Apple acquires AI startup Perceptio

By Cody Lee on Oct 5, 2015

Following news last week that Apple acquired UK-based voice technology startup VocalIQ, Bloomberg reports that the company has also recently picked up AI startup Perceptio. A spokesman for Apple has confirmed the buyout with the usual boilerplate statement of “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Read More


Apple promises to open up universal search on Apple TV

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 5, 2015

When the new Apple TV launches toward the end of this month, it will allow viewers to use their voice to search movies and television shows across iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime and HBO. Fans of the device were initially concerned that the new box would offer preferential treatment to the aforesaid services. Thankfully, that won’t be the case.

As CEO Tim Cook noted in an interview this weekend with BuzzFeed News’s John Paczkowski, the new box will allow apps beyond launch partners to expose and make their content discoverable and searchable via iOS 9’s universal search feature.

It’s a crucial confirmation: content from other broadcasters and studios such as NBC, Disney and CNN must be exposed through the Apple TV’s Siri-based search if the device is to streamline the user experience. Read More


Apple acquires UK-based voice technology startup VocalIQ

By Cody Lee on Oct 2, 2015

Apple has acquired UK-based voice technology startup VocalIQ, according to a report from the Financial Times. A spokesman for the Cupertino company has confirmed the buyout with the usual boilerplate statement of “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Read More


New in iOS 9: ask Siri to remind you about things you’re looking at in your apps

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 24, 2015

Siri’s Proactive features in iOS 9 let you do so much more, and in a more intelligent fashion than ever before. In addition to suggesting apps, people, locations and more when you use Spotlight Search, iOS 9 also lets you ask Siri to actually create context-aware reminders for what you’re looking at on the screen of your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

Asking to be reminded about things you’re looking at in apps like Safari, Mail and Notes that you want to follow up on later can be a tremendous productivity boost.

The feature is a great time-saver when you cannot currently deal with what you’re doing right now, and would like to get reminded about it at a later stage, but are too lazy to create a reminder yourself. Here’s how it works. Read More


How to silence all Siri audio feedback when your iPhone’s mute switch is turned to silent

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 22, 2015

Starting with iOS 9, you can now shut Siri up as easily as turning the mute switch to silent. Prior to iOS 9, Siri would not respond to the state of the ringer switch.

Indeed, how many times did you wish you could chat with Siri in the middle of the night but didn’t out of fear her loud voice might wake up your significant other?

As it turns out, a quick trip to the Settings app on iOS 9 and a couple of taps is all it takes to tell Siri to honor the state of your ringer switch. Read More


iOS 9 allows access to photos and contacts on a passcode locked iPhone – here’s how to prevent it

By Jeff Benjamin on Sep 20, 2015

If you have an iPhone running iOS 9, you should be aware that it may be possible to access your photos and contacts on a locked device, even with a passcode and/or Touch ID enabled. I’ve always ignored reports on this sort of security flaw, because they always seem to pop up with every iOS iteration, and almost always require a user to jump through what seems like a million hoops.

But for some reason—call it boredom, or call it poor judgement—I got curious, and decided to try this out for myself. As it turns out, it’s not that hard to do, and it certainly seems like a security flaw in iOS to me.

I debated on whether to post this, because obviously it’s going to bring attention to a security flaw that might let people access information that they shouldn’t be accessing.

For starters, please don’t get bent out of shape over this. This does not expose any other contents of your iPhone outside of Contacts and Photos. People still can’t unlock your device, read your messages, watch videos, etc. This only allows users to view your contacts, and look at your photos (not videos) through a limited interface. Photos cannot be forwarded or shared from your iPhone.

My hope is that a). this informs users that a passcode or Touch ID security isn’t necessarily enough to keep unwanted eyes off your photos and contacts, and b). Apple will see this and provide a fix. c). show you how to prevent the issue.

The thing is, this information is already out there, and the people who will use it for the bad probably already know about it. Consider this post an attempt to educate those who do not know about this iOS 9 security hiccup. Hopefully, it’ll allow users to make smarter decisions about their iPhone’s security.
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Siri Remote for the new Apple TV will be available in just eight countries

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 9, 2015

One of the best features of the new Apple TV, in my personal opinion, is its redesigned remote with Bluetooth 4.0 and built-in dual microphones for Siri functionality. Too bad not all buyers will be allowed to enjoy the new Siri Remote, as Apple is calling it.

According to the company’s official documentation for developers, the new Siri Remote is available in just eight key markets like the United States, United Kingdom and Germany, to name a few. Apple TVs in all other countries will be packaged with the standard remote. Read More


Report: iPhone 6s to feature untethered ‘Hey Siri’ functionality

By Jeff Benjamin on Sep 8, 2015

Remember the invitation that Apple sent out to invitees for tomorrow’s iPhone 6s event? The invitation contained the phrase “Hey Siri, give us a hint.”

According to the Apple Insider’s Mikey Campbell, this phrase alludes to a brand new feature shipping with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus—always-on “Hey Siri” functionality.

“Hey Siri” is a function that first debuted in iOS 8, which allows you to invoke Siri hands-free using only your voice. The only catch is that your device has to be plugged in and charging to take advantage of the feature. If Apple Insider’s report is true, then the iPhone 6s will be able to use Hey Siri functionality in an untethered fashion. Read More


Apple adds more “Hey Siri, give us a hint” jokes leading up to its big iPhone event

By Jeff Benjamin on Sep 7, 2015

When Apple sent out invitations for its upcoming iPhone and Apple TV event, it included the tagline: “Hey Siri, give us a hint.” Asking Siri to lend a hint encourages the personal assistant to troll users with comedic “answers” about the big event.

