News started off relatively slow in the first week of 2023. That was not the case as the year continued. Over the last seven days we saw reports about the Surface Duo 3, and Microsoft shift Teams features to its Premium service. Plans for an upgrade to the Windows 11 File Explorer also emerged alongside other news in the land of Microsoft and PCs.
Surface Duo 3
The Microsoft Surface Duo 3 is dead, well, at least a version of it. According to our senior editor Zac Bowden, Microsoft scrapped its plans for a dual-screen Surface Duo 3. Instead, the company is working on a device with an internal folding display, much like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, Vivo X Fold, and HONOR Magic Vs.
Microsoft already had a near-final design for a dual-screen Surface Duo 3, but the company made a late shift in its plans. That device with two displays was set to ship at the end of 2023, but its replacement foldable with a single internal display is unlikely to come out this year.
Not much is known about the exact shape or style of the Surface Duo 3. In fact, that may not even be the device's name. Microsoft may opt for new branding when it makes such a dramatic shift in form factor.
Bowden also shared information about a potential traditional slab phone from Microsoft. He also talked about the tech giant's efforts to bring together Android and Windows devices.
Apple Apps on Windows 11
New Apple applications made their way in preview to Windows 11 this week. Apple Music, Apple TV and Apple Devices are all available through the Microsoft Store.
In what might be the largest surprise about Apple's apps on Windows 11, they aren't terrible! Our Editor-in-Chief Daniel Rubino showed off the preview version of the Apple apps this week. Unlike Apple's archaic iTunes, the new Apple Music and Apple TV apps are modern apps that fit right in on Windows 11.
Perhaps the best part about these new apps is that they'll remove the need to have iTunes installed on a PC. That piece of software has received hate — deservedly so — for years.
Apple TV support 4K UHD content and even has several modes, including full screen, windowed, and mini-Windows player that can float above other apps.
Apple Devices didn't work in Rubino's testing, but all of the apps are in preview so bugs can be excused.
Teams losing features
Microsoft Teams Premium is a new service from Microsoft that aims to enhance the experience of the popular communication platform. It has AI tools, security enhancements, and features to customize meetings and webinars. Team Premium is scheduled to roll out in February 2023, but it's not all good news for Teams users.
Some features that have been available on the version of Microsoft Teams that comes with Microsoft 365 will become Teams Premium features. As a result, people will have to pay extra to continue to use certain tools that have already been available as part of their existing subscription.
Specifically, these features are moving from Teams to Teams Premium:
- Live translated captions.
- Timeline markers in Teams meeting recordings for when a user left or joined meetings.
- Custom organization Together mode scenes.
- Virtual Appointments: SMS notifications.
- Virtual Appointments: Organizational analytics in the Teams admin center.
- Virtual Appointments: Scheduled queue view.
There will be a 30-day grace period where Teams users can continue to use the features. After that, they'll need a Teams Premium license to keep the tools.
As a point of clarification, the features that are shifting are moving from Teams to Teams Premium. The free version of Teams will be unaffected.
File Explorer update
Microsoft has plans to modernize File Explorer on Windows 11, based on code discovered by Twitter user FireCube. Elements were spotted in the latest Windows 11 preview builds that suggest a completed new interface is on the way to File Explorer. At the moment, File Explorer includes a mix of new and old designs.
The discovered code made references to several new features and areas that are likely regarding Microsoft 365.
Our Senior Editor Zac Bowden added that according to his own sources, File Explorer will become more touch friendly.
AI tools are all the rage these days. Microsoft's VALL-E made headlines for its ability to replicate any voice using only a three-second sample. Unlike many AI models, VALL-E can simulate the emotional inflection of a clip. A paper out of Cornell University discussed the use of VALL-E to synthesize several voices.
The clips range quite a bit in quality. Some are almost convincing while others are clearly robotic. Like most AI tools, VALL-E should improve over time and would also create better results with a larger sample size.
VALL-E led some to raise questions about security, since the tool could be used to replicate the voices of politicians or loved ones as part of scams.
Our experts take a look at the gadgets, games, accessories, and more every week. Over the last seven days, our team reviewed a Steam Deck Dock, a Wacom Pen display, a WD SSD for Xbox and PC, and many other devices.
- UGREEN 12-in-1 docking station review: A champion for Surface and other USB-C laptops emerges
- Wacom One review: A high-quality, budget conscience PC pen display
- Glorious GMMK Pro review: A terrific DIY mechanical keyboard with one caveat
- Surface Laptop 5 long-term review: Does an old design still make for a great laptop?
- WD_BLACK P40 Game Drive SSD for Xbox & PC review: Another great storage solution, but with RGB
- JSAUX Steam Deck dock review: Why pay more?
- GameSir G7 Wired Controller for Xbox & PC review: Thoughtful features, quality, and a cable
- Roccat Syn Max Air wireless headset review: An affordable charging dock for gamers
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at email@example.com.