How Apple’s advanced self-learning technologies could make Siri a lot smarter

By Christian Zibreg on May 30, 2016

The assistant wars are in full swing, with Google Assistant and Viv entering the fray and existing players such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Hound and Google’s Now all stepping up fight for consumers’ hearts and minds.

Apple’s rumored Amazon Echo competitor, which VentureBeat believes is a next-gen Apple TV, could blow all the assistants out of the water when it comes to deciphering complex natural language queries.

And powering it—VocalIQ, a sophisticate technology Apple acquired back in October 2015. Tech Insider provided an in-depth overview of how VocalIQ could make Siri a lot smarter than it is today.  Read More

 

Apple’s rumored Amazon Echo competitor may be new Apple TV

By Cody Lee on May 26, 2016

Apple’s rumored Amazon Echo competitor may come in the form of a new set-top box, reports VentureBeat. Citing a source familiar with the matter, the outlet says the iPhone maker is working on a new Apple TV with an improved version of Siri.

“They want Apple TV to be just the hub of everything,” the source told VentureBeat. Earlier this week, The Information reported that Apple is building a new device with a speaker and always-on microphone to rival products from Amazon and Google. Read More

 

Apple developing Siri SDK and device to compete against Amazon Echo

By Cody Lee on May 24, 2016

Apple has big plans to step up its game in the field of intelligent assistants, reports The Information. Citing sources familiar with the plans, the outlet claims the company is preparing to introduce a Siri SDK for third party app developers at WWDC next month.

Additionally, the report says that Apple is also working on an Amazon Echo-like device with a speaker and always-on microphone that people can use to do things like turn on music, get news headlines or set a timer. Google unveiled a similar device last week. Read More

 

Kuo: thinner MacBook Pro models coming with OLED touch bar and Touch ID

By Cody Lee on May 23, 2016

Apple plans to release new MacBook Pro models later this year with a thinner design, built-in Touch ID and other new features, reports Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors on Monday, the high-profile analyst said the Pro laptops will make their debut in Q4 of this year.

Kuo says this will be the “most significant upgrade ever undertaken by Apple.” In addition to an all-new thinner and lighter design, and Touch ID, the new MacBooks will also include an embedded OLED display touch bar, that will be located above the keyboard. Read More

 

Another leaked schematics reaffirms dual-camera as iPhone 7 Plus exclusive

By Christian Zibreg on May 23, 2016

Differences between the 4.7-inch iPhone 6/6s and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus are mostly confined to screen size, battery and optical image stabilization on the bigger model.

With the next iPhone, this imaging gap between the regular-sized model and its 5.5-inch brethren is expected to widen by a significant margin.

Purported iPhone 7 technical drawing discovered on Chinese forum Baidu by Italian-language HDBlog serves as yet another indication that the flagship iPhone 7 Plus model will be exclusively outfitted with a rumored dual-camera system, leaving the regular-sized iPhone 7 model with modest photography improvements stemming from a larger camera package. Read More

 

Alleged iPhone 7 Plus parts reaffirm dual cameras, suggest 16/64/256GB models

By Christian Zibreg on May 22, 2016

French leaker Steven Hemmerstoffer yesterday republished an image of some claimed iPhone 7 Plus components, found on Weibo.

The photo appears to show an alleged dual-camera module said to be destined for the handset’s refresh, along with NAND flash chips which suggest that the iPhone 7 could include a new 256-gigabyte model.

The presence of both 16GB and 64GB memory modules on the photo might indicate that, disappointingly, the iPhone’s highly criticized low-storage 16GB model won’t be going away with the forthcoming hardware refresh. Read More

 

Odd iPhone 7 prototype shell with iPad Pro-like four speaker setup leaks

By Christian Zibreg on May 22, 2016

Thus far, we’ve heard conflicting rumors regarding the next iPhone’s speaker setup, with some sources being adamant that the handset would arrive outfitted with stereo speakers and others shaking their head in disagreement, suggesting the iPhone 7 would have the plain old single-speaker setup, like prior models.

