Ads 468x60px

Apple reportedly rejecting updates to Microsoft’s SkyDrive iOS app, wants 30 percent cut of subscrip

SkyDrive for iOS (iPhone screenshot 002)

Update: A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the situation to The Verge:

Microsoft has confirmed its latest SkyDrive iOS update is being delayed by Apple. A spokesperson says: "Similar to the experiences of some other companies, we are experiencing a delay in approval of our updated SkyDrive for iOS. We are in contact with Apple regarding the matter and hope to come to a resolution."

According to a report from The Next Web that cited sources close to Microsoft, Apple is currently preventing Microsoft from updating its SkyDrive iOS app due to a disagreement over whether Apple should collect its usual 30 percent cut of additional storage purchased through the service. TNW explained:

The difficulty began when Microsoft rolled out the ability for SkyDrive users to purchase more storage space on the service. From that point, the company was not permitted to update its application in the iOS App Store.

The reason? It doesn't pay Apple a 30% cut of subscription revenue generated by the application through the paid, additional storage. Microsoft, TNW has learned, has a new version of the application ready to go, including a key bug fix that would rectify a crashing bug, but cannot get it through.

In other words, Apple is apparently not allowing apps that offer or work with a subscription service outside of in-app purchases or the App Store. While we imagine that many smaller developers have been able to get around this stipulation, Apple's App Store review guidelines clearly states, "Apps utilizing a system other than the In App Purchase API (IAP) to purchase content, functionality, or services in an app will be rejected." It also stipulates, "Apps that unlock or enable additional features or functionality with mechanisms other than the App Store will be rejected."

According to the TNW, Microsoft attempted to compromise by offering to remove all subscription services from the app. Apple apparently refused:

Microsoft has persisted in trying to work out a compromise with Apple, but has thus far failed to come to an agreement. The company offered to remove all subscription options from its application, leaving it a non-revenue generating experience on iOS. The offer was rebuffed.

The report noted third-party developers that integrate SkyDrive using the official SDK are now experiencing delays in getting their app and updates approved for the App Store:

The second side to this is that Apple appears to be freezing out developers who build third-party applications that interact with SkyDrive, as the Microsoft service isn't paying a cut of its fees to Apple. Developer complaints are cropping up. For example, the following

Control the Acceleration Speeds of a Mac Mouse & Trackpad Separately

Smooth Cursor lets you independently control acceleration

Have you ever wished your MacBooks built-in trackpad could have a different acceleration curve than an external mouse? If you're a gamer or digital artist, you probably have. Sure, OS X lets you control the tracking speeds separately, but the acceleration curve is a whole other beast. In you're unfamiliar, we've discussed mouse acceleration in the past, explaining it as follows:

By default the mouse drivers count the movement of your mouse and depending on your sensitivity settings, the cursor will then move across the screen by a similar and consistent distance. Mouse acceleration is basically a threshold setting on top of this, so when the mouse is moved past a certain point or at a certain speed, the cursor itself moves more quickly and goes further, thus accelerating the movement speed and rate of the mouse cursor.

That acceleration curve is typically either loved or hated, and a lot of people switching over from the Windows world bemoan the perceived quirky behavior of the Mac mouse. Likewise, a lot of digital artists and gamers really hate the acceleration curves, because it can make precise movements very challenging. Up until now, the only real option was to completely disable acceleration for all input devices after OS X Lion & Mountain Lion changed the way acceleration was controlled, thereby preventing a previous control panel from separating the two.

But no anymore! Now there's a great free little app called Smooth Cursor that lets you control the acceleration speeds of the trackpad and mouse separately.

SmoothCursor works with OS X Lion and Mountain Lion onward, and it lets you fine-tune the normal acceleration, linear acceleration, and inverse acceleration, or just disable it completely for either the mouse or trackpad. In other words, you'll finally be able to keep acceleration on your trackpad, because it makes using the trackpad much faster, but disable it on an external mouse when you need to have precise control over cursor movement, like when drawing or gaming.

Heads up to The Graphic Mac for the great find.

Reply to Email Smarter By Quoting Selected Text in iOS Mail

We've all been there, part of an extraordinarily length email thread and there's really only a small portion of it that's necessary to respond to, but without the proper context the reply may not seem complete or even inappropriate. Rather than quoting the entire email and explaining the response, use smart quotes to reply only to a specifically selected portion of the email. You can do this on any iOS device in the Mail app:

  • Tap and hold on a text block to summon the traditional Copy/Paste/etc popup, and use the selection sliders to select the text to quote
  • Tap on the "Reply" button (little arrow), then tap "Reply"
  • The reply will contain only the selected text in quotes

You can verify the quoted text reply worked properly by swiping down to see the original selection as the only aspect of the email to be replied to. If the selected region includes a photo it will be included in the reply as well as part of the quoted text.

