On Monday, a pile of software brought news from Adobe and Microsoft, supported by two events that have traditionally been snoozers. This year we should have seen it coming. I want to explain why the Microsoft Ignite Conference, which apparently is more about IT and consumers, turned out to be a much larger deal than normal.
But first: we should have seen it coming from Adobe. It has been working for a long time on releasing Photoshop for the iPad Pro – and there are always some nice apps and announcements alongside. Dami Lee is present at the Amazon event and has deposited many great reports, hands-ons and interviews.
Both events reveal a common theme: support for multiple computer platforms. Both Adobe and Microsoft must go where their customers are instead of trying to keep them within their historic ecosystems. That may be a weird lens to view Adobe, but I think it fits: it must have contact points on every possible device that you could use, in order to get the flow of customers ready to move from amateurs to pro to hold.
With Microsoft, the theme of creating apps for multiple platforms is even more pronounced. Yesterday it announced major updates for apps for Android, macOS, iOS and internet. The biggest announcement focused on Windows turned out to be a cutback: the company must continue to support the old version of OneNote for longer than planned.
But on those other platforms – that competitive platforms – Microsoft is making full progress. Some of these updates are easy to pooh-pooh: of course Microsoft Office must make up for Android, because it has chosen Android as its own mobile operating system for the future. Of course it must make Outlook on the Mac good, because otherwise it would completely lose Mac users to GSuite.
In both cases, however, I do not know that in the Ballmer era we would have paid so much attention to apps on platforms that were not called Windows. It certainly would not have been certain. Satya Nadella started his term of office by launching Office for iPad during his very first public event as CEO. The software was clearly ready in advance, but choosing as his first announcement was a big signal to the outside world and to Microsoft's own employees: don't assume that Windows will last forever.
Tom Warren has been writing for a long time about how Microsoft is no longer focused on Windows and I went into battle a few times myself. It no longer counts as a great insight. But what is important to note is how strong Microsoft's efforts have been on iOS, Mac and the Internet in recent years. It is really remarkable.
In fact, let's stay on the internet. The company took the monumental decision to save its own browser engine and to switch to Chromium, technology that is usually developed by Google. It sends the release candidate for the new Edge browser and releases the final version in January. And Edge will – again – be available on multiple platforms, not just Windows.
There is another web story that is slightly more technical, but still important to keep an eye on – the & # 39; Fluid Framework & # 39; that Microsoft is developing. The idea is that instead of non-stop sharing .doc files with each other, there is a more & # 39; smooth & # 39; set of data in the cloud that you can share, edit together, and mix and match.
I strongly suspect that part of what Microsoft is promoting with the Fluid Framework is hand-wavy foofaraw. But at the heart of it is that Microsoft is investing in its web-based Office software instead of trying to force users back into the classic app suite.
I'm not suggesting that Microsoft is about to leave native Office apps and move everyone to the Internet (but if you wanted to point out the end of UWP Office apps as a harbinger, I wouldn't stop you). But there is an alternative universe where Google was not as stupid when it came to enterprise cloud services and competed more directly with Azure. The greatest power of Google in the field of cloud services is perhaps GSuite – and the movements of Microsoft ensure that Google is ready to pass Google if it ever comes together.
However, keep the details out of consideration: the point is that Microsoft is cleverly researching the platform landscape and making strategic investments to ensure that it is ready when the next shift comes.
If only Microsoft were as smart when it comes to its own platform: Windows 10.
Last night I published my review of the Microsoft Surface Pro X. I'm writing about it now and it was great for this purpose. Unfortunately, know if it will be great for that your purposes is more nonsense: you have to do a lot of research to know if the apps you need work well on this computer (or not at all!).
The Surface Pro X has turned out to be a disappointment because Microsoft has been unable to do what Microsoft never seems to be able to do: getting developers to work with their apps with new platform initiatives. Microsoft overcame the hard problem of running Windows 10 properly on an ARM chip to only solve the even more difficult problem of having apps to support one of its new platforms.
It all promises badly for next year a new taste of Windows, Windows 10X.
Of course we have seen this script before: with Windows RT, with Windows Phone and with UWP apps. It is possible that this time it will be different, but I am not particularly hopeful. Microsoft's own Edge browser – the one that is almost ready for official release – works in emulation mode on the Surface Pro X. Just like Microsoft Office.
By the way: I love internet and web apps! I think it's great that Microsoft is focused on improving both and I hope it will continue to focus on that. A world in which Windows essentially becomes a more capable form of Chrome OS, where native apps are mostly for powerful users, because the core platform performs web apps so well, sounds pretty good to me. It also sounds like a long way, if that's even where Microsoft is going.
But you cannot ignore the fact that Adobe entered the stage at the announcement of the Surface Pro X to show its support and to announce that Fresco was coming. From this moment it is not compatible. Nor are many other Adobe apps – and those who are are dog slow.
