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By Jay Bonggolto
Microsoft starts rolling out trackpad support to Office apps for iPadOS
by Jay Bonggolto
Microsoft today announced fresh updates for its Office apps on iPadOS that introduce full support for trackpad capabilities, among others. The latest changes are live for those using Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on the iPad.
The software giant says the new updates should come in handy if you're using a mouse or Apple’s Magic Keyboard to move around texts in Word, resize content in PowerPoint, or select cells in Excel, for example. The cursor also automatically adjusts its function according to the content you're working on.
If you have been using these Office apps on Windows or macOS, the new iPad experience will look familiar to you. That said, today's announcement is not entirely surprising since a report earlier this year suggested that Microsoft would add trackpad support for its Office suite apps on iPadOS.
In addition, the Redmond-based company has introduced new start screens and a fresh ribbon of feature menus to the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint experiences. It says these enhancements provide a "cleaner and more modern" look in line with its Fluent UI design.
These updates are rolling out in phases and should be available to everyone in the next few weeks. In the future, Microsoft has promised to bring multiple document support in Excel, contextual menus, and offline file support for cloud files.
By Jefferson Mangubat
Apple could launch a smaller, second-gen AirPods Pro and an entry-level AirPods next year
by Jefferson Mangubat
Apple is reportedly planning to introduce two new models of its AirPods lineup next year, including an entry-level AirPods and a second-generation AirPods Pro. Bloomberg reports that the low-end AirPods may debut in the first half of 2021.
The entry-level model will be the third iteration of the standard AirPods last refreshed in March of last year for $159 while the Pro version will succeed the $249 model. One of the notable changes supposedly set to be introduced by the new AirPods Pro is a stemless design that bears a closer resemblance to the earbuds from competitors like Samsung.
On the other hand, the entry-level AirPods are likely to keep the stems protruding from the ears like those of the current AirPods Pro, which are slightly shorter than the regular AirPods. This corroborates an earlier forecast by TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Additionally, the standard earbuds may feature replaceable ear tips and longer battery life, although noise cancellation is said to be missing.
Both earbuds are reportedly powered by new wireless chips from Apple. Interestingly, the rumored launch of new AirPods next year comes at a time when Apple no longer includes the EarPod headphones along with the iPhone inside the box, beginning with the iPhone 12 series. It remains to be seen how its new strategy will affect sales of its upcoming AirPods lineup.
Apple is also said to be developing another HomePod model that could fall in between the latest HomePod and HomePod Mini. A pair of over-ear headphones with a noise-canceling feature is also reportedly in the works.
Google raises its sustainability goals, will make plastic-free packaging by 2025
by João Carrasqueira
Google is stepping up its sustainability game with new goals for its own hardware products, the company announced today. Last year, the search giant had already set some goals in this regard, such as using recycled materials in all of its new products by 2022, but it reached that goal early, as all Pixel and Nest devices released this year use recycled materials to some extent.
In that light, Google is setting some more ambitious goals. For starters, the company is committing to using at least 50% recycled or renewable plastic materials across all of its products by 2025, with recycled materials being prioritized whenever possible.
On top of that, Google wants to achieve UL 2799 Zero Waste to Landfill certification for all of its final assembly facilities by 2022, ensuring the "vast majority" of the waste from its manufacturing processes are recycled. The certification in question requires at least 90% of waste materials to be diverted through methods other than waste, with varying levels of the certification being awarded for higher percentages, though Google didn't point toward a more specific goal.
Finally, Google is committing to using completely plastic-free packaging that's also 100% recyclable by 2025. it also renewed its commitment to ensure that shipping of its products to and from direct customers is carbon neutral.
By Abhay V
YouTube's mobile apps get player UI updates, gesture to toggle full-screen, more
by Abhay Venkatesh
YouTube today announced a bunch of new enhancements making it to the service’s mobile apps that improves usability and adds a few new features. These improvements include a new gesture for switching to a full-screen view, additions to the video player and the Video Chapters feature, and much more.
The first of the improvements is to the recently introduced Video Chapter feature that lets creators segment videos into parts for easier viewing. The firm is adding a nifty new list view for chapters that lists them all with preview thumbnails that let users easily navigate to their desired section of the video. This negates the need to scrub through the chapters on mobile devices to locate users’ desired segments.
There are a bunch of improvements to the video player itself. An icon to toggle Closed Captions is now present on the player, saving users the effort of navigating to the menu and turning them on. The icon is accompanied by the autoplay toggle that is now being moved to the top from below the player. Another addition is the ability to switch between elapsed time and a countdown timer for the video timestamp by simply tapping on it. While some users might have had this feature for a while, it looks like the addition is being made widely available.
The firm is also adding a new gesture. Now, users can swipe up on the player to toggle to full-screen, just like the swipe down gesture to toggle out of the full-screen view. There are new suggested actions that show up at the bottom to prompt users to rotate their screens or use the VR view, depending on the video. The company says that it is working to add more suggestions in the future.
Lastly, the search giant is adding ‘Bedtime Reminders’ to aid users in limiting their app usage before heading to bed. The digital wellbeing feature is being added to the list of current controls that offer break reminders and notification controls.
The features are rolling out to the YouTube apps for Android and iOS starting today.
Microsoft announces new improvements for PowerPoint for Mac
by João Carrasqueira
Microsoft has announced some improvements that are making their way to PowerPoint for Mac today, along with some other forthcoming improvements. One of the most notable additions that's coming soon is the ability to record video of the presenter during a slideshow.
With remote learning being fairly common these days, the ability to record videos presentations along with presenter video should help educators make more engaging content. Additionally, Microsoft is adding the ability to record inking as well as laser pointer movements during a slideshow. Office Insiders can try these features early, but they should come to general users soon.
In the meantime, some features that were already being tested by Insiders are making the jump and becoming available for everyone. For one thing, it's now possible to record audio files and insert them into a presentation on the fly. You can also export PowerPoint presentations as animated GIFs, complete with the ability to set the image quality and how many seconds should be given to each frame.
Finally, PowerPoint for Mac is getting the ability to generate links to a specific slide in a presentation. All of these features should be available today.