Mercedes-Benz posts CarPlay video tour showcasing real-world Siri integration

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 4, 2014

After Volvo yesterday posted a nice hands-on video highlighting Apple’s newly launched in-car system dubbed CarPlay (previously known as iOS in the Car), Mercedes-Benz (one of the three CarPlay launch partners) has posted a video tour of its own which gives us a hands-on demo of CarPlay in its new C-Class and showcases real-world Siri integration.

The clip depicts a driver using Siri to get visual directions with a little help from Apple Maps and using a dedicated hardware button to interact with Apple’s smart voice assistant. As previously stated, CarPlay does not allow for third-party mapping apps such as Google Maps… Read More


Meet Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Siri

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 3, 2014

The Windows giant Microsoft will be introducing its upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update at the Build conference next month.

With it comes Cortana, a Microsoft-branded personal digital assistant that includes functionality provided by Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Now voice-activated assistants.

It also has a few nice features not provided by Apple so perhaps competition from Microsoft (and Google) will prompt the iPhone maker to roll out new Siri features sooner than later. The Verge has an exclusive look at Cortana’s interface and some of its features, here are the highlights… Read More


Introducing Moov multi-sport fitness tracker, your new personal trainer

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 27, 2014

Time to meet your new coach. Introducing the Moov, a new wearable device conceived by a three-person startup led by a former Apple engineer. Not only does it track your activities, it gives you personalized tips to improve your workout performance.

The brainchild of Nikola Hu, a smart engineer who used to work at Apple, and his colleagues, the Moov is packed with nine-axis sensors like accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer.

Thanks to the data gathered by these sensors and clever programming, the Moov can sense both motion and 3D form to improve your performance.

The biggest selling point of the Moov is its software which can provide real-time audio advice and feedback. It uses 3d motion reconstruction technology to analyze and distinguish between a bunch of activities like running, biking, swimming and weight lifting, to mention just a few.

And if you’re into boxing, the Moov does that, too – it’s even capable of measuring your power and form, giving you a report card at the end of each session detailing how many calories you burned, your progress against previous workouts and what not.

It gets even better: because each tracked activity is an app of its own, such a modular system allows developer to easily introduce support for new activities via firmware updates and new app releases… Read More


Apple taking China’s patent office and Zhizhen Network Technology to court over Siri

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 24, 2014

According to a report by China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency, Apple is suing both the country’s State Intellectual Property Office and Shanghai-based Zhizhen Network Technology. The main point of contention: patent rights to Siri.

Now, eagled-eyed readers may remember that Zhizhen back in July of 2012 actually filed a case first against Apple as it felt Siri had infringed upon its patent for an instant messaging chat bot system called Xiaoi Bot.

Apple asked China’s State Intellectual Property Office, which is in charge of patent rights protection in China, to invalidate Zhizhen’s patent, but the request was declined. In turn, Apple is now suing both the patent office and Zhizhen… Read More


Huawei video teases new devices by slamming iPhone and Siri

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 17, 2014

Chinese handset vendor Huawei’s video is teasing new smartphones, tablets and phablets coming. The clip has an iPhone owner conversing with Siri, Apple’s digital personal assistant.

The narrator asks Siri about new things coming to Mobile World Congress this year, which runs February 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain. To this, Siri responds in a rather robotic, slow-talking voice that there will be “a new tablet with a beautiful slim design” with a “huge battery” that “gives you days of use,” likely referring to new Huawei devices.

She also says: “One more thing: this device can even support the next generation LTE network.” Not sure about the ‘even’. It’s 2014 and LTE compatibility is hardly worth getting excited about in your talking points.

The video closes with the narrator asking, “Wow! What are they Fruit or Some Song?” Siri replies: “No. They are Huawei. It looks like Huawei is ready to amaze the world again”. I’ve included the video right after the break so give it a watch and meet us in comments… Read More


Chevy’s new Equinox ad stars Siri Eyes Free and it’s funny

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 10, 2014

General Motors a few days ago started airing a new television commercial for its brand now 2014 vehicle, the Chevrolet Equinox. The car features integration with Siri Eyes Free, an Apple-made voice-activated system which debuted in 2012 allowing drivers to interact with Siri on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad using their voice, without taking their hands off the steering wheel.

Watch now how a perfectly normal conversation between a husband and wife goes wrong thanks to Siri… Read More


‘Unique’ Istanbul Apple Store opening in April, Siri, R&D and more from Cook’s Turkey tour

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 4, 2014

Yesterday, Turkish government officially confirmed that Apple CEO Tim Cook was meeting President Abdullah Gül at the Çankaya Presidential Compound in Ankara to discuss a potential $4.5 billion iPad deal and other major initiatives and incentives in the 74 million people country.

