Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Microsoft Office 365 Subscriptions Now Available

Today, Microsoft has launched the next version of their popular productivity suite, Office 365 Home Premium.  Unlike previous versions of Office, Office 365 Home Premium allows you to install Office 365 on Windows PCs and Macs for a combined total of five installs.


Since Office 365 is a subscription service, you have to renew your subscription plan.  Microsoft is offering Office 365 for $9.99/month or $99.99/year.  I'm planning on buying the annual subscription.

Windows users will get access to the Office 2013 software that has also gone live today for business customers.  If you are installing Office on your Mac, you will get Microsoft Office: Mac 2011, the latest version of Office for Mac OS X.

Also, since this is a subscription service, any updates to Office, are available to you at no additional cost.  (Surface and iPad users should take note of that point as we know that there will be updates to Office on Surface Pro, Surface RT, and very likely, the iPad too.)

For more information, and to purchase a subscription, visit the Microsoft Office website.

Microsoft Office 365 Now Live On Staples Website


Last night I put up a post that I had found Office 365 Home Premium on Staples website.  I stumbled across it looking for prices on the Mac edition of Microsoft Office.

As you can see from the photo above, Office 365 Home Premium for Windows/Mac is now up, live, and ready for purchase.

Unlike other retail box and download versions of Microsoft Office, Office 365 is a subscription service.  That means you will be able to use the latest version of the Office software on up to 5 Macs or Windows PCs, that's the cool part, but you have to pay an annual subscription maintenance fee of $100 annually.  That's the not-so-cool-but-kinda-worth-it part.

I need to install Office, specifically PowerPoint, my kids Compaq laptop that they use for school.  I also need to install Office on my Windows 8 Pro box, so I'm excited about this new version of Office.  I get to install/upgrade Office on two PCs, with Outlook, for less than the price of one Office 2010 Home and Business license that I was looking at a few days ago.

Sound good?  What do you think?

[Via Staples.com...]

How To: Back Up Your iDevice with iCloud

I've always been a firm believer of running backups your important documents and other data like photos, music, and videos.

Over the years, Apple has done a good job enhancing iCloud to automatically take care of this for you on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.  With last night's little iOS 6.1 upgrade disaster, knowing that I had a recent backup of my iPhone meant that I was only going to have to deal with the reloading my backup and not have to worry about lost photos, text messages, and all the rest.

Here are a few quick steps to make sure you have iCloud backups turned on and how to run an immediate backup if you want to - like just before an iOS upgrade.

Turning on iCloud Backups

Step 1: To get started, tap on Settings from the Home screen.

Step 2: Tap on iCloud on the Settings page.

Step 3: Sign in to your iCloud account if you haven't already done so.

Step 4: Scroll down to the bottom of the iCloud page, and tap 'Storage & Backup'.


Step 5: Near the bottom of the page, set the 'iCloud Backup' option to 'ON'.


Step 6: Tap the 'Back Up Now' button at the bottom of the page to start a backup immediately.


Bonus Points: At the very bottom of the 'Storage & Backup' page, will be a message telling you when the last time a successful iCloud backup was completed.

iOS 6.1 Upgrade Loads Without Problem on My iPad 3


For all the trouble I had installing the iOS 6.1 upgrade last night on my iPhone 4S, the same upgrade when flawlessly on my iPad 3.

From what I can tell, it was a fluke that something when wrong on my iPhone. I'm a member of #TeamPure and I don't jailbreak my gear so I'm really unsure of what actually went wrong.

I'll just chalk it up to 'fun and excitement with technology' and get back to using my iDevices.

Monday, January 28, 2013

My iPhone 4S is OK, iOS 6.1 Installed

I was annoyed this evening while untangling a failed iOS 6.1 OTA upgrade this evening.  The good news is that my iPhone is alive and well.  I did have to spend a ridiculous amount of time downloading and reinstalling iOS 6.1 via iTunes to get the iPhone out of recovery mode.

In the end, I was able to get my iPhone working again, but after the install of the iOS 6.1 upgrade from iTunes, the iPhone is behaving like a new device.  Looks like a little while longer getting my iCloud backup restored and making sure everything truly is back to normal.

Apple TV Software Upgraded to 5.2


Along side the iOS 6.1 upgrade released today, Apple also rolled out Update 5.2 for current model Apple TV boxes.


Users can download the update directly to their device by choosing the Settings application on the Apple TV, then choosing "General," and "Software Update." The full list of changes in the update, according to Apple, are:


iTunes in the Cloud: Brows and play your purchased iTunes music directly from iCloud.
Up Next: See upcoming songs when playing music, and easily choose what plays next.
Bluetooth Keyboard: Use your Apple Wireless Keyboard to control your Apple TV.

[Via AppleInsider.com...]

Microsoft's Office 365 Subscription Service Coming Soon


I just found this on the Staples website while searching for "mac office".  Looks like we can expect the new Office 365 subscription service to go live in the very near future.

Below are the product details taken from the Staples website.


Product Details

You'll get more done when you can work from anywhere with Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium for Windows/Mac.

What’s Office 365?

