Microsoft Releases ‘Photos Companion’ iOS App for Quickly Transferring Photos to PC

Microsoft today released Photos Companion, an iOS app specially made for Windows 10 users to let them transfer photos from their Apple devices to PCs more easily. First circulated among beta testers in November, Photos Companion links with Windows 10's built-in photos app by way of a QR code, after which multiple photos can be sent over the same Wi-Fi network.

Microsoft hopes the app – the result of a Microsoft Garage project – will appeal primarily to students who don't back up their photos to a cloud service such as the company's own OneDrive, but need a convenient way to get content from their smartphones to Windows machines in an education setting.

We began developing a simple, experimental app for iOS and Android to see if we could unblock educators and help them begin using the Photos app in their classrooms. We knew that students often captured on multiple phones or tablets, but leveraged a single "project" PC to assemble their media and create their final project. We also knew that Wi-Fi access in the classroom was great between devices, but that any solution that required the cloud for transfer could be blocked by overloaded networks.

Our solution was to build an app that would support direct wireless transfer between any phone or mobile device and the Photos app on any Windows 10 PC. This would enable students to transfer media to their own computers … or to a shared, project PC … without worrying about network speeds or mobile data charges.
The app is part of Microsoft's wider mobile strategy to improve its iOS offerings, now that Windows 10 Mobile hardware is no longer a focus for the company. Microsoft officially ended support for Windows Phone back in July, and is no longer developing new features or hardware for Windows 10 Mobile.

Photos Companion is a free download from the App Store. [Direct Link]


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iTunes Not Coming to Microsoft’s Windows Store in 2017

At its Build developer event earlier this year, Microsoft said Apple was planning to bring its iTunes app to the Windows 10 store, making it easier for Windows users to find the software.

At the time, Microsoft said the app would be available in the Windows Store "by the end of this year," a deadline Apple now says it's not going to be able to make.


"We have been working with Microsoft to deliver the full iTunes experience to our customers and we need a little more time to get it right," an Apple spokesperson told ZDNet.

Both companies are still working to get iTunes into the Windows Store, according to ZDNet's sources, but there is no updated timeline on when it might be available. Apple also did not provide details on why it's taking so long to wrap up the transition to the Windows Store.

Most Windows users can download the iTunes software outside of the Windows Store, but Windows 10 S users will need to do without iTunes for the time being as that's a version of Windows that can only run apps available in the Microsoft Store.


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Upcoming Microsoft App for iPhone Aims to Make Photo Transfers to Windows 10 Easier

Microsoft looks set to release a new iOS app for Windows 10 users in the coming months that lets them transfer photos from their Apple devices to their PCs more easily.


First discovered by Italian blog Aggiornamenti Lumia, the companion app is said to support the fast transfer of photos and videos from Apple smartphones to PCs provided they're connected to the same Wi-Fi network. The app appeared briefly as an update on the Windows Insider "Fast Channel" and should become available to all Windows 10 testers soon.

The app seems to be for people who don't use Microsoft's OneDrive cloud backup service, as it replicates some features already available in the OneDrive app, which lets users upload pictures from an iPhone and import them directly into the Windows 10 Photos application.

The new software is part of Microsoft's wider mobile strategy to improve its iOS offerings, now that Windows 10 Mobile hardware is no longer a focus for the company. Microsoft officially ended support for Windows Phone back in July, and is no longer developing new features or hardware for Windows 10 Mobile.

(Via The Verge.)


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Microsoft Admits Windows Phone is Basically Dead

Microsoft has publicly admitted for the first time that its Windows Phone is dead. In a series of tweets, Windows 10 chief Joe Belfiore said that the company is no longer developing new features or hardware for Windows 10 Mobile, with only bug fixes and security updates to come for existing users.

Belfiore explained that his team had tried "very hard" to incentivize app developers by paying them and writing apps for them, but the low volume of users meant it was no longer worth the investment in Windows Phone.

Microsoft officially ended support for Windows Phone back in July, but the software giant never owned up to the fact that the move was essentially the final nail in the coffin for its flagship mobile platform. Today's news that the Windows 10 Mobile hardware is no longer a focus for the company now puts that beyond doubt, and makes the possibility of a long-rumored Surface-branded phone seem further away than ever.


Windows Phone was released in 2010 and quickly became the world's third most popular mobile operating system, but the platform couldn't compete with iOS and Android, which accounted for a combined 99.6 percent market share earlier this year.

In another sign of the times, the New York Police Department recently confirmed it will begin transitioning from Windows Phones to iPhones for its 36,000 police officers in the fall.

In Belfiore's series of tweets, the corporate VP also revealed that he had switched away from Windows Phone to a rival mobile operating system, but didn't say which one.


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Parallels Desktop 13.1 Update Brings APFS and HEVC Support in macOS High Sierra

Parallels Desktop 13 for Mac received an update on Thursday to include full compatibility with the new Apple File System (APFS) and HEVC video standard included in macOS High Sierra.

