Microsoft confirms when WordPad will be tossed on the scrapheap – later this year with Windows 11 24H2

It’s now official that when Windows 11’s big 24H2 update rolls around later this year, we’ll be saying farewell to WordPad.

This is no surprise, as we had already heard the death knell for the venerable default app, with Microsoft announcing WordPad was deprecated back in September 2023, and then it disappeared from preview builds of Windows 11 in January 2024. Back at the time, we were told future releases of Windows 11 would not include WordPad.

As Windows Latest spotted, we now have fresh info from Microsoft which represents concrete confirmation that the 24H2 update will be when WordPad is ditched from its desktop OS.

Microsoft tells us: “WordPad will be removed from all editions of Windows starting in Windows 11, version 24H2 and Windows Server 2025.”

Windows Latest checked current preview builds of Windows 11 24H2, searching for WordPad in the Start menu, and its related files in various folders, finding that it has all been stripped out.

Analysis: WordPad down, Notepad on the up

In the past, Microsoft has made it clear that you won’t be able to somehow reinstall WordPad (and that the app won’t be present in new installations of Windows 11). So, you’re not going to be able to avoid losing WordPad when the 24H2 update rolls out to Windows 11 users, which should be around September 2024 (or maybe a bit later). As ever it’ll be a phased rollout so you might not get 24H2 straight away, anyway.

There is one obvious way to keep WordPad, mind you, and that’s not to take the 24H2 update when it’s released. You can stick on 23H2 at least for the length of time it’s supported, which will be until November 2025. After that (or even just before), Microsoft will start force upgrading PCs away from 23H2 (as without support and security updates, users are at risk from unpatched exploits).

Of course, by not getting the 24H2 update you’ll be missing out on a whole bunch of new features – so WordPad better be worth a lot to you. Windows 11 24H2 promises to be a major update, not just bringing in new functionality, but also changing the underpinnings of the OS with a new platform – Germanium, which ushers in performance and security benefits under the hood.

Furthermore, Notepad will remain in Windows 11, and Microsoft’s attitude to this is very different in that it’s still actively developing this lightweight text editing app. Notepad has been fleshed out beyond its traditional simplicity to add features such as spellcheck and autocorrect (plus an AI addition could be inbound in the form of Cowriter, even).

Perhaps all of this is happening exactly because WordPad is being dispensed with, so Notepad can be more readily tapped as a mini-Word alternative, as it were.

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Apple confirms the Vision Pro will get international launch this year

The Apple Vision Pro VR headset has wowed many of those who have given it a whirl, but one major issue keeping the device out of people’s hands is availability – if you live outside the US and want to buy one, you’re out of luck. That’s set to change, though, with Tim Cook confirming that the headset will launch in at least one other country this year: China.

Apple has previously hinted at a wider Apple Vision Pro release coming in 2024, and while speaking at the China Development Forum in Beijing over the weekend Tim Cook specifically mentioned China as one of the lucky countries that's set to get the headset before the end of the year.

Beyond confirming that a China release is on the cards, Cook didn’t reveal a specific release date or pricing: however, a Vision Pro release outside the US before June 2024 was hinted at by analysts earlier this year, and it's unlikely that China will be the only country where it's released. 

Is a worldwide Vision Pro release coming soon?

China, Japan, Canada, Australia, and the UK, among a few others, are regions where Apple is looking to hire a 'Briefing Experience Specialist' for the Vision Pro. When the job postings were spotted it was believed they hinted at where the wider Vision Pro release would begin, and Cook’s China confirmation suggests that this may indeed be the case.

As such, we wouldn’t be surprised if the UK and Australia (and the rest) saw an Apple Vision Pro release around the same time as China. As mentioned above, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has previously suggested Apple is likely to launch the Vision Pro outside of the US before WWDC – which is due in June – so we might only be a month or two away from seeing the Vision Pro in more people’s hands. 

If you're interested in picking up the Apple headset, we'd suggest first reading our Apple Vision Pro review to help you decide if the $ 3,500 device (around £2,800 / AU$ 5,350) is worth it for you.

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Apple confirms Dolby Vision HDR on Vision Pro, plus which streamers it will support – and 2 big ones are missing

Apple has revealed more information about what watching movie and TV shows will be like on the Apple Vision Pro, including confirmation of which of the best streaming services will have full native support when it launches.

We already knew Disney Plus would be there – that was announced at the start – and obviously Apple TV Plus was always going to have great support, but now we know that Max and Prime Video will be available, too. 

On top of those, you'll also have ESPN, NBA, MLB, PGA Tour, Discovery Plus, Paramount Plus, Peacock, Pluto TV, Tubi, Fubo, Crunchyroll, Red Bull TV, IMAX, and TikTok (which obviously is a little different to the others, but hey, it's all video).

