlook.com, Office 365, and Exchange 2016 account holders from sending or replying to emails using Apple's native Mail app in iOS 11.

Apple published a support document on Tuesday, September 19 – the official launch date of iOS 11 – to acknowledge the issue affecting users of Microsoft email servers.


If you can‘t send an email with iOS 11 and an Outlook.com or Exchange mail account



You might see an error message that says "Cannot Send Mail. The message was rejected by the server."

If your email account is hosted by Microsoft on Outlook.com or Office 365, or an Exchange Server 2016 running on Windows Server 2016, you might see this error message when you try to send an email with iOS 11: "Cannot Send Mail. The message was rejected by the server."
On Tuesday, Microsoft also published a support note, which states that Apple's Mail app in iOS 11 "is not compatible with Outlook.com, Office 365, or Exchange Server 2016 running on Windows Server 2016".

Both companies' statements suggest they were caught off guard by the Mail app problem in iOS 11, however MacRumors is aware of several users who installed beta builds of the mobile operating system and flagged the issue with Apple as far back as July.


Despite apparently being aware of the problems for some time, both Apple and Microsoft said they are still working together to resolve the issue. Apple added that it would release a fix soon in an upcoming software update, while Microsoft offered the following workaround in the meantime.
To work around this issue, download the free Outlook for iOS client from the App Store. The Outlook for iOS client fully supports various email services, including Outlook.com, Office 365, and Exchange Server 2016. 

If you use the Mail app to sync data from Exchange Server 2016 that is running on Windows Server 2016, you can ask the system administrator to disable HTTP/2 in Windows Server 2016 as a workaround. The instructions on disabling HTTP/2 can be found in the Workaround section of KB 4032720: How to deploy custom cipher suite ordering in Windows Server 2016.
Stay tuned to MacRumors to find out as soon as Apple releases a fix for the ongoing Microsoft server issues in iOS 11.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
Tags: Microsoft, Office 365

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iPhone Users Will Be Able to Say ‘Hey Cortana, Open Alexa’ in Future

Amazon and Microsoft today jointly announced that Alexa and Cortana will soon be able to communicate with each other.


Microsoft said the collaboration will allow access to Alexa via Cortana on Windows 10 PCs later this year, and via the Cortana app for iOS and Android at an unspecified point in the future. Similarly, users will be able to access Cortana on Alexa-enabled devices like the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show.

iPhone users should eventually be able to open the Cortana app and say "hey Cortana, open Alexa," to access Amazon's virtual assistant. Alexa can be used to shop and manage orders on Amazon, ask a variety of questions, stream music and audiobooks, check the news and weather, and many other tasks.

However, iPhone users won't be able to say "hey Cortana, open Alexa" from the Home screen, or when the device is locked. Apple only allows third-party virtual assistants to function within their apps, so accessing Alexa via Cortana will be a lot more cumbersome than simply using Siri.

For a complete virtual assistant experience, iPhone users could also say "hey Siri, open the Cortana app" and then say "hey Cortana, open Alexa."

Alexa can already be used in the Amazon app on iOS [Direct Link], while Cortana has been available on the App Store [Direct Link] since December 2015.


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Parallels Desktop 13 for Mac Comes With High Sierra Support and Touch Bar Integration

Parallels Desktop 13 for Mac got its official release on Tuesday. The thirteenth version of the Windows virtualization software comes with numerous new features including support for macOS High Sierra and the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.


Top of the features list is Touch Bar support, enabling owners of compatible MacBook Pros to use the OLED strip with Microsoft Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as additional integration for the Windows Start Menu and Desktop, including Cortana, Task View, and Taskbar pinned elements. A Touch Bar Wizard also allows users to customize the Touch Bar and add their favorite Windows applications.

New dynamic resolution support mean users can change the window size of their Windows session, with booting and rebooting speed said to be faster and smoother as a result. Meanwhile, enhanced support for Retina displays should see better scaling of Windows applications on Mac screens.


A new Picture-in-Picture mode aims to let users monitor their virtual machine with ease, while support for the upcoming Windows 10 People Bar promises to allow users to view recent contacts in the Windows Taskbar or Mac Dock.

More generally, Parallels claims over 47 percent faster access to Windows files and documents compared to the previous version, faster file transfers over USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt SSD devices, and up to 32 vCPU and 128GB vRAM per virtual machine with Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro Edition, with code for all new versions optimized for macOS High Sierra (10.13) and Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.


Elsewhere, Parallels claims over 30 new additional tools can be found in version 13 that simplify everyday tasks on Mac and Windows. They include a drive cleaner, video conversion, a file archiver, a GIF creator, a video downloader, Do Not Sleep and Do Not Disturb modes, a Lock Screen, and the ability to temporarily hide files on the desktop, amongst many others.

Parallels Desktop 13 for Mac costs $79.99 for a new license. Existing users of Parallels Desktop for Home and Student can upgrade to V13 for $49.99, with a time-limited offer enabling users of the Desktop Pro Edition to upgrade for the same price (usually $99.99). For more pricing details, see the Parallels website.

