Welcome to a late-night edition of WPD Bits, your weekly roundup of all things Microsoft beyond the world of Windows Phone.
We know for the past few weeks the Bits have come few and far between, but this week there's a lot to talk about. Rumors of the 7-inch Xbox Surface abound, Office Mobile for Apple's iOS gets leaked, SmartGlass continues to invade mobile screens, the Surface RT might be suffering from a defect, and the Xbox 360 continues the longest victory lap ever.
Scarf down your weekly filling of Bits after the break.
Microsoft prepping 7-inch Xbox Surface tablet for gaming, says The Verge
Note: This is a mockup.
Windows 8 tablets and the Surface RT may have only just touched down a few weeks ago, but rumors are kicking up (again) that Microsoft is building a tablet to address the 7-inch market. The Verge learned from sources this week that the so-called Xbox Surface would be largely focused on gaming featuring, "a custom ARM processor and high-bandwidth RAM designed specifically for gaming tasks." The tablet would not run on any regular copy of Windows 8/RT, but instead its own custom Windows kernel. Finally, the Xbox Surface is expected to debut to the public before the next-generation Xbox console is announced. [ Source: The Verge ]
Screenshots of Microsoft Office for iOS leak, Android version confirmed
Micorsoft's other beloved cash cow is of course Office, and the company appears to be finally translating the software for Apple's iOS. The Verge has produced screenshots of Office running on iOS (seen above), and has learned of Microsoft's distribution plans. The app will launch for free as read-only for documents, spreadsheets, and PowerPoints and can be upgraded for editing with a business license or subscription to Office 365. The estimated arrival date is March 2013, while an Android version is expected to bow two months later in May 2013. [ Source: The Verge ]
Xbox SmartGlass apps now available for iOS and Android
The multiplatform bits continue with the release of Xbox SmartGlass apps for both iOS and Android. The powerful companion software to the Xbox 360 is up for grabs in the App Store and Play Store for free, but there are a few small caveat of each version: the iOS app doesn't yet take full advantage of the iPhone 5's screen real estate, while the Android app requires 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher. You can download them now from the source links. [ Via: Joystiq / Source: App Store, Google Play Store ]
Surface Touch Covers tearing at seam, likely a manufacturing defect
Image Credit: whyjoe (Surface Forums)
Microsoft may want you to 'click in' with the Surface and its unique Touch Covers, but it's apparently tougher to 'click out' than you'd expect. Members on the unofficial Surface Forums began a discussion about an issue with the Touch Cover where some noticed a tear directly in the middle of the Surface, likely from taking the accessory on and off. Microsoft has responded to the claims saying they are aware of a small number of instances. Buyers should not fret too much though because Microsoft Stores are apparently being quite accommodating to those affected. [ Via: CNET / Source: Surface Forums ]
Xbox 360 remains the top-selling videogame console for 22 straight months in the U.S.
Another chest-thumping announcement for Microsoft came down the wire this week, courtesy of NPD's market data. The Xbox 360 has stood atop the videogame console market for the month of October, making it the 22nd consecutive month overall. The console is enjoying a 56% market share currently, but some analysts think the next-generation Wii U might give the Xbox 360 a run in the next few months. With the release of Halo 4 this week, introduction of new bundles and console pricing subsidies, and the advent of Xbox gaming in Windows 8, we're not sure Microsoft has much to worry about when it comes to the strength of the Xbox 360 for at least the short-term future. [ Source: AllThingsD ]