Well, how about four speakers?

Prolific leaker Steven Hemmerstoffer today posted on his French-language blog NowhereElse.fr a set images of images of an alleged iPhone 7 prototype case which shows not one, not two, not three but four speakers, two at the top top and an additional two at the bottom. Read More

 

You could soon be able to unlock your Mac using Touch ID on your iPhone

By Cody Lee on May 19, 2016

Apple engineers are designing a remote unlock function that would allow an iPhone to unlock a Mac when in close proximity, reports MacRumors. The feature would use the handset’s Touch ID hardware, and is slated for the upcoming OS X 10.12 update.

The site notes that this will use Bluetooth LE frameworks, and will likely work similar to the solution found in the Apple Watch. Passcodes on the Apple Watch can be bypassed by entering your iPhone passcode or using Touch ID on the connected iPhone. Read More

 

Apple supplier says iPhone with glass casing coming in 2017

By Cody Lee on May 19, 2016

Apple is moving forward with plans to change its iPhone casing from metal to glass next year, says Catcher Technology CEO Allen Horng. Catcher is a Taiwanese metal casing maker and a key player in Apple’s current iPhone supply chain.

Following the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday, Horng told reporters that Apple hopes the move will help differentiate its handsets. He also dispelled rumors that the change will cause Catcher to lose their iPhone business. Read More

 

Apple hires two wireless charging engineers from controversial startup uBeam

By Christian Zibreg on May 17, 2016

Jonathan Bolus and Andrew Joyce, engineers who worked on wireless charging and ultrasonic technologies for the startup uBeam, are Apple’s most recent hires. The Cupertino firm has been bolstering its wireless charging team over the past two years.

News that Apple is staffing up on such experts came amid swirling rumors of wireless charging coming to the next iPhone in 2017.

As The Verge writes, uBeam’s technology, even though it works over a short distance, is marred with various technological hurdles and law of physics that experts warn will prove insurmountable and prevent commercialization. Read More

 

Suppliers ramping up hiring ahead of iPhone 7, which has ‘more complex’ design

By Christian Zibreg on May 17, 2016

Apple’s Taiwanese suppliers have kicked off the recruiting process in preparation for an ‘iPhone 7’, CNBC reported Tuesday citing Economic Daily News. The mass-hirings have started earlier than usual because the iPhone 7 design is said to be “more complex than previous models,” which meant that Apple’s suppliers needed to start work on iPhone 7 parts earlier than on previous iterations.

Both Foxconn and Pegatron had ramped up hiring as they prepared to assemble the upcoming iPhone 7 models, ahead of their expected September release. Read More

 

Bloomberg: Twitter plans to stop counting photos and links within the 140-character limit

By Christian Zibreg on May 16, 2016

Twitter’s legendary 140-character limit per tweet (which mirrors limits on SMS messages) may not be going away anytime soon even though it was recently lifted from Direct Messages, but that doesn’t mean the company isn’t plotting new ways to help users squeeze more words into tweets.

As reported by Bloomberg, citing a person familiar with the matter, by not counting photos and links in tweets Twitter aims to make it easier to compose posts without losing 23 characters, or more, to these links—even after Twitter automatically shortens them. Read More

 

Apple could terminate iTunes music downloads within two years [updated]

By Cody Lee on May 11, 2016

Apple is preparing to completely terminate music downloads in the iTunes Store, reports Digital Music News. Citing sources familiar with the matter, the outlet says an aggressive, two-year timetable to switch completely to streaming music is gaining traction within the company.