There are two huge omissions from that list: Netflix and YouTube. We actually wouldn't have been concerned about that fact that YouTube's missing from the list because it's not like the other curated streaming services there… but then Apple mentioned TikTok, and suddenly the lack of YouTube leaps out, since it's the world's best portal for VR/immersive video.

Outside of that, Apple also confirmed for the first time that the headset will support Dolby Vision HDR in addition to Dolby Atmos for audio (through the built-in speakers, or via the AirPods Pro 2 version with USB-C). Dolby Vision will help to make sure that the micro-OLED screens really reach their full potential in movies (it's on most of the best OLED TVs), while Dolby Atmos is the most sensible way to make it sound like you're sitting in a real cinema with speakers around you, thanks to its 3D soundscape tech.

One nice extra touch that Apple confirmed about its virtual cinema room that you can watch in, is that you can choose whether to sit at the front, middle or back. People have strong opinions about this!

It's not unusual

It's not a massive surprise that Netflix is missing. The company's always had a hit-and-miss relationship with Apple; the two obviously have a deep connection, but Netflix has had issues with Apple's App Store revenue sharing scheme for a long time, and the Netflix Apple TV app often doesn't get new features until long after they come to other versions of the app.

But as someone who genuinely can't wait to experience the 'Cinema Environments' mode of Vision Pro as a way to watch huge-screen movies at home, it'll be a huge shame not to be able to do that with Maestro (a movie made for IMAX but trapped in the confines on Netflix), Society of the Snow (and its beautiful, terrifying vistas) or the many classics you can find among the best Netflix movies.

Google and Apple also have a complicated relationship. The two make a ton of money off each other, but we're in a very different place to the launch of the iPhone when there was a YouTube app as part of the default apps. Clearly, Google doesn't see Vision Pro as a priority, just as Netflix doesn't – and perhaps they're right. After all, it's not like the first run of 150,000 Vision Pro headsets will depend on streaming services to sell out or not.

Whenever a more affordable non-Pro 'Apple Vision' headset arrives, that's when Apple will need the two biggest video streamers in the world on board. Until then, those lucky enough to get a Vision Pro can probably find enough to watch from the entire Apple movies store and the streaming services already confirmed.

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OpenAI confirms ChatGPT has been getting ‘lazier’ – but a fix is coming

Have you recently felt that ChatGPT isn’t performing as well as it used to? If so, you're not alone, as numerous users have claimed the artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot has been on the decline – and ChatGPT developer OpenAI has just confirmed a possible reason why that might be the case.

In fact, OpenAI seemed to endorse the idea that ChatGPT was getting “lazier” on X (formerly Twitter). In the post, OpenAI explained it had heard users’ feedback and that the reason for ChatGPT getting “lazier” was that it hadn’t been updated since November 11 – an entire month.

While OpenAI said this lack of updates wasn’t “intentional,” it added that it was “looking into fixing it.” It also noted that “model behavior can be unpredictable,” perhaps hinting that the developer itself hadn’t noticed ChatGPT’s declining performance until users brought it to light.

Despite all that, OpenAI hasn’t given an indication of when the issue might be fixed. If you regularly use ChatGPT prompts and have noticed a downward trend in the tool’s abilities, you’ll just have to hang tight until an update gets released.

Temporary solutions

A laptop screen on a green background showing the ChatGPT logo

(Image credit: ChatGPT)

Underneath the post on X, OpenAI further clarified the issue. One user asked the developer how it's possible that ChatGPT could get lazier.

In response, OpenAI explained that “to be clear, the idea is not that the model has somehow changed itself since Nov 11th. It’s just that differences in model behavior can be subtle – only a subset of prompts may be degraded, and it may take a long time for customers and employees to notice and fix these patterns.”

Other comments suggested ways to restore ChatGPT to its former prowess, including using the phrase “take a deep breath” or telling the chatbot to “reason step-by-step.” These might serve as temporary solutions until OpenAI is able to fix the underlying issue.

The degradation of ChatGPT performance comes shortly after Google announced its own ChatGPT rival called Gemini. Yet despite flashy promises from the search giant, numerous reports have emerged claiming its abilities are less than stellar. Perhaps it's time for both OpenAI and Google to give their chatbots a Christmas break and work on some upgrades for 2024.

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Next-gen Windows is coming in 2024, Intel exec confirms (without mentioning Windows 12)

We appear to have got our clearest indication yet that a whole new version of Windows will be coming next year.

Windows Latest reports that at a recent technology conference, Intel’s chief financial officer, David Zinsner, confirmed that the next iteration of Windows is indeed due to land in 2024.

