macOS High Sierra is due to be released to the general public today, and it’s a good idea to prepare your Mac before upgrading. While it’s imperative to prepare ahead of time, we also want to highlight the supportability of software that many Mac users depend on: Microsoft Office for Mac.
Do you use Office for Mac 2011? Well, as of macOS 10.13 High Sierra, Microsoft is dropping support for Office 2011. This means that, if you depend on this software, you need to make some changes. You have several options of which we will focus on below.
Microsoft yesterday introduced their new desktop computer, the Surface Studio. With a 28″ display that has only slim bezels, the device looks very nice. Unlike the iMac, which has very wide bezels (about one inch on the top and sides, and about three and a half inches on the bottom), the Surface Studio display seems to float in the air. Some of my colleagues have said that the two arms holding up the display are “ugly,” but they don’t bother me. Another friend said the base – which houses much of the computer’s innards – is ugly, but that doesn’t bother me either. It both holds the guts of the computer, and stabilizes it.
It’s interesting to see that Microsoft is not only coming out with an innovative design for a desktop computer, but that they’re targeting creative pros, which Apple has all but ignored in recent years. (To be fair, Apple is announcing new Macs later today, and one can hope for some changes to high-end Macs, but I honestly don’t expect much other than updated laptops.)
If you look at the current iMac, you’ll notice that the design has hardly changed in twelve years. The first iMac in this form factor was the iMac G5, released in August 2004. I had one of those for a couple of years, and I liked it a lot. It was innovative for it time, much better than the previous iMac with the hemispherical base. While Apple has improved the guts of the iMac, and notably its display, that form factor – a display mounted on a curved aluminum stand – hasn’t changed. There aren’t a lot of ways to change this, but reducing the overall size of the computer by shrinking the bezels would be a good start; I find my 27″ iMac to be quite imposing, and shaving off a few inches in width and height would make it less so. (I’ve even been considering switching to a 20″ iMac for this reason.)
The real innovation in the Surface Studio is its ability to fold down to a 20 degree angle. I don’t do any graphics work, but I can see how that would be interesting to designers and other graphics professionals. Frankly, I would like to have that to edit text; I like to change positions in my work, and not be locked into sitting the same way all the time. Having a display that folds down would allow me to look at some of my work differently. Also, the 3:2 aspect ratio is interesting; it’s not that different from Apple’s 16:10 aspect ratio, but I don’t need the width; I don’t watch movies on my iMac. Most of my work is with text, hence I would benefit from more height and less width.
The problem with the Surface Studio is, of course, its price. At $3,000, it’s a pretty expensive animal. And it’s not that it’s especially fast, or comes with the best innards. It’s not available with an SSD, and the base model only includes 8 GB RAM. The top-of-the-line model with a 2 TB hybrid drive, the faster processor and GPU, and 32 GB RAM costs a whopping $4,199. (Susie Ochs over at Macworld has a good comparison of the specs of this new Microsoft computer and the current iMac.)
It’s not for me – after all, it runs Windows – but I’m impressed by the design and new functionality. I hope this is enough to awaken Apple, who has been selling the same type of iMac for a dozen years. Making it a bit thinner doesn’t change the overall form factor, and it is perhaps time for Apple to take the lead in new design again.
It’s interesting that it’s Microsoft of all companies that comes out with a computer that looks more modern than a Mac.
Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced plans to streamline the company’s smartphone hardware business, which will impact up to 1,850 jobs. As a result, the company will record an impairment and restructuring charge of approximately $950 million, of which approximately $200 million will relate to severance payments.
Streamline; that’s business-speak for terminate. That’s a pretty big write-down, nearly $1 billion to shutter that side of the business. They say they’ll continue the Windows Phone for business customers and “Windows enthusiasts,” but it’s hard to keep a platform alive for such a limited demographic.
It’s a shame. I tried about a Windows phone about a year ago, and I was pleasantly surprised. I liked it more than Android; I felt that the tile interface was clever, and very practical. But Microsoft never managed to get a foothold in the market, so it’s time to send Windows Phone to the great tech graveyard in the sky, alongside the Zune.
Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Stories Inspired by Microsoft is an anthology of short stories written by some of today’s greatest science fiction authors. These visionary stories explore prediction science, quantum computing, real-time translation, machine learning, and much more. The contributing authors were inspired by inside access to leading-edge work, including in-person visits to Microsoft’s research labs, to craft new works that predict the near-future of technology and examine its complex relationship to our core humanity.
Interesting idea. Download it for free. There are some excellent authors in the collection.
Back in the day, around ten years ago, there was a big deal about “switchers” moving from PCs to Macs. Apple was promoting this, teaching people how they could switch to a Mac, how to copy their files, and how to understand what was different on Mac OS X.
Now, Microsoft is telling MacBook users how to switch to their Surface Book.
It’s true that this is an attractive device, and everything I’ve heard about Windows 10 is very positive. (I don’t have a PC, and haven’t had one in several years; I have no need to run Windows, but I’d be curious to try out Windows 10.) Microsoft has got game, and it’s good to see competition that will make Apple work harder to improve its hardware and software. And it’s interesting to see Microsoft hit back at Apple with an ad campaign that Apple used more than ten years ago.