Reply to selected text on an iPhone with Mail

This is an excellent technique for responding to group email threads where tons of people are CC'ed on message with a neverending stream of replies that can quickly get confusing. Blockquote the text you want to reply to and email smarter.

The screenshot demonstrates this working on an iPhone, but this will work in the iOS Mail app on an iPad or iPod touch too. Actually, this little known feature works in many email clients, including Mail in OS X and even the web-based Gmail. Speaking of Gmail, don't miss our earlier post covering super simple tips to boost your Gmail productivity.

Yahoo Launches New Streamlined Mail Client for iPhone

Yahoo today launched an all new mail client across several platforms, including iOS, Windows 8, Android, and the Web.

According to Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer, speed and ease of use were the focus during the redesign of Yahoo! Mail.
You've told us loud and clear that you want fewer distractions when it comes to email. You want to quickly login, communicate, and get on with your day. And we've listened. Starting today, the new Yahoo! Mail is fast, easy and available anywhere you go. These improvements will be available on all major platforms: Web, Windows 8, iPhone/iPod touch and Android.

We've redesigned the new version of Yahoo! Mail with speed in mind – getting through your emails is faster than ever before. We've also made your inbox more intuitive and easier to navigate, allowing you to focus on what matters most: your messages. And, because mobile is everything these days, Yahoo! Mail now has a consistent look and feel across devices.
The new Yahoo! Mail app features a simple, clean interface with Yahoo's signature purple accents. It is similar in design to Sparrow, with an uncluttered inbox and a collapsible folder pane on the left side of the screen. The app has push notifications, infinite scroll, and quick photo insertion.

An additional blog post from from Vivek Sharma, General Manager of Yahoo! Mail and Messenger, states that Yahoo! Mail's underlying performance has been enhanced, making it faster to read and compose messages.
Our new, native apps have been built for speed. You can easily scan your inbox and quickly triage – starring important messages that need follow-up, filing messages to folders and deleting unimportant ones – all from the inbox. With infinite scroll, you can quickly find emails from last month or even, last year.

We've also reduced steps to save you time. When you log into Yahoo! Mail on the Web, it'll take you directly to your inbox. We've tweaked the underlying performance so it's faster to compose and read messages. After you send a message, we now take you right back to the inbox. Collectively, that works out to 36 million minutes saved every day.
Yahoo! Mail for iOS, which launched today in the App Store, is available for iPhone users. Yahoo! Mail apps for Windows 8 and Android are also available today, and the web version will roll over the next few days.

Low Turnout for iPad Mini Launch in China, But Scalpers Still Hoarding Supplies

The Wall Street Journal reports that turnout for the launch of the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad in China today was fairly low, with Apple's lottery system and two-per-person limits for in-person sales of the iPad mini said to be making it more difficult for scalpers to run their operations.

iPad mini on display at Apple's Sanlitun retail store in Beijing

The scalpers were still present, however, as the report notes that a number of them were set up some distance away from Apple's Sanlitun store in Beijing to collect units purchased by others.
On Friday morning, Apple's Sanlitun store opened to no crowds, but a large group of scalpers was standing a hop and skip from the store entrance collecting iPad Minis from Chinese customers in exchange for cash. Behind them, on a nearby bench, sat tall stacks of the devices.
A Wall Street Journal reporter was accosted by the scalpers after he tried to film the scene, but Apple and mall security declined to intervene in the situation.
Li Yongqiang, 18, said he wasn't picked in the lottery to purchase the iPad Mini but still arrived at 8:30 a.m. to observe the atmosphere. Mr. Li said scalpers met with a crowd of about a hundred outside the Apple store to discuss the process of purchasing the iPad Mini. The crowd appeared to be predominantly made up of customers there to purchase the product on behalf of scalpers, he added. It's not clear how the scalpers were able to get so many of their people selected for the lottery.
Apple continues to hold a dominant share of the tablet market in China as it does in many countries around the world, and with China now responsible for 15% of the company's revenue, Apple is no doubt hoping for strong sales of the latest devices heading into the end of the year.

Apple Fixes Australian Map Error That Caused Police Warning, Issue Traced to Official Gazetteer

A day after police in Victoria, Australia issued a warning to motorists advising them not to rely on Apple Maps for directions to the town of Mildura due to a location error that led several drivers to become stranded in remote Murray-Sunset National Park, The Guardian reports that Apple has fixed the error.