Zinsner commented: “We actually think 2024 is going to be a pretty good year for client, in particular, because of the Windows refresh.”

Clearly, then, Intel has been informed that there’s going to be a new version of Windows next year.

Although there’s no mention of the name Windows 12, or any other name for that matter – ‘Windows refresh’ is obviously not the title Microsoft will plump for when it comes to the successor to Windows 11.

Analysis: Playing the name game

Of course, there are already plenty of rumors around Microsoft bringing out a next-gen Windows in 2024. And there’s plenty of speculation that it will be called Windows 12, too, but the reality is that at this point, Microsoft may be deep into working on this next version, but probably doesn’t know what it’ll be called itself yet.

Windows 12 just seems the most likely default option, naturally. About the only other possibility that occurs to us is that Microsoft may want to jam Copilot into the name, or maybe ‘AI’ or something along those lines, given that this is the latest big thing (TM). And Copilot will certainly be considerably developed in a year’s time.

You may recall that Intel was previously the source of a leak about next-gen Windows, one that actually used the name Windows 12 when talking about support regarding upcoming processors. This info was quickly retracted when reported on, though, and we wouldn’t read anything into the use of the name, as we just mentioned.

Next-gen Windows, whether it’s Windows 12, Windows AI – or insert your own guess here – is expected to arrive later in the second half of 2024 (work theoretically began on the new OS at the start of 2022).

We’re expecting it to be built around big advances with Copilot which will doubtless be used to push it as a compelling upgrade. Microsoft will be looking for a sizeable carrot to dangle in front of would-be upgraders, especially considering that Windows 11 has failed pretty miserably to gain all that much traction in its two years of existence thus far.

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Apple confirms iOS 15.4 update will be available for your iPhone in one week

The next update to iOS 15 has been confirmed by Apple to be landing next week, which may mean we could see it available to download around March 16.

At the March Event, Apple confirmed the last in the line of the M1 chips, called M1 Ultra, which is available in the new Mac Studio. There's also a new iPhone SE 3 / 2022, an iPad Air 5, and a new green color option available for the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, available to order on March 11.

Every iPhone that was capable of downloading iOS 15 is also eligible to update to iOS 15.4 and take advantage of its new features.

What's new in iOS 15.4?

The tentpole feature for iOS 15.4 is the ability to use FaceID while wearing a mask. It will ask to scan your face while wearing one, in order for the feature to recognise you.

There's also new emoji, such as different hand gestures, a salute emoji, better gender support, and more that you can use in Mail, iMessage and other apps on your iOS device.

A selection of the new emoji added with iOS 15.4

(Image credit: Emojipedia / Apple)

If you have an Apple Card, you can see its available balance in a new widget, alongside the ability to add notes in iCloud keychain, and much more.

You will be able to download iOS 15.4 by going to Settings > General > Software Update, where you will be able to see it as available to update once it releases next week.

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Oracle confirms $28bn Cerner deal

Oracle has confirmed a $ 28.3bn deal to buy healthcare tech firm Cerner.

Following initial reports suggesting an acquisition was imminent, both companies have now confirmed the news, which at $ 95 a share is Oracle's biggest ever deal.

Cerner, which specializes in digitalizing medical records, was founded in 1979 and headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. The company currently has 26,400 employees and annual revenue of $ 5.5 billion, according to data from Datanyze.

Cerner deal

“Working together, Cerner and Oracle have the capacity to transform healthcare delivery by providing medical professionals with better information—enabling them to make better treatment decisions resulting in better patient outcomes,” said Larry Ellison, Chairman and Chief Technology Officer, Oracle. 

“With this acquisition, Oracle's corporate mission expands to assume the responsibility to provide our overworked medical professionals with a new generation of easier-to-use digital tools that enable access to information via a hands-free voice interface to secure cloud applications. This new generation of medical information systems promises to lower the administrative workload burdening our medical professionals, improve patient privacy and outcomes, and lower overall healthcare costs.”

The deal should solidify Oracle’s already strong presence in the healthcare industry, as it currently offers software tech for health insurers, healthcare providers, and public health systems. 

Buying Cerner could also heat up the “arms race” with Microsoft, who is also showing increasing interest in digital healthcare tools. Back in April 2021, the Redmond software giants acquired AI company Nuance Communications for $ 16 billion.

“Cerner has been a leader in helping digitize medical care and now it's time to realize the real promise of that work with the care delivery tools that get information to the right caregivers at the right time,” said David Feinberg, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cerner. 

“Joining Oracle as a dedicated Industry Business Unit provides an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate our work modernizing electronic health records (EHR), improving the caregiver experience, and enabling more connected, high-quality and efficient patient care.”

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