Well, apparently Apple isn’t done having fun, as it’s updated Siri’s responses with some new answers just ahead of its event on Wednesday. Some of the answers are quite clever, and in one of them, Siri even responds with message in binary. Read More


Apple finds it tough to recruit top minds in artificial intelligence and machine learning

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 7, 2015

Apple’s massive hiring effort in artificial intelligence and machine learning has hit roadblocks as the company is increasingly finding it tough to recruit top data scientists and AI experts due to its own strict privacy policies that prevent those engineers from retrieving valuable user data.

In other words, according to a Reuters report Monday, some of the brightest minds in artificial intelligence are increasingly not interested in working for a company that values and respects privacy of its users. Read More


New Apple TV has universal search, $149 priced reaffirmed by credible report

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 2, 2015

Following a recent report by 9to5Mac’s reliable blogger Mark Gurman that a fourth-generation Apple TV will cost between $149 and $199, BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski has corroborated that information, adding that the set-top box will also include a universal search feature.

Billed as another tentpole feature, universal search will allow owners of the forthcoming set-top box to search for a show or movie once “and see results from all sorts of different sources.” Read More


September 9 event wallpapers: “Hey Siri, give us a hint”

By Jim Gresham on Aug 27, 2015

On Thursday, August 27, Apple released the media invitation for an event on September 9. The fall announcements typically highlight updates for iOS devices. Sometimes iPhone and iPad are announced separately, but it is estimated both devices will receive a refresh in the coming weeks.

In line with new invitations, the web quickly rushes to build corresponding, celebratory wallpapers. Inside, we have some quick work done by avid iDB readers. Within hours, they shared their collections and we pass them on to you. Read More


Facebook testing new ‘M’ digital assistant feature within Messenger

By Cody Lee on Aug 26, 2015

Facebook on Wednesday began testing a new digital assistant feature called ‘M.’ As explained by Facebook Messenger lead David Marcus, the feature, which lives inside Messenger, is powered by artificial intelligence that can complete tasks and find information on a user’s behalf.

The artificial intelligence is both trained and supervised by real live humans, and unlike other AI-based services available today, it can do things like purchase items and deliver gifts. Of course it can handle normal chores too, such as booking restaurants and logging appointments. Read More


Siri voice actors share tidbits on becoming instantly recognizable voices around the world

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 12, 2015

Apple debuted the iPhone 4s with Siri on October 4, 2011. The unexpected arrival of the digital personal assistant was called a life-changing moment bound to reshape how we interacted with mobile devices.

A year later, Siri went live on iPads. Siri is also an important feature of CarPlay and this year got added to the Apple Watch as a crucial method of hands-free user interaction. The digital personal assistant is now in the pockets, on wrists and in the cars of the millions, answering the world’s questions.

But what does it take to become the voice of Siri? Former Siri voice actors have shared secrets of the trade with The Guardian newspaper and talked about becoming instantly recognizable voices around the world.

Here are the juiciest bits. Read More


Rumor: Siri-powered iCloud Voicemail that transcribes messages due in 2016 with iOS 10

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 3, 2015

A Siri-powered voicemail service for iPhones is in the works and it will transcribe your voicemail messages, if a report published Monday by Business Insider is anything to go by.

Writer James Cook claims that Apple employees are already testing an upcoming voicemail service “which uses Siri to answer your calls and transcribe voicemail messages.” Read More


Facebook reportedly building ‘Moneypenny,’ a personal assistant for Messenger with a twist

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 14, 2015

Facebook is working on a personal digital assistant of its own, designed specifically for use with its popular Messenger mobile software.

Referred to internally as “Moneypenny” after Miss Moneypenny, a secretary to M in the James Bond films, it will reportedly allow Facebook Messenger users to perform tasks like checking the weather, buying products and more.

According to a report by The Information, hidden behind the paywall, one crucial difference will set apart the James Bond-inspired digital assistant from the likes of Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google’s Google Now, Amazon’s Echo and others: it will be human-powered. Read More


Apple publishes list of supported Siri voice commands for controlling HomeKit appliances

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 25, 2015

Apple has refreshed a support article detailing setting up and using HomeKit-enabled accessories with a list of supported Siri voice commands to control your HomeKit hardware locally or remotely, through your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

After pairing a HomeKit-enabled accessory to an iOS device, you can use Siri commands to turn your home appliance on or off, adjust its settings and more, using just your voice. Read More


This accessory is a Home button for your car

By iDB Deals on Jun 11, 2015

This cool accessory puts the power of your iPhone’s voice command system at your fingertips, for whenever it is out of reach. It can be yours for $23, that’s a savings of 42% off the list price. Read More


Siri to get much more intelligent in iOS 9

By Cody Lee on Jun 8, 2015

Finishing up with OS X El Capitan, Apple’s Craig Federighi moves on to talk about Siri. Apple has been working on a number of improvements to the digital assistant, which has been criticized over the years for lagging behind the efforts of Google and others.

In line with run-up event rumors, Siri is getting more intelligent in iOS 9 thanks to ‘Proactive,’ which makes your device more contextually aware. This allows Siri to respond to queries more intelligently based on your location, the time of day and other things. Read More


SoundHound has created a voice search app that will knock your socks off

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 5, 2015

Apple’s introduction of Siri back in 2011 was a watershed moment for voice-activated personal digital assistants. Today, a myriad of Siri-like services exist such as Google Now on Android devices and Microsoft’s cross-platform Cortana, which will be hitting iOS soon following Windows 10 debut on July 29.

But many if not all of the existing services, Siri included, could be put to shame by Hound.

Hound is a forthcoming digital assistant which promises a groundbreaking smartphone experience, created by SoundHound, the maker of namesake mobile music and audio recognition service. Read More

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