Purple pin represents actual location of Mildura; red pin represents original incorrect location

The error placed the town of Mildura some 45 miles away from its actual location and led to numerous motorists being stranded. The Victoria police responded by describing using the app to navigate as "potentially life-threatening."

While the label on Apple's maps has not yet been updated to show the correct location of Mildura, searches for and directions to the town now show the proper location.

Interestingly, The Register reports that the error was not entirely Apple's fault, as the incorrect location was included in the official Australian Gazetteer.
In this case, the Australian Gazetteer – the authoritative list of 300,000-plus placenames, complete with coordinates – includes two Milduras. One is the "real" town, the other is an entry for "Mildura Rural City", coordinates -34.79724 141.76108. It's this second entry that points to the middle of the Murray-Sunset National Park, just near a spot called Rocket Lake.
The report notes that this second point that Apple was mistakenly associating with searches for Mildura is in fact simply the geographic center of the area included within the Mildura Rural City local government area and thus does not correspond to the actual city of Mildura.

In his recent TV interview with Brian Williams, Tim Cook said that Apple "screwed up" with Maps and was now "putting the entire weight of the company behind correcting it." The company does, however, still have a significant amount of work ahead of it as it tries to catch up with Google's years-long head start.

10 Tips You Need to Know About Mac Preview

mac previewOf all the default applications that come with the Mac OS X operating system, Preview might be the one I use the most. As picture viewers (and PDF readers) come, it's an amazingly slick and powerful tool, doing everything you'd come to expect, and then some.

That's one of the most crucial issues with these kind of  apps – you take them for granted, and think you know them inside out, but the chances are you don't.

Rather more likely is the fact that Preview is still hiding some succulent feature beneath its surface, because however lightweight it feels, make no mistake – it's riddled with features. Below, we've listed ten Preview-related tips and features that you definitely need to know about.

1. Open Multiple Files In One Preview Window

Preview is very apt at handling multiple files at once. You can open one file after the other, creating a separate preview window for each file, but it's much easier to work with multiple files in a single preview window.

mac preview

To do this, just select multiple files in Finder using your mouse or the shift and cmd keys, and open them. By opening all these files at once, they will show in a single Preview window, with a file overview in the Preview sidebar.

2. Delete Files

If you have multiple files open in a single preview window, you can use Preview to move one or more of these files to the trash. This is great for culling the bad pictures from a big selection of photographs or screenshots.

Select the files you'd like to delete among the thumbnails in the Preview sidebar, right-click and select Move To Trash, or press cmd+backspace.

3. Create A File From The Clipboard

Since Mac OS X automatically renders files from your screenshots, this feature isn't often highlighted. However, if you copy a picture from a website, or copy a selection of another picture to your clipboard, it's a great tool to have in your toolbox.

To create a new file from the clipboard, just select File -> New from Clipboard, or press cmd+N.

4. Manage & Merge PDF Files

You probably already know of Preview's ability to read PDF files, but it can do much more with those PDF files than just showing them to you. Most of the tips above and below that apply to pictures also apply to PDF files. However, the one feature that stands out is Preview's ability to manage and merge PDF files.

preview mac os

Rearranging PDF files in Preview is as simple as dragging the pages around in Preview's thumbnail sidebar. You can even select multiple pages before rearranging them. Deleting a page works just as described for pictures above, you select one or more pages and press cmd + backspace to delete them from the PDF. Finally, to merge two PDF files, just open one file and drag another in Preview's thumbnail sidebar.

5. File Sharing

It's very easy to share your pictures or documents to friends and colleagues right from within preview. This includes emailing, using iMessage, AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.

preview mac os

To share a file from Preview, just press the share icon at the top of the document (which looks like a box with an arrow inside), and select one of the sharing options. You can also add the picture to iPhoto the same way.

6. Annotation Tools

Preview comes with a wealth of annotation tools. You can draw shapes, arrows and text boxes on any kind of document, with varying color and line width. When you're browsing a PDF document, you can also use Preview to highlight individual sentences.

preview mac os

The full array of annotation tools becomes visible when you press the annotation icon next to the search field, or select Tools -> Annotate.

7. Select & Cropping Tools

You don't need a copy of PhotoShop for rudimentary photo manipulation. One of the things that Preview does almost as well is extracting elements of an image. When you press the annotation icon (left of the search field), a number of selection tools appear to the right of your screen. These include a rectangular selector, elliptical selector, lasso selection, smart lasso and instant alpha.

about mac preview

Using smart lasso, click in an area and slightly drag your mouse in any direction to specify the amount of tolerance that should be used in marking out the boundaries of that area's selection. You can then copy that selection to your clipboard and create a new document as outlined above, or press backspace to make that part of your image transparent.