Hedging on its claim, the site also says other shutdown plans are being considered, including one that would see the iPhone-maker offer music downloads for another 3-4 years. Regardless, executives have agreed that keeping downloads running forever is no longer on the table. Read More

 

Leaked screenshots show off minor design changes in upcoming iTunes 12.4 update

By Christian Zibreg on May 7, 2016

Apple is working on a minor update for desktop iTunes and MacRumors was able to obtain screenshots which show off several design improvements in tow for the app. This isn’t the top-to-bottom overhaul we’ve been all waiting for though the changes in iTunes 12.4 should make this infamous Mac and Windows app a bit easier to use.

As per the leaked screenshots, iTunes 12.4 packs in a redesigned media picker, a persistent sidebar for quick access to different sections of your iTunes library, a slightly reworked mini player and a tad simpler menus. Read More

 

Overhauled Apple Music to integrate lyrics, offer a new Browse section and more

By Christian Zibreg on May 4, 2016

9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman has added some color to Bloomberg’s report this morning which described an upcoming overhaul of Apple Music in broad strokes. According to Gurman’s sources, the new-look Apple Music section within the stock Music app will be part of the overall iOS 10 refresh and include, among other things, lyrics integration.

The end-to-end overhaul includes ditching the colorful look in favor of a simpler, black and white design which emphasizes text. For example, the appearance of the albums view will no longer change based on the color of a particular album’s art. Read More

 

iPhone 7 may come outfitted with a slightly stronger battery than iPhone 6s

By Christian Zibreg on May 2, 2016

According to a post on the Chinese social network Sina Weibo, Apple’s next-generation iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus smartphones may come outfitted with slightly larger batteries than the current-generation iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models. Based on a claimed spy shot of purported battery packages for the upcoming devices, the iPhone 7 should have a one percent stronger battery than the iPhone 6s while the iPhone 7 Plus should pack in a more than two percent stronger battery versus its iPhone 6s Plus counterpart. Read More

 

Japanese magazine shares detailed ‘iPhone 7 Pro’ design schematics

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 27, 2016

In its June 2016 edition, Japanese monthly Mac Fan brings purported design schematics of Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7 Plus model, which they refer to as an ‘iPhone 7 Pro’. The drawings reaffirm upcoming features such as the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack, a dual-lens camera on the back and roughly the same dimensions as the current-generation iPhone 6s Plus model. Read More

 

Apple slowing down recruiting efforts, report says

By Cody Lee on Apr 25, 2016

Apple in the past few weeks has been dismissing all of its contract recruiters, reports VentureBeat. Citing a source familiar with the matter, the outlet says the Cupertino company has begun cutting full-time recruiter as well.

These moves are part of a broader plan to slow down recruiting efforts across the board, the report says, as Apple looks to reevaluate. At least 100 people are expected to be cut, and there are no new job postings for recruiters. Read More

 

Analyst talks iPhone 8: OLED screen with no Home button, wireless charging and more

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 22, 2016

Apple will be launching new iPhones this fall, likely to be marketed as ‘iPhone 7’ and ‘iPhone 7 Plus’.

Should the company stick to its established S-upgrade cycle, and there’s no reason to believe it won’t, then we should see an ‘iPhone 7s’ and ‘iPhone 7s Plus’ in 2017, right? That’s what conventional wisdom has taught us, but one analyst’s turned that conventional wisdom on its head.

Citing industry sources, Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz recently wrote a lot of nice things about Apple’s 2017 iPhone, which he called a “mega cycle” upgrade that will feature a bunch of significant hardware advances that should help increase Apple’s iPhone sales by as much as 10.3 percent. Read More

 

Apple meeting with top talent to develop original programming

By Cody Lee on Apr 18, 2016

Apple has been secretly meeting with top entertainment talent, reports Fast Company. In a lengthy article detailing the streaming ambitions of various tech giants, the outlet says the iPhone-maker has its sights set on building a lineup of original programming.

According to sources, the company quietly set up shop at the Imperial Hotel in Utah during this year’s Sundance Film Festival. There, it hosted a series of private events, known as the “iTunes Lounge,” where it discussed content deals with actors and filmmakers. Read More