Office 365 has the latest version of all the Office applications you know and love, plus cloud services so you can have Office when and where you need it. Just sign in and you can get to your Office files, applications, and settings from virtually anywhere.

Office 365 is an annual subscription. Microsoft and your Office retailer will let you know when it’s time to renew.
One convenient annual subscription for the whole household with automatic upgrades included so you’re always up to date with the latest features and services.
Install on up to 5 PCs, Macs, and Windows 8 tablets.*
The latest versions of: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access.**
An extra 20 GB of online storage in SkyDrive (27 GB total) for anywhere access to your documents.***
60 minutes of Skype™ calls each month to phones in 40+ countries.****

You'll get more done when you can work from anywhere with Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium for Windows/Mac. All of your favorite Office programs are available for immediate access whenever and wherever you need them, and all of your settings stay stored in the cloud so that you don't have to alter your preferences every time you log on. Whether you're sharing a grocery list with family members or working on a project that needs input from coworkers across the country, convenient sharing tools will help keep everyone on the same page.
Create Documents and Presentations
Use streaming full versions of Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and Publisher to create the presentation or document you envision on up to five PCs or Macs. New templates, including wide-screen documents and new PowerPoint themes, give you more options than ever before. You can also edit PDFs, embed videos, analyze data, and add photos and links to your projects.

Get Access Anywhere
Because all your work is stored in the cloud, you can sign into your account from anywhere and get instant access to your documents and files. You can also share your files with others and easily view any changes that are made, so collaboration is simple. Use OneNote to store clips, links, and anything else you come across so you can incorporate these items into future projects.

Now your Office is there whenever you need it.

-Be more productive with a full version of Office, no matter where you are.
-Sign in to get Office on your PC and Windows 8 tablet, Mac.*
-Each user can sign in to their Microsoft account to get to their documents, applications, and settings.
-You’ll always have the latest features and services, thanks to automatic version upgrades.


Sharing and communicating is easier.

-Get all the latest email, scheduling, and task tools for the entire household.
-Use OneNote to capture and share notes, pictures, web pages, voice memos, and more.2
-Allow others to read and scroll through your Word docs in real time through a browser, even if they don’t have Word.


Your favorite applications are smarter, too.

-Incorporate content from PDFs into Word documents quickly and easily.
-Add pictures, videos, or online media to your Word documents with a simple drag and drop.
-Create more visually compelling presentations with widescreen themes in PowerPoint.
-Find meaning in numbers faster with the Quick Analysis and Chart Animations in Excel.


What it includes:

-Office for the entire household on up to 5 PCs and Windows 8 tablets, Macs.*
-The latest versions of: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access.**
-An extra 20 GB of online storage in SkyDrive (27 GB total) for anywhere access to your documents.***
-60 minutes of Skype™ calls each month to phones in 40+ countries.****
-One convenient annual subscription for the whole household with automatic upgrades included so you’re always up to date with the latest features and services.


System Requirements:
Computer and Processor

1 GHz or faster x86 or 64-bit processor with SSE2 instruction set

Memory
1 GB RAM (32 Bit) /2 GB RAM (64 Bit)

Hard Disk
3.0 GB of available disk space

Operating System
Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 2008 R2 with .NET 3.5 or greater

Graphics
Graphics hardware acceleration requires DirectX10 graphics card

Additional Requirements
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8, 9, or 10; Mozilla Firefox 10.x or a later version; Apple Safari 5; or Google Chrome 17.x.

Other

Internet connection. Fees may apply.
Microsoft and Skype Accounts.
A touch-enabled device is required to use any multi-touch functionality. However, all features and functionality are always available by using a keyboard, mouse, or other standard or accessible input device. New touch features are optimized for use with Windows 8.
Product functionality and graphics may vary based on your system configuration. Some features may require additional or advanced hardware or server connectivity.

*Windows 7, Windows 8 OS, Windows Phone 7.5, Mac OS X version 10.5.8 required. Additional devices will be added in the future. Internet connection required. Internet and mobile telephone usage charges may apply.
**Access and Publisher available on PC only. OneNote not available on Mac OS.
***PC running Windows 7 or 8 and Internet connection required.
****See office.com/information for details. Skype account required. Excludes special, premium, and non-geographic numbers. Calls to mobile phones are for select countries only. Skype available only in select countries.
*****Internet and/or carrier network connectivity required; charges may apply.



[Via Staples.com...]

Apple Updates iOS to 6.1

While I am waiting to recover my iPhone 4S from a failed iOS 6.1 upgrade, we might as well read Apple's iOS 6.1 press release.


CUPERTINO, California—January 28, 2013—Apple® today updated iOS to version 6.1, adding LTE capabilities to 36 additional iPhone® carriers and 23 additional iPad® carriers around the world, so even more iPhone 5, iPad mini and iPad* with Retina® display users can experience ultrafast wireless performance** to browse, download and stream content at blazing fast speeds. To date, iOS users have uploaded over nine billion photos to Photo Stream, sent over 450 billion iMessages and received over four trillion notifications.