Adobe can only do so much, so quickly. It must set priorities and push development where the action is. Adobe Photoshop for the iPad Pro was released yesterday.
Just like Adobe, Microsoft must set priorities. I would like to believe that getting more compiled and optimized apps for the ARM architecture is just as important for the company as ensuring that Office works well in the cloud. If many ARM apps were to come to Windows, many companies could make new devices directly competitive with the iPad Pro. Windows on ARM can breathe new life into the Windows ecosystem in many exciting ways.
After completing the assessment of the Surface Pro X, I placed an order for the Intel-based Surface Pro 7.
+ Adobe Max 2019: all top announcements
+ Adobe & # 39; s Photoshop for the iPad is finally here, with even more features
Describing this version of Photoshop has always been a challenge. As Dami Lee points out, mentioning "real" makes people assume that they literally get every function of the desktop version. But it is real, in the sense that it is not limited in the way that most iOS apps from Adobe have been so far.
"This is the beginning," writes Photo Clark, Pam Clark product manager. "The first version of Photoshop on iPad focuses on … common tasks and workflows that we know will be useful for most Photoshop users." Adobe is careful to add more features over time, as the app's corporate labels as "real Photoshop" led to some early reports from beta testers who were disappointed that the software was not what they had hoped for.
+ This looks very nice: Adobe launches a free AI-powered Photoshop Camera app
+ Adobe Illustrator for iPad: all major functions: After Photoshop, this is the one that many people have been waiting for.
+ Adobe and Twitter design a system for permanently linking artist names to images
Today in "ideas that sound good in the beginning, but then the implementation details really get a little worrying:"
Tags would not be very useful if they could easily be changed or removed, but if the system preserves security by carefully checking how people can handle the image, it can have the same disadvantages as other digital rights management or DRM systems.
+ Microsoft Ignite 2019: all the news from the Microsoft IT event
+ Microsoft cooperates with Warner Bros. to store Superman in new glass storage
Literally everything that your data is currently stored will be unreadable in a hundred years. I don't think we should archive everything in glass, but much of our collective human knowledge is dangerously short-lived right now.
+ Microsoft brings OneNote 2016 desktop app back to life with the new dark mode
I am sure that many fans of this version of OneNote are very happy, but damn it is weird to see it hanging around for so long. I'm very surprised to see it incorporating new functions – wouldn't you want to use every single source to parity the more modern version? This seems to be a recognition that it will be a much longer project than it actually should be.
+ The new Office app from Microsoft for iOS and Android combines Word, Excel and PowerPoint
One app smaller than three apps == correct. But if you only wanted one of those three apps, one app larger than three apps == is not so good. I suppose as long as Microsoft maintains this app quickly and properly, it's worth it.
+ Microsoft: Slack does not have the "width and depth" to reinvent work
Tom Warren is exactly right when he points out that Slack is good for small and medium-sized companies, while Teams is good for large companies. Teams is closely linked to Office, which is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is clear, but the curse that I think is that it is harder (at least conceptually) for companies to simply pick up Teams as a single service if they are interested.
And I know that everyone always wants more functions, but I hope that when Microsoft goes through the integrations below, it is very careful. These plans smell … blown up.
"It's so easy for people to look at the two, Slack and Teams and compare them," explains Spataro. "From my perspective, it is just completely different approaches to the problem of being more productive." That problem drives Microsoft to make Teams the hub for collaboration, and it also means that the company relies on what it does best to integrate Outlook. , Office, Yammer, tasks and more in Teams.
+ Microsoft Teams get Outlook integration, support for tasks and more
I know I just raised the flag over bloat, but to be honest I am jealous as a Slack / GSuite user.
+ Outlook for Mac gets a new design and major performance improvements
+ The Edge Chromium browser from Microsoft will be launched on January 15 with a new logo
The big question I have is whether Windows 10 uses Chromium rendering in the entire operating system or only in this browser. The other big question I have is whether and when there will be a 64-bit native ARM version – also known as the version that will make this much better on the Surface Pro X.
+ Microsoft is looking at the future of Office documents with the Fluid Framework for the web
Pro: this is much more modern and flexible and useful than e-mailing .doc attachments.
Con: What are the chances that non-Microsoft apps have a chance to read these frameworks (I almost wanted to call them file formats, but the whole point is that this is a break with the whole concept of file formats).
TLDR: Unless these Fluid Frameworks are agnostic for which apps they are trying to access, they are cool but not part of the web.
"It takes the concept of what a document was and blows it up and replaces it with a big cloud address in the sky," Spataro reveals. "This allows you to place different content components at that cloud address, so everything from written word to tables to visualisations such as graphs all in one place." With Fluid you then have access to all this content in real time, so it is fully collaborative and can be shared with others.