Another week and another weekly Surface News Roundup for your reading pleasure.
This week, it’s mostly about money with 3 of the 4 stories focusing on sales, competition, and acquisitions. Here’s the rundown for you:
- Microsoft Ships 6 Million Surface Tablets in 2015
- iPad Pro Outships Surface in Q4
- Microsoft Buys Swiftkey
- Redstone Build 14257 released on the Fast Ring
Alright, let’s get started… [divider]
Weekly Surface News Roundup: Microsoft Ships 6 Million Surface Tablets in 2015
Microsoft managed to ship an impressive 2.5 million Surface tablets during Q4 of 2015. This resulted in a total of 6 million units being sold during 2015.
That happens to be 50% higher than the market expectations of four million. This is good news for Microsoft and it keeps on coming since many analysts are expecting the Surface to continue to grow by as much as 30% (or 8 million units) in 2016.
This is at a time when global notebook shipments are expected to remain weak in 2016.
Weekly Surface News Roundup: iPad Pro Outships Surface in Q4
Despite coming in at 150% of projections and selling 1.6 Million Surface tablets, Microsoft could not beat the Apple iPadPro for the total number of tablets sold during the last quarter of last year. Apple sold an impressive 2 million iPad Pros during Q4 of 2015.
So, if the Surface is so good, why did the iPad Pro outsell it?
There’s several factors, not the least of which is the sheer number of Apple fans who tend to buy anything Apple puts out. Also, let’s not forget that both the SP4 and Surface Book have had some growing pains (especially with power and battery drain issues) which probably hurt adoption.
To me, however, the ratios and percentages are more important. You see, the IDC has said that the world-wide tablet market is down as much as 13.7% compared to last year with Apple’s losses as high as 24.8%. These losses in the tablet market are expected to continue. Microsoft, on the other hand, is actually seems to be gaining market share.
I think, over time, we’ll continue to see Microsoft gain ground on Apple in the tablet market. Of course, that is dependent on Microsoft fixing the ongoing issues with the SP4 and Surface Book.
Weekly Surface News Roundup: Microsoft Buys Swiftkey
If you have an iPhone or Android phone, you may be familiar with the popular 3rd party keyboard Swiftkey.
If you’re not, Swiftkey is an intelligent keyboard that learns your writing style and can predict what you’re trying to say. It’s also pretty good at correcting your spelling mistakes on the fly (I know I could use this). The result is a faster typing with fewer mistakes.
With this technology, Microsoft can be making the onscreen keyboard on the Surface (and perhaps the rumored Surface Phone) much faster and easier to use. Take a look at the video above to see what Swiftkey can do for you.
Related: Microsoft [divider]
Weekly Surface News Roundup: Redstone Build 14257 released on the Fast Ring
Folks on the “Fast Ring” of the Windows insider program now have access to Redstone build 14257. This newest test build of Windows 10 offers a multitude of bug fixes but, also, one very important new feature… Extensions for Microsoft Edge.
As you may know, Edge has had a rather limited feature set. This is, mainly, because of the lack of extensions. With the new build, I’m hoping that Edge will be more useful to me than before.
In addition, Microsoft has announced a change in methodology for the insider build releases. In the past, Windows Insiders would see a new build every 30 days or so. Starting now, Microsoft is planning on sending out builds as frequently as every week but with fewer changes between releases.
If you’re curious about the fixes included with Build 14257, here’s a complete list:
- The issue of periodic app crashes or other memory related app errors due to a memory management change has been resolved. If you were having issues launching the Git client for Windows, you should now be able to launch it in this build.
- The Connect button now shows up again in Action Center.
- F12 Developer Tools will now load correctly Microsoft Edge.
- Fixed an issue where suggested apps were being shown on the Start menu even though “Occasionally show suggestions in Start” was turned off under Settings > Personalization > Start.
- Fixed an issue where if you try to change the Lock screen picture with “Get fun facts, tips, tricks and more on your lock screen” turned on it will revert back to the default.
- Fixed an issue where the positions of desktop icons get jumbled up after switching DPI settings from 100% to 150% or 175%.
- Also fixed an issue where pasting files into a new .zip file (compressed folder) in File Explorer by either right-clicking or Control-V would not work. You should be able to paste tiles into new .zip files just fine now.
Also, since this is a “test” version of Windows, here’s a list of known issues that will (presumably) be fixed in an upcoming release:
- If you choose “Reset This PC” under Settings > Update & Security > Recovery — your PC will be in an unusable state. There is no workaround if your PC gets into this state and you will need to reinstall Windows. This issue will be fixed in the next build. You can still rollback to the previous build if for some reason this build doesn’t work out for you. This bug also existed in Build 14251 so please avoid resetting your PC on these builds.
- You might see a WSClient.dll error dialog after logging in. We’re working on a fix for this but as a workaround, you can run the following in Command Prompt with administrative rights: schtasks /delete /TN “\Microsoft\Windows\WS\WSRefreshBannedAppsListTask” /F. This issue will be fixed in the next build.
- The front-facing camera is unusable on PCs with Intel RealSense resulting in being unable to use Windows Hello or any other apps that utilize the front-facing camera.
- After logging in to your PC, you may hit a UI issue in which Airplane Mode will incorrectly show as “on” even though your PC’s Wi-Fi is powered on. This is due to a timing issue between how the UI communicates and waits for the underlying platform to respond. The UI for Airplane Mode essentially does not wait long enough for the device’s physical radios to power on before reporting the current state. You can toggle the Airplane Mode on and off to get Airplane Mode back to showing the correct state.
If you’re interested in being a Windows Insider, you can head on over to Microsoft’s Windows Insider webpage and get signed up. The upside is that you’ll get access to new features and fixes sooner than “normal” users. The downside is that you’re beta testing for Microsoft and might run into some problems.
Related: Microsoft [divider]
OK, that’s it for this week. I’ll be back with another weekly Surface news roundup for your enjoyment and information.
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.