(Thanks, Ulric!)


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Consumer Reports Pulls Purchase Recommendation for Microsoft Surface Devices

After previously giving four Microsoft Surface devices a purchase "recommendation" status, Consumer Reports today has pulled that status from the Microsoft products. The publication said that because of "poor predicted reliability" in comparison with rival brands, it can no longer recommend any Surface laptops or tablets to consumers.

The decision specifically targets four Microsoft Surface devices, including the Surface Book (128GB and 512GB versions) and the Surface Laptop (128GB and 256GB versions). Although only four devices are losing their previously designated "recommended" status, Consumer Reports pointed out that its inability to recommend Microsoft Surface products extends across the company's laptop and tablet devices, including the Surface Pro.


As usual, Consumer Reports based its decision on a survey conducted by its subscribers and the devices they own and use each day, this time focusing on over 90,000 Microsoft products purchased between 2014 and early 2017. The study found that an estimated 25 percent of Microsoft laptops and tablets will "present their owners with problems" as soon as the end of the second year of ownership.

In its findings, the publication said the differences between the breakage rates of Microsoft devices and other brands were "statistically significant."
Microsoft’s estimated breakage rate for its laptops and tablets was higher than most other brands’. The differences were statistically significant, which is why Microsoft doesn’t meet CR’s standards for recommended products. The surveys are conducted annually. Microsoft defended the reliability of its laptops and tablets.
Originally, multiple Microsoft Surface products performed well in Consumer Reports' lab testing, but as time has passed and as more data has been collected a reliability issue has come into question. Survey respondents mentioned device startup problems, unexpected freezes or shut downs, and unresponsive touch screens, all occurring well after the devices were purchased.

Microsoft gave the following statement in an email sent to Consumer Reports regarding the new findings:
“Microsoft’s real-world return and support rates for past models differ significantly from Consumer Reports’ breakage predictability,” Microsoft said in an emailed statement. “We don’t believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners’ true experiences or capture the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation.”
Late last year, Apple was also denied a purchase recommendation from Consumer Reports for its 2016 MacBook Pro, because battery life "varied dramatically" from one trial to another. After working together to find the source of the issue at hand -- which Apple discovered to be a bug in a hidden Safari setting -- Consumer Reports reversed its decision and gave the new MacBook Pro devices a recommended purchase status.


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Microsoft Possibly Working on ‘Touch Cover’ Smart Keyboard For iPad

Microsoft appears to be working on a Touch Cover smart keyboard for at least one iPad model, according to battery information for products containing lithium-ion batteries shared on its website earlier this year.

Microsoft's Surface RT with Touch Cover

The documents were published in April, but they were only discovered now by German blog WinFuture, which tipped its information to The Verge. The product is clearly listed: iPad Touch Cover (Model 1719).

Microsoft previously sold Touch Covers for its Surface tablets that doubled as pressure-sensitive keyboards and protective covers.


Those covers magnetically click into place and provide protection for the Surface's touchscreen. They have a standard keyboard layout, shortcut keys, and a two-button touchpad that supports gestures.

It's unknown if the iPad version would be similar. All that's known is that it presumably has a lithium-ion battery, suggesting it could connect over Bluetooth. It could also work with an iPad Pro's Smart Connector, but that seems less likely.

Of course, Microsoft could have scrapped plans to release an iPad keyboard between April and now, or perhaps even earlier. For now, the single document is all we have to go on. We'll provide an update if that changes.

Related Roundup: iPad (2017)
Tag: Microsoft
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Neutral)

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Microsoft Closes Down ‘Word Flow’ Keyboard for iOS, Points Users to SwiftKey

In April of 2016, Microsoft opened up a beta test and then launched its Word Flow Windows Phone keyboard on the iOS App Store in the United States. Over a year later, some users have noticed that Microsoft has now closed down the app and removed it from Apple's App Store (via WindowsCentral).

On Word Flow's Microsoft Garage page, the company notes that "the Word Flow experiment is now complete," and suggests that users download SwiftKey. Microsoft acquired SwiftKey in February of 2016, so it appears that the company has decided to focus solely on one predictive keyboard app on the iOS App Store.


As with all apps removed from Apple's App Store, when attempting to visit old links for Word Flow on iTunes [Direct Link], an error message now reads, "The item you've requested is not currently available in the U.S. store."
The Word Flow experiment is now complete! We encourage you to download the SwiftKey Keyboard from the App Store. The SwiftKey product team is frequently building and evaluating new features for SwiftKey and shipping updates.
Like many third-party keyboard apps, Word Flow incorporated GIFs, theme customization options, and machine learning for better predictive texts. The app's standout feature was "Arc Mode," which curved the iOS keyboard into a circular shape and hugged the side of the iPhone that a user would type on, allowing for comfortable one-handed typing.