With APFS support, Parallels Desktop 13.1 can take advantage of Apple's cross-platform replacement for HFS+, bringing more security and better performance on devices with flash memory.


New HEVC video support means the virtualization software will be able to benefit from more efficient compression of video files and smoother playback. You can learn more about Apple's new HEVC video codec here.

Elsewhere, there are a host of stability and performance fixes, as listed in Parallels' knowledge database update summary. They include the following:
  • Enables the user to create a new Boot Camp® virtual machine on a Mac® with macOS® High Sierra.
    Enables the user to install a High Sierra virtual machine from the Recovery partition on their High Sierra Mac.

  • Resolves an issue with some Windows shortcuts not working (for example, "Control+Shift+"+"/"-" in Microsoft Excel).

  • Resolves an issue with installing Parallels Tools on Windows XP (Note: Parallels Tools are used for Windows and macOS integration. Do not confuse them with Parallels® Toolbox.)

  • Resolves an issue with Windows not starting when opening a file associated with a Windows application on macOS.

  • Resolves an issue with crashes of BIMcollab ZOOM and TopSolid CAD.

  • Resolves an issue with Zoom In and Zoom Out in APEX 3.

  • Resolves an issue with “Sending as Attachment” not working for Windows files and Mac email client after suspending and resuming a Windows virtual machine.

  • Resolves an issue with OneDrive for Business not shared with macOS, even if that option is enabled.

  • Resolves an issue with Microsoft Windows Start menu not appearing when clicking the Windows icon if Dock auto-hide is enabled.

  • Resolves an issue with copying Windows files to Mac.

  • Resolves an issue with TeamViewer camera not working.

  • Resolves an issue with maximizing Windows applications in Coherence mode.

  • Resolves an issue with installing a macOS older than Mac OS X® Mavericks 10.9 in the virtual machine from the installation image.

  • Resolves an issue with macOS not going to sleep when there is a virtual machine in Coherence mode.

To download the latest update, users can click the Parallels Desktop menu and select Check for Updates.

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.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

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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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Apple to Start Offering iTunes on the Windows Store

Apple plans to bring its iTunes app to the Windows 10 Store, Microsoft announced today at its Build developer event. iTunes, is, of course, already available on the Windows platform, but adding it to the Windows Store will make it easier for Windows users to find the software.

Gaining iTunes for the Windows Store is a win for Microsoft, as the Windows store is currently lacking many key apps like Google's Chrome browser and Spotify. Microsoft has strict app requirements that some companies aren't able to work with.

The addition of iTunes could potentially drive more customers to use the Windows 10 Store, with iTunes said to be one of the apps that Windows users search for most often.

According to Microsoft, iTunes will be added to the Windows Store by the end of this year.


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Apple Updates Boot Camp Drivers to Fix Major Issue Causing Blown Speakers on New MacBook Pros

Apple has released updated audio drivers to fix a major issue causing blown out speakers on new MacBook Pro models running Windows 10 with Boot Camp.

late_2016_macbook_pro_boot_camp
Earlier this month, a number of users began noticing crackling or distorted sound coming from the left, right, or both speakers on the new MacBook Pro, oftentimes shortly after installing and running Windows 10 with Boot Camp. These issues persist even when affected users boot back into macOS Sierra.

MacRumors reader tianhuailiu — edited slightly for clarity:
"I used Boot Camp to install Windows and the right speaker started producing crackling sounds. It sounds like something broke inside the speaker. Every time I log in on Windows and try doing something with the speaker driver, either the left or right speaker produce a crackling sound. I have to return the MacBook Pro right now. Right now both my speakers crash both in macOS Sierra and in Windows, and they can only produce half of the original volume.
The damage to the speakers appears to be permanent once it occurs, requiring users to contact Apple to exchange their new MacBook Pro for a replacement unit. Unfortunately, due to limited stock, some of these users are now faced with waiting several weeks for their MacBook Pros to be swapped out.

The new Boot Camp audio drivers are available through Apple Software Update on the Windows side for both 13-inch and 15-inch models, although the issue appears to primarily affect the larger of the two. The new drivers, of course, are of no help to users who have already blown out their speakers.


While new drivers are available, late 2016 MacBook Pro users should exercise caution when running Windows 10 with Boot Camp due to the severe nature of the problem. As a temporary workaround, some users have plugged in headphones during the booting process until installing the updated drivers.

After installing the updated drivers, some MacBook Pro users appear to be experiencing issues with low volume on both Windows 10 and macOS Sierra, but the underlying problem remains unclear. Affected users should contact Apple or schedule a Genius Bar appointment for further support.

The issue does not affect older MacBook Pro models or Windows virtualization software such as VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop for Mac.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Tags: Windows 10, Boot Camp
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)

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