“iOS 6 is the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, and with nearly 300 million iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices on iOS 6 in just five months, it may be the most popular new version of an OS in history,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “iOS 6.1 brings LTE support to more markets around the world, so even more users can enjoy ultrafast Safari browsing, FaceTime video calls, iCloud services, and iTunes and App Store downloads.”

iOS 6 features include Siri®, which supports more languages, easy access to sports scores, restaurant recommendations and movie listings; Maps with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation and Flyover view; Facebook integration for Contacts and Calendar, with the ability to post directly from Notification Center, Siri and Facebook-enabled apps; Shared Photo Streams via iCloud®; and Passbook®, the simplest way to get all your passes in one place. Additional updates in iOS 6.1 include the ability to use Siri to purchase movie tickets in the US through Fandango, and iTunes Match℠ subscribers can download individual songs to their iOS devices from iCloud.

iOS 6.1 is available as a free software update today. iOS 6.1 is compatible with iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad (third and fourth generation), iPad mini, iPad 2 and iPod touch (fourth and fifth generation). Some features may not be available on all products.

You can read the complete iOS 6.1 press release on the Apple PR website.

[Via Apple.com...]

iOS 6.1 Upgrade on my iPhone 4S Has Just Gone BOOM! [Updated]

Earlier today, Apple released iOS 6.1 as an 85MB OTA update for my Sprint iPhone 4S.  Sweet!  That is until I run the upgrade and my iPhone ended up in "Recovery Mode".

I'll post periodic updates as I work through this issue.  The iPhone 4S is my first iPhone, I was a Palm Pre user before getting my iPhone in October 2011.  There have been a few OTA iOS updates since then, and they have all gone smoothly.  I'm not sure why this upgrade failed.  Naturally, I'm holding off upgrading my iPad 3 until I figure out what's going on.

If you have found yourself in the same situation, or want to learn more about Recovery Mode, check out Apple's support page on the subject.

Update 5 - 5:45am:

The OTA iOS 6.1 upgrade for my iPad 3 installed without any issues.

Update 4 - 9:00pm:

The iOS 6.1 recovery install from iTunes 11 running on my MacBook completed successfully.  Everything is back to normal and my iPhone 4S is ready to get back to work. Crisis averted.

Update 3 - 8:30pm:

The iTunes 11 download for iOS 6.1 is *finally* complete and I'm about to plug my iPhone 4S into my Mac - hopefully getting this update show back on the road and my iPhone back into working condition.  It sucks as a paperweight.

Update 2 - 7:30pm:

Well, we've got about 60% of iOS 6.1 downloaded and about another 45 minutes to go.  I haven't found any posts online yet to indicate that this is a wide spread issue.  I may just be 'lucky' tonight.

Update 1 - 6:50pm:

I'm downloading the iOS 6.1 update so I can install it on my iPhone and get it working again.  According to iTunes 11, the 920MB download will take about 85 minutes to complete the download.  Looks like it's going to be a long night.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Rumor: Apple Working on Less Expensive iPhone Model

According to an article that appeared in today's Wall Street Journal, Apple is rumored to be working on a lower cost version of their popular iPhone smartphone.

"Apple is working on a lower-end iPhone, according to people briefed on the matter, a big shift in corporate strategy as its supremacy in smartphones has slipped" reports the Journal.

We've heard rumors of cheaper iPhones before along side rumors of an "iPhone mini", however, it seems that this time around, Apple is taking a closer look at finally selling a high and low-end iPhone.  Up until now, Apple has favored keeping around the previous two years models as their less expensive purchasing options.

Here in the United States, customers typically purchase wireless carrier subsidized phones.  That means, that the newest iPhone, the iPhone 5, starts at $199, last year's iPhone 4S is $99, and the two-year old iPhone 4 is now free.  These prices all require that you purchase a 2-year service agreement.  If you chose to purchase an iPhone without a service contract, a 16GB iPhone 5 will cost you $649,  a 16GB iPhone 4S will cost you $549, and an 8GB iPhone 4 can be had for the low-low price of $450.  Not exactly "cost effective."

Now, factor in that in many other countries, wireless carriers do not subsidize the purchase cost of smartphones.  Customers have to pay the full price up front, but have the option of changing carriers without the hassle of early termination fees and other lock in tactics that U.S. carriers use to keep people tied to their service.  Suddenly those prices look insane for customers to purchase with the current global economic situation.

Making matters worse for Apple, Samsung has had an amazing year selling their Galaxy-line of smartphones in China and emerging markets.  At the end of 2012, Samsung was estimated to have about 31% of the worldwide smartphone market compared to Apple's 14.6%.  To put a finer point on it; the iPhone generates about 48% of Apple's total annual revenue.  Any perceived slowing or decline in Apple's global share is likely to send investors running for cover.

So, what might we expect from Apple should they decide to go to market with new version of the iPhone that will be less expense?  The Journal has this to say:
"Apple has been considering a less-expensive iPhone since at least 2009, viewing it as a way to grab market share and introduce people to the brand, said people familiar with the efforts. 
Before the launch of the iPhone 4 in mid-2010, the company developed designs for cheaper phones that were very similar to the iPhone at the time but had a less expensive back and sides, one of the people said."
You can read the full article online. (Subscription maybe required.)

[Via Wall Street Journal...]