Now that it's gone, users won't have access to Arc Mode, but SwiftKey includes many of the same features as Word Flow, including a swipe-to-type ability. The app was updated about two weeks ago with emoji prediction, new themes, upgraded 3D Touch features, and more languages. SwiftKey is available to download from the iOS App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tag: Microsoft

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Microsoft Partners With Johnson Controls for New Cortana Thermostat ‘GLAS’

Microsoft and Johnson Controls today revealed a new product partnership in a smart thermostat called "GLAS." The thermostat has been built by Johnson Controls, the company that made the first electric thermostat, with Microsoft providing all of the internal software, including the ability for users to awake and control its functions with smart AI assistant Cortana (via The Verge).

In the announcement video, GLAS is showcased as having an aluminum edge that attaches the thermostat to a wall, as well as a translucent touchscreen display that will let users tap and swipe through different temperature and control settings. The video mentioned that GLAS will monitor indoor and outdoor air temperature, as well as be knowledgeable of when a user is in the room or away from home, saving them money on their energy bills.


GLAS will run using Microsoft's Windows 10 IoT Core operating system as well as the company's Azure Cloud computing platform. Microsoft provided the following description on its YouTube channel for the device, although any other official information has yet to come out:
Heating and cooling account for roughly 48% of the energy use in a typical U.S. home, making it the largest energy expense for most families. In the commercial building sector, the cost is approximately 40%. Johnson Controls, one of the leading providers of HVAC, Fire and Security systems in the world, is changing how spaces are viewed and controlled. As the inventors of the first thermostat, Johnson Controls has innovated once again with GLAS.

Utilizing Windows 10 IoT Core, Cortana voice services, and Azure Cloud, GLAS is a simple to use, elegant thermostat that brings leading energy savings and air quality monitoring to everyday spaces. Johnson Controls is reinventing the thermostat and our lives.
The upcoming Johnson Controls GLAS thermostat is one of the newest devices using Microsoft's Cortana Devices SDK, which enables third-party hardware manufacturers to bake in the voice-activated AI to new devices. The company announced it would be opening up Cortana to new hardware makers late last year, confirming it wanted to see Cortana placed within fridges, toasters, thermostats, and other Internet of Things devices.

One of the first devices coming out of the announcement is tipped to be a Cortana-based smart speaker made by Harman Kardon. That speaker is rumored to launch sometime this fall, and will enter the market as a competitor to the Amazon Echo and Apple's upcoming HomePod.

Tag: Microsoft

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Microsoft Launches AI-Based Talking Camera for the Visually Impaired

Microsoft today launched a new app called Seeing AI, which the company describes as a talking camera for people who are visually impaired. The app uses artificial intelligence and the camera of an iPhone or iPad to describe the world around it. It's able to recognize text, objects, and people.


The app turns the visual world into an audible experience and using it is as simple as pointing the camera at various objects and people. The app can recognize saved friends, or describe people based on their approximate age and demeanor, and it can read text that it detects aloud.

Seeing AI can scan and read documents like books and letters, helping with formatting, and it can see objects like money to identify specific denominations. Within stores, it can scan barcodes to help users shop, and it's also able to be used within other apps like Twitter for evaluating images.

An experimental "Scenes" feature is available, allowing the app to analyze what's going on in a photograph. Scenes isn't perfect, and Seeing AI is an ongoing research product, so it may not accurately describe every image.


Seeing AI is available in the U.S., Canada, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore starting today, with Microsoft planning to expand it to additional countries in the future. It works on the iPhone 5c and later, but performs best on the iPhone 6s and later.

Seeing AI can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tag: Microsoft

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Microsoft Updates Outlook for iOS With Redesigned Navigation, Conversations and Search

Microsoft today announced some major changes to its Outlook app for the iPhone and the iPad, introducing a redesigned conversation experience, improved navigation, and smarter search features that are coming in the near future.


The enhanced conversation design displays more of a conversation on a single screen, and there's clearer separation between each individual message. When opening a conversation to read more, Outlook will bring you to the first unread message, and there's a new quick reply feature that makes it easier to send an email without leaving the main conversation view.


As for the navigation improvements, Microsoft has made it easier to switch between accounts and browse through their folders. The account and folder menu has been tweaked so you can swap accounts with a tap, and the Help and Settings buttons have been relocated to the sidebar to make them easier to access.

In the near future, Microsoft plans to introduce an intelligent search feature (powered by Microsoft Graph) that will make it easier to find specific conversations. A search box will be added to the app's tab bar, so it'll be accessible from anywhere in the app, and People and Files will both be integrated into the search experience.

Microsoft plans to provide proactive suggestions for content, and when searching for a name, your most frequent contacts will pop up first.

The redesigned Outlook app is available today for all iOS users with Outlook.com and Gmail accounts. Support for Office 365 accounts will roll out "in the coming days." As for the search feature, Microsoft says it is "coming soon."

Microsoft Outlook can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


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