iPad Pro doesn’t support untethered ‘Hey Siri’

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 12, 2015

Although Apple’s iPad Pro Tech Specs webpage states in black and white that the device’s A9X system-on-a-chip includes an embedded ‘M9’ motion coprocessor, just like its A9 counterpart powering the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, the tablet doesn’t support untethered ‘Hey Siri’ functionality when not connected to power, AppleInsider discovered yesterday. Read More


How to preview flight information and track flights on iPhone, iPad and Mac

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 10, 2015

Aside from several headline feature additions, Apple’s iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan software updates contain a bunch of little gems, among them data detectors for flight information.

This permits iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Mac owners to quickly look up flight status information found in notes, messages and emails using a rich interface with flight trajectory, flight status, arrival times and other information.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to quickly preview the current status and other information pertaining to an airline and flight number, with or without leaving the context of what you’re currently doing. Read More


Siri gains Apple Music support on Apple TV, now can search and play music on latest beta

By Jeff Benjamin on Nov 9, 2015

Siri has apparently gained some new functionality for Apple TV, at least on the tvOS 9.1 beta. You can now direct the remote assistant to play any song or album directly from Apple Music, even if the song or album isn’t in your library. Siri can even search for songs on Apple Music, play Play Beats 1 radio, and more.

This makes Siri a lot more useful on Apple TV, and means that you don’t have to look at the interface to start playing a song that you want to hear. The lack of Siri integration for Apple Music has been a popular pain point for early adopters of 4th-generation Apple TV.

I’m running the 9.1 beta on my Apple TV. For the record, Siri search for music was said to come as an update early next year, so it’s highly likely that this could be a beta-only feature. Other iDB staffers have tried to replicate this functionality on tvOS 9.0 boxes to no avail.

Watch our video that shows Siri integration for Apple Music on the Apple TV…
Read More


iOS 9.2 to bring Arabic support for Siri

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 6, 2015

According to a new report by 9to5Mac, Apple’s upcoming iOS 9.2 software update will enable support for Arabic in Siri.

With last year’s iOS 8 update, Apple has paved the way for Siri in Arabic with Arabic support for iOS’s Dictation and QuickType keyboard features.

The full support for Arabic will allow local users not only to converse with Siri in Arabic but search for local places and businesses and more. Read More


Here’s why Siri on Apple TV only supports eight countries so far

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 4, 2015

The new Apple TV ships with the same remote everywhere but Siri on the set-top box is only supported in these eight languages and countries: English (Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, German (Germany), French (France), Spanish (Spain) and Japanese (Japan).

Why is that? After all, Siri on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad support the most basic features in a total of 29 countries, as per Apple’s iOS Feature Availability webpage.

Based on an interview that the German-language blog MacPrime conducted with several Apple TV project managers, it’s all about the differences in the pronunciation of actor names, films and directors in various countries. But rest assured, Apple is already hard at work on training the Apple TV’s Siri for additional countries. Read More


Bloomberg: Apple’s penchant for secrecy slowing down its AI development efforts

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 30, 2015

According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple’s artificial development efforts are being hampered by the company’s legendary penchant for secrecy as the company is finding it difficult to hire top engineers in the field.

While Apple researchers attended an artificial intelligence industry conference in Montreal last year, they kept a low profile and “didn’t say who they worked for unless asked.” Read More


New Apple TV lacking Siri search for Apple Music and App Store apps

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 29, 2015

As the new Apple TV is scheduled to hit Apple’s retail stores tomorrow, first reviews are now in. Journalists who were given a chance to spend some quality time with review units are praising evolutionary improvements to the living room experience while highlighting untapped potential for the refreshed $149 device.

One of the common complaints focuses on Siri and its inability to search apps for the Apple TV in a dedicated App Store. In addition, reports are noting that users won’t be able to search Apple Music with their voice at launch, the omission Apple claims will be addressed with a software update due at the beginning of next year. Read More


Apple posts hilarious new iPhone 6s ad with actor Bill Hader

By Cody Lee on Oct 27, 2015

Apple on Tuesday posted a new iPhone 6s commercial, highlighting the hands-free capabilities of the just-released smartphone. The ad stars Bill Hader, the long-time Saturday Night Live actor who appeared in Apple’s “Backstage” video at WWDC this year.

The spot demonstrates how users can tap Siri to read and respond to emails using voice commands, with a bit involving the well-known “foreign prince wants to help you get rich” scam. As you can imagine, it’s pretty entertaining. Watch the 30-second clip below. Read More


New television commercials highlight iPhone 6s camera upgrades and hands-free Siri

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 25, 2015

Less than two weeks following its iPhone 6s commercial that focused on 3D Touch, Apple’s begun rolling some new ads for the handset.

Adopting the dynamic and to-the-point format inaugurated by the previous ad, a trio of new commercials—titled “Crush,” “The Camera” and “Flip a Coin” and all starring actor and singer Jamie Foxx—showcase other iPhone 6s capabilities, like hands-free ‘Hey Siri’ and a variety of camera features. Read More


iPhone 6s conserves power by disabling untethered ‘Hey Siri’ when face down or in your pocket

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 23, 2015

Apple’s iPhone 6s has introduced an untethered ‘Hey Siri’ feature which allows for always-listening functionality even when the device isn’t charging, by utilizing the power-efficient M9 motion coprocessor to always listen for voice commands.

But as AppleInsider finds out, the handset automatically switches off untethered ‘Hey Siri’ when it’s in your pocket or face down on a table.

This is another trick in Apple’s arsenal of technologies to extend battery life. Read More


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

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