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Microsoft confirmed today that it has completed Windows 8.1 and has started releasing it to manufacturers. This means that Windows 8.1 can now be loaded onto systems slated for launch on October 18. Unfortunately, Redmond is still going to make everyone wait until the 17 for their digital download or upgrade.
Unfortunately, those with MSDN and TechNet subscriptions will also have to wait until the general release date of October 18 to download Windows 8.1. And although the updated operating system is technically "finished," Microsoft will use the next few weeks to put the "finishing touches" on the new OS. A Microsoft spokesperson told The Verge that the software giant is "working with a limited set of partners who are building apps that will showcase the new functionality of Windows 8.1; however, we have nothing more to share at this time."
So there you have it; Windows 8.1 is finished and for all intents and purposes is ready to be installed on millions of PCs worldwide. It will be interesting to see what "polishing" Microsoft does to the OS between the preview copy and the released copy. But to be quite honest, Windows 8 still does nothing to excite me.
We know that there's an Apple event coming soon, on September 10, where we should meet the new iPhone 5S (and possibly, the cheaper iPhone 5C), but we should also hear about iOS 7, too.
Well, it looks like a developer named Owen Williams has received an e-mail stating that iOS 7 will be released to the general public on September 10. The e-mail in question comes from Nuance, who are best known as the company who behind the curtains of Apple's voice assistant, Siri. If iOS 7 is to drop on September 10, it opens the doors of possibility to same-day availability for the new iPhone...
Windows 8.1 isn't far away, but it looks like Microsoft's refreshed OS has just reached its Release to Manufacturing (RTM) stage on August 23. The news is coming from veterans of Microsoft reporting: Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott.
They've both cited sources close to the Redmond-based giant who have confirmed that Windows 8.1 reached RTM status on August 23, with a final build number of 9600.16384.130821-1623. But why didn't Microsoft announce they had reached RTM? Well, its CEO Steve Ballmer did announce his retirement in the last couple of days, which could be a very valid reason.
Let's hope he leaves on a high note with Windows 8.1, and doesn't regret it like he did with Windows Vista.
Apple is inching closer to the official release of OS X Mavericks, seeding out OS X Mavericks Developer Preview 6 to developers over the last 24 or so hours.
In Apple's release of Developer Preview 5, the Cupertino-based giant introduced both the Mac iMacs app and a new beta version of iPhoto. OS X Mavericks, which is expected to be released in the fall, will include multiple new features such as a tabbed Finder, full-screen dual-monitor capabilities, Safari improvements and a new Maps app.
Developers can grab the update through the Software Update tool in the Mac App Store.
Microsoft's "oh crap, we'd better update our new OS because everyone hates it" otherwise known as Windows 8, is to soon get updated to Windows 8.1, but now there's a new leaked version online in the form of build 9477.
Windows 8.1 build 9477 was seeded to OEMs three weeks ago, and has since leaked online. Microsoft will unleash Windows 8.1 to the world on October 18, and will be a free downloadable update to those running Windows 8. Windows 8 build 9477 is in Chinese, and "available online". This should be one of the last leaks we'll see, but there have been sightings of build 9484, too.
We're close, and hopefully consumers enjoy Windows 8.1 more because if not, it looks like Windows 9 could take a big step backwards, or a totally different jump forwards.
Apple has released the last beta of iOS 7 before it goes official, with iOS 7 beta 6 being the last beta we'll be graced with. Apple is expected to launch iOS 7 officially next month.
Before then, we should expect the golden master (GM) version of iOS 7 early next month, after which we'll see the official release, which should coincide with the iPhone 5S launch. I expect Apple to unleash iOS 7 with the iPhone 5S, which will go hand-in-hand with each other.
Apple is most likely crying into its upcoming iPhone 5S at this news, but Google's mobile OS, Android, is just dominating. Gartner has confirmed a recent report from the IDC that Android-based devices accounted for 79% of all smartphone shipments in Q2 2013.
This represents a record share for Android, that just continues to grow each and every day. Gartner found that vendors across the world shipped 178 million Android-based smartphones, with 40% of those being Samsung devices. Apple's market share on the other hand, shrank year-over-year from 19% in Q2 2012 to just 14% this year.
I've said it before, but I think Apple has jumped the iShark and these numbers prove it. Even Microsoft's mobile OS, Windows Phone, is increasing its market share, jumping from 2.6% in Q2 2012 to 3.3% in Q2 2013 shipping over 7.4 million devices.
It appears that yesterday's report from Mary Jo Foley about Microsoft releasing Windows 8.1 in October was correct. Today, the company confirmed that Windows 8.1 will be arriving in digital download format at 12:00AM on October 18 in New Zealand, which means it will launch in the US at 12:00AM on October 17.
While digital downloads go on sell on the 17, retail copies of the operating system will not be available for in-store purchase until October 18. Microsoft says that Windows 8.1 "continues the vision we began with Windows 8 and is an example of our commitment to continuous innovation and improvement for our customers. And Windows 8.1 brings many improvements in areas like personalization, Internet Explorer 11, search which is powered by Bing, built-in apps including a few new ones, an improved Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity with SkyDrive (and much more) that people will enjoy."
Since the announcement of Windows 8.1, Microsoft has publicly stated that it plans on launching the updated operating system sometime around the end of August, but a recent report from ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley suggests that we will not see an official release until the end of October.
"Unlike the case with Windows 8, however, I'm hearing scuttlebutt that Microsoft is not planning to make available the final Windows 8.1 bits to its MSDN or TechNet subscribers shortly after the release RTMs," wrote Foley. "In the case of Windows 8, Microsoft RTM'd on August 1 and made the RTM bits available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers in mid-August, even though consumers couldn't get the final version until late October 2012."
She went on to say that even though the Windows 8.1 final release could hit OEMs before the official public release, Microsoft could holdback OEM launches until after its launch event. What do you think about Windows 8.1? Have any of you tried out the release candidates? Let us know in the comments!
Apple is getting a little quicker with beta releases with iOS 7, with iOS 7 beta 5 already out. Build 11A4449a is the latest version of Apple's upcoming mobile OS, and includes an overhauled Settings app, which comes with colored icons, as you can see below.
Build 11A4449a also includes a new Control Center setting that allows you to turn it off while in apps, which stops Control Center from accidentally being opened up from the bottom of the app you're using. People have been complaining of Control Center seeing issues with controls and buttons located along the lower edge of an app's UI.
iOS 7 beta 5's way of working this out is with a new "Access Within Apps" option, which is either turned on, or off. As ZDNet stated, it would be good if Apple gave users the option of blacklisting specific apps, instead of all of them. The last few new features in iOS 7 beta 5 include an updated power off slider, new phone icons, banner notification pull-down behavior, new On/Off toggles in the Accessibility settings, as well as a new Twitter icon.