Posts with tag siri
Phones, Macs, and Watches - oh my
I’m a procrastinator. I have a tendency to wait until the very last minute to do anything, including publish these sort of What to Realistically Expect stories. Finally, my infliction has paid off – if I had written this even just last week, I would have jotted down new Apple TV hardware and software as a stone cold sure thing. Yet according to the ever reliable Brian X. Chen, Apple threw away plans to announce new Apple TV hardware and a cohesive developer ecosystem at WWDC at the very last minute because “the product was not ready for prime time”.
Given that I’m an avid user of the current iteration of Apple TV (I stream all my nightly television from there), I’m bummed to see this cut. I was hoping this would be when the Apple TV truly grew up and became a major player in the Apple line-up. Alas.
Time is short and things run behind schedule, and so it goes. There’s always September.
And in the spirit of that, we’re still on the verge of an entire week’s worth of new Apple products, platforms, and goodies. The Apple TV may not be there, but there’s still plenty left to cover. Here’s what you can realistically expect at WWDC 2015, starting tomorrow, June 8th.
Makes sense after seeing the Fire TV
One of the best bits of functionality in Amazon’s recently launched Fire TV streaming box is the remote’s built in microphone, which can be used to navigate through your television using nothing but your voice – you might have seen those ridiculous commercials with Gary Busey advertising the feature. It looks like Apple likes the idea, as code hidden inside Apple’s latest iOS 7.1 update reveals that the company is working on building Siri support into the Apple TV, which would likely be used for similar navigation.
— UNiCORN (@bp_unicorn) April 19, 2014
Microsoft has of course opted to allow users to almost completely control the Xbox One using just one’s voice as well, so this is no new idea. Still, it shows that Apple is actively looking into improving the Apple TV experience, which has sat stagnant for some time now. Apple has been rumored to be bringing new Apple TV hardware into the mix at some point this year, however an earlier rumor which suggested the company was planning on an April reveal for the new hardware has thus far been proven inaccurate as April as come and mostly gone with nary a word from Apple.
Source: UNiCORN (Twitter)
"Wake up, John"
Cortana, Master Chief’s sassy sidekick in the Halo franchise, isn’t merely a piece of good fiction anymore, it’s real life. Leaked images and information has revealed that Microsoft is working on bringing mobile voice assistant technology, popularized by Apple’s Siri technology and improved on by Google’s Google Now service found on Android, to Windows Phone under the Cortana name.
Cortana is said to work exactly as you’d expect – open up the app on your Windows Phone device, an naturally tell it what you want or are looking for. You’ll be able to set alarms, search the web for information, read notifications and calendar events, etc. and so forth all over a natural voice control.
The service will likely come to Windows Phone users with Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 “Blue” update, which we covered yesterday. So for all you Windows Phone users feeling left out, get ready – Cortana is coming.
Data is reportedly anonymized
An Apple spokesperson told Wired magazine today that the company does indeed keep records of user’s Siri data for a fairly lengthy period of time – two years, to be precise. Of course this is nothing unusual in the industry – Google, Microsoft, and other companies and services keep sensitive data for similarly long periods of time.
What is important to note here is that Apple promises that all data is anonymized, saying that neither your Apple ID nor your email address are ever associated with the data. Instead, Apple’s servers randomly generate numbers that represent your account, minus the identifying information. Apple reportedly keeps this number attached to the voice clips for six months, and then the clips are stored on servers with absolutely no organization for another year and a half.
Is an "Amazon Now" coming?
Amazon is adamant about making Android their own in their line of Kindle Fire devices, as should be fairly obvious to anyone who’s ever picked up a Kindle Fire. An untrained eye would nary be able to distinguish any similarities between Amazon’s Kindle Fire OS and stock Android. It should come to no surprise, then, that Amazon has just reportedly purchased Evi, a personal assistant in the same vein as Apple’s Siri and Google Now, to integrate into future versions of the Kindle Fire.
Evi has been a long standing competitor to Siri for Android, cropping up not long after the release of Siri. Neither Amazon nor Evi has confirmed that the acquisition has absolutely taken place as of yet, so take this with a grain of salt until we know more.
Targeting both iPhone and iPad
Earlier today we reported that all signs indicated that Google Now would soon be launching for Windows and ChromeOS, and it appears we can add yet another platform to the list of upcoming platforms that’ll soon be getting Now – iOS. A leaked video that first found its way to YouTube (only to be soon taken down) appears to be an official Google advertisement for Google Now, complete with the same voice actress as Google’s original Google Now advertisement when it launched for Android.
There’s always a chance, of course, that Google at some point cancelled the project, or that Apple could deny it on the grounds that it replicates a build in feature of iOS – Google Now was designed to work similarly to Siri, after all – however given the quality of the advertisement we believe that Google must be fairly confident about the application’s release.
Check out the leaked advertisement of Google Now for iOS after the break.
The road towards convergence continues
Ever since the release of Mac OS X 10.7, Apple has very clearly set expectations for all future releases of their popular desktop operating system – less traditional desktop paradigm, more bringing iOS features “back to the Mac”. OS X Lion brought Launchpad, inverse scrolling, pinch to zoom, and full screen support; OS X Mountain Lion improved on Lion with iOS’s system wide Notification Center, iMessage integration, AirPlay mirroring, speech-to-text dictation, and built-in social sharing. With OS X Mountain Lion now a mature product, many are wondering what’s next for the Mac line.
Well, now we’ve got our first real pieces of information about the upcoming OS X 10.9, which we should be seeing in some early form in the coming months. Most prominently (and perhaps predictably), Apple will be bringing their popular voice assistant Siri to OS X 10.9 in 2013. As you’d expect, information is very limited at this early stage, however we’ve got reason to believe that this is indeed accurate information. Apple will reportedly also be integrating their new Apple Maps service throughout the OS, allowing developers to take advantage of and integrate Maps in their applications.
Siri, meet Google
Google has been pushing ahead with their voice recognition for quite some time now, particularly with Google Now on their Android 4.1+ versions, but now they’ve brought a little bit of that to their longstanding “Google Search” app on iOS, as the app has been updated with a new voice recognition feature that goes head to head with Apple’s own Siri.
Using the new Google Search app, users can now tap on the microphone button and ask it a whole variety of familiar questions – such as “What’s the weather like?” and “How many people are there on this sad, cold little sphere or rock we call Earth?” and get a response in a pleasant sounding robotic female voice.
I personally just put the app to the test using an iPhone 4S and came away moderately impressed – it’s quite a lot faster then Apple’s Siri and the robotic voice sounds somehow less artificial, but it had difficulty giving me appropriate answers for the sorts of things I ask Siri on a daily basis. For example, it was unable to locate restaurants around me, or give me information about where the Boston Red Sox ended up in the standings. (For those curious – very, very low.)
The new Google Search app is available free of charge on the App Store now.
According to a report by AllThingsD today (those guys are on fire lately), Apple has hired away William Stasior away from Amazon’s A9 project, where he was an executive. Amazon A9 is Amazon’s search and advertising technology department.
Stasior will now be in charge of Apple’s Siri operations, the advanced speech recognition application that comes standard with the iPhone, the third-generation iPad, and the new fifth-generation iPod touch. Siri is also expected to make an appearance on the upcoming iPad mini.
AllThingsD also suspects that this marks a move in Apple towards better competing in the search and search advertising department, something that Apple has previously been lacking in before. Steve Jobs had once famously said that Apple purposely doesn’t do “a lot of things”, talking specifically about search – but it’s worth remembering in the days preceding the iPad mini announcement that Mr. Jobs was also very against 7″ tablets as well.