8. Color Management

A different kind of photo manipulation is provided through Preview's built-in color management. Again, you can view this option by pressing the annotation button next to the search field, or by selecting Tools -> Annotate.

about mac preview

Pressing the prism icon in the annotation bar will open the Adjust Color pane. Hear you can tweak the picture's levels, exposure, contrast, saturation, sharpness, and more.

9. Built-In Version History

In later versions of Mac OS X, Preview comes with built-in version support. This means you can go back in time and go through a number of different iterations of your file, Time Machine-style.

about mac preview

To do so, go to File -> Revert To -> Browse All Versions, or press the little disclosure triangle next to a file's name in the title bar and select Browse All Versions.

10. Lock That Document

As you've seen above, Preview provides a lot of ways to manipulate a document. Sometimes we're looking for exactly the opposite: keeping it safe from careless hands. Luckily, Preview is able to lock a document on your request.

mac preview

To lock a document, press the disclosure triangle next to the document's name in the title bar as show above. In the ensuing drop-down menu, select Lock. This is also where you'll be able to later unlock the document.

Do you know of any other exciting Preview tricks? Let us know in the comments section below the article!

Apple iPad Mini Review and Giveaway

ipad mini reviewThis is a much overdue review, I'll admit, but instead of publishing a breezy overview of the iPad mini, I wanted to experience and integrate it in my daily life in order to truly tell you if Apple's latest creation — this overpriced 7.9″ tablet — is really worth spending so much money on.

Before we begin, here's a disclaimer: I love all Apple products from iPhones to iMacs. But when the iPad mini was announced, I wasn't so sure. Anyway, we purchased a Slate 16GB iPad mini (WiFi-only model) for $329 to find out if Apple poured as much heart and soul into it; as they have for their previous products. After the review, we're giving this 16GB iPad mini away to one MakeUseOf reader!

Introducing the iPad mini

I own several Apple products that I use on a daily basis: several iPads, an iPhone, a MacBook and an iMac. What pushed me to purchase an iPad mini over a cheaper Android tablet of the same class was the fact that it runs iOS and therefore, would technically integrate seamlessly with the rest of my gear. And to be clear, I had my doubts about the iPad mini. I feared that it would under-perform and infuriatingly disappoint. And after using it for about 4 weeks, I'm happy to announce that even though it isn't fitted with a Retina Display, the iPad mini managed to edge out an iPad 3 from my daily workflow. Surprised?

ipad mini review

One thing's for sure, it feels damn good to use…

If you own any Apple product running iOS, you will most definitely feel familiar with the iPad mini. It's a 7.9″ tablet that sits comfortably in Apple's product lineup between the iPhone 5 (and iPod touch) and the iPad. In fact, Apple sometimes refers to it as the iPad, dropping the mini because they feel that it's every inch an iPad. Some critics (and users) feel that it's merely a blown up iPod touch. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't; but one thing's for sure, it feels damn good to use — better than an iPod touch anyway.

In terms of pricing, the iPad mini is dearer than any of its current competition. The base 16GB WiFi-only iPad mini costs $329, while the 16GB Google Nexus 7 is only going for $199. However, if you're contemplating a 7″ tablet, it's vital to first determine your budget and select the device which runs the operating system you're more familiar with. For example, if you've used an iPhone for several years and have spent a decent amount of money on purchasing applications, paying for the iPad mini makes more sense because you will be able to use those apps on your new iPad mini at no further cost. In fact, the price of a Nexus 7 and re-purchasing those apps for the Android operating system may cost you even more money, or at the very least even out the cost so you may not be saving as much as you'd think. On the other hand, if you're already an Android OS user, the iPad mini is undeniably overpriced — in that case, you'd be better off with a Nexus 7.

Initial impressions

The iPad mini is shipped in exactly the same way as the iPad, except everything is smaller and lighter. In fact, I was stunned at how light the box containing the iPad mini was.

ipad mini review

After some delicate unwrapping, I was presented with the iPad mini, surrounded in a sheet of plastic, protecting it while in transit. I get a whiff of a brand new Apple device and am instantly brought back to the day I unboxed my MacBook in 2008. Other than the device itself, Apple included some documentation, Apple stickers, a Lighting cable, and a 5W power adapter. I thought that was rather odd because iPads are traditionally packaged with 10W power adapters.


The iPad mini sports a 7.9″ LED-backlit multitouch IPS display with a resolution of 1024 x 768 at 163 PPI with an aspect ratio of 4:3. Let me help you digest that information: by having a 4:3 aspect ratio, existing applications for the iPad will run on the iPad mini without any intervention from the developers (unlike the iPhone 5, which forced the developers to redesign their apps to fit the new screen). At 163 pixels-per-inch, the screen is packed with more pixels per square inch than the iPad 2. Even though it's a far cry from a Retina Display with 264 PPI (on an iPad, 326 PPI on the iPad 5), I'll admit that I'm quite pleased with the screen but I'd prefer a Retina Display any day.

ipad mini review

I'd prefer a Retina Display any day.

At just under 13.5 cm in width, the iPad mini is barely small enough to hold in one hand. When I say "barely", I mean that it easily lays flat on my hand but grasping it can be uncomfortable, even though it's insanely light. So I find myself holding it pretty much how I would hold an iPad.

ipad mini review

Apple's decision to release the iPad mini in 2 colours bodes well with me. The Slate looks absolutely gorgeous. However, the anodised back panel is quite prone to scratches, so enjoy it while you can because it's ultimately going in a case.

ipad mini review

Reviewing the iPad mini

In this review, I won't be going through the device with you, pointing out the position of the sleep/wake button or how small the home button is. Instead I'll try to explain how the iPad mini performs in an everyday setting and how it compares to an iPad. Hopefully, my review will help you ascertain if the iPad mini is for you — a question many people are asking themselves.

ipad mini review
There's no doubt that the iPad mini is a beautiful thing. The large-ish 7.9″ display with a narrow bezel looks great. The rear anodised panel is lovely to touch. The whole ensemble is amazingly light. But is it really worth your money? $329 to be exact. Here's what you're getting:


  • dual-core Apple A5 chip
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 16GB flash memory
  • 802.11a/b/g/n wireless
  • 1.2MP front-facing camera
  • 5MP rear camera

Totally unimpressive, if I'm honest. The iPad mini wasn't built to be revolutionary. With similar specifications as the iPad 2, a device released in 2011, it's safe to say that the iPad mini is relatively backwards.

ipad mini review

So if the iPad mini is fitted with hardware from 2011, how does it perform? Well, that really depends on what you use it for, and I've found that the iPad mini is pretty disappointing as a mobile browser. 512MB of RAM isn't sufficient to handle multiple browser tabs, which means that my browsing sessions are limited to running a couple of tabs at any given moment. Once the memory limit is reached, background tabs have to be reloaded once they're brought into view. It's an annoyance, for sure.

ipad mini review

Even though the iPad mini isn't made from the latest and greatest hardware, I still find myself reaching for it instead of my iPad.

On the bright side, the iPad mini is quite lightweight, which makes it extremely portable. While my iPad has a relatively fixed spot in my house i.e. my coffee table, I find myself bringing the iPad mini with me wherever I go — to bed, to my study, to the kitchen. Ever since I took it out of the box, I'm hardly separated from it. So even though the iPad mini isn't made from the latest and greatest hardware, I still find myself reaching for it instead of my iPad.

ipad mini review

The iPad mini has outstanding battery life, which makes it the ideal travel companion.

In a recent study by British consumer group Which?, it was revealed that the iPad mini's battery life was the best performing among competing 7″ tablets and managed to squeeze out 13 hours of web browsing, blowing other devices such as the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7 out of the water. And I completely concur. The iPad mini has outstanding battery life, which makes it the ideal travel companion.

ipad mini review

Lately, I'm highly enjoying the experience of reading ebooks on the iPad mini. The combination of a 7.9″ screen and awesome battery life in a featherweight device is really quite enticing.


Yes, unfortunately, the list of annoyances continues. In addition to the lack of memory, I've found that the bezels on the sizes are extremely thin. So thin, in fact that there's almost not enough room to grip the device securely with one hand without touching the screen.

ipad mini review

And even though Apple has supposedly released a firmware update to address the issue, I still find myself unintentionally flipping through pages in iBooks as I search for a spot to rest my thumb.

Should you buy the iPad mini?

To be honest, this isn't an easy question to answer. The iPad mini isn't exactly cheap, so it's not as easy as forking out the money just to give it a go. However, if you're already heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, the iPad mini integrates itself very well, and you'll find that an intermediary device between your iPhone and iPad is a welcome addition.

Personally, I felt very let down by its hardware. For the price I paid, the iPad mini should outperform other 7″ tablets in the market. But it doesn't (well, except for battery life). And it doesn't have a Retina Display, which is a deal-breaker for some people.

ipad mini review

So I guess, the iPad mini is a bit of a controversial device. It's made by Apple using hardware from 2011, and it feels to me that they rushed it and didn't quite make it to be the best that it can be.