The official website of the Turkish government on Tuesday published details of the meeting. The two leaders have covered a wide range of topics, including the possibility of an Apple research and development center in Turkey and how iPads could help improve education in the country.

President Gül wanted to know whether Apple could add Turkish support to Siri and Cook was interested in a possibility of Turkey dropping its special luxury taxes that are being applied to iPhone and iPad sales in the country… Read More


How to invoke Siri from the Pebble Smartwatch

By Jeff Benjamin on Jan 21, 2014

Great news for all of your Pebble Smartwatch owners: PebbleSiri and the Smartwatch+ jailbreak app has been updated to work with iOS 7. This means that you can now invoke Siri from your Pebble Smartwatch without touching your iPhone.

iPhone plugged into an outlet across the room, but want to set an alarm? No problem, just press the Siri button on your Pebble Smartwatch to invoke Siri and start dictating your commands. PebbleSiri is an absolute must have jailbreak tweak for Pebble Smartwatch owners, because it lessens the friction between the end user and Siri. Read More


iOS 7.1 to bring Siri gender option for UK, Australian English, possibly other languages

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 20, 2014

As Apple gears up to unleash the fourth beta of the upcoming iOS 7.1 firmware update, possibly as early as tomorrow (carriers are already testing it), we’ve been tipped off about a nice improvement in the current iOS 7.1 Beta 3 release which has apparently escaped our and pretty much everyone else’s attention.

Courtesy of the latest iOS 7.1 beta, male and female Siri voice with British English accent are now available on iOS 7.1 Beta 3 device. As the currently available non betas don’t offer updated voices for Siri in the UK, this signals Apple is looking to enable Siri’s gender option in more languages as the company continues to fine-tune its digital personal assistant… Read More


Jawbone soups up Era headset with HD Voice, Siri and Google Now integration and more

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 16, 2014

If you thought Bluetooth headsets were dead, think again. Jawbone makes some of the finest portable audio devices and wireless headsets and was among the first to release a Bluetooth headset for Apple’s iPhone. On Thursday, the San Francisco-based company has streamlined its headset offering by announcing a second-generation Era.

It’s 42 percent smaller, comes with its own charging case and looks good enough to be worn in public while offering interesting new voice features aimed at Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Now voice assistants. Read on for more info and some nice press shots… Read More


Assistant Unrestrictor: use Voice Control when Siri is unavailable

By Jeff Benjamin on Jan 2, 2014

I don’t use Siri nearly as much as I used to, so maybe I’m in the minority when I state that I rarely have problems with Siri not working; I simply don’t use it enough to encounter any problems. But for those of you who use Siri day in and day out, you’re more likely to experience the issues that Assistant Unrestrictor—a new jailbreak tweak available on Cydia’s BigBoss repo—tries to solve.

Assistant Unrestrictor is a tweak that forces the old-school Voice Control to come into play in the instances where Siri is unavailable. For example, when Siri is down due to the lack of a network connection, Voice Control can step in and handle some of the light load. Obviously, Voice Control is nowhere near as robust as Siri, but for light duty, it’s adequate in a pinch. Have a look at our full video walkthrough inside to see how it works. Read More


Siri may soon sort through your photos, new Apple invention reveals

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 26, 2013

With the ever-improving capabilities of smartphone cameras and so many great moments to capture on the go and share with your Instagram followers, browsing the hundreds – often times even thousands – of photographs in your iOS Camera Roll just to find that great shot of your significant other you’ve taken some time last year is starting to increasingly feel like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Sure, you can import iPhoto or Aperture albums or create your own ones right on your device. And yes, Apple’s improved the photo management capabilities of iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices by introducing new features in iOS 7, such as the ability to automatically group your photographs based on time taken and location.

A new patent now reveals that Apple could tap Siri to let you sort through your photos – and even tag them – just by using your voice… Read More


Report finds that Siri’s accuracy continues to improve under iOS 7

By Cody Lee on Dec 10, 2013

Gene Munster—yes the iTV guy—is out with a new report today looking at the state of Siri’s ability to accurately answer and respond to queries. The Piper Jaffray analyst regularly assesses the accuracy of Apple’s digital assistant.

In his latest look, Munster found that Siri has continued to improve with the release of iOS 7, particularly in its ability to properly interpret questions being asked and its overall performance when accessed in noisier situations…

Read More


If Siri drove a car…

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 9, 2013

Forget Apple’s iOS in the Car initiative, or Siri Eyes Free, or even big name car makers rolling out support for iOS mirroring and other hands-free features that tap Apple’s iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices – here comes the ultimate Siri-driven feature (yeah, pun intended).

Introducing Steeri, the world’s first driverless car app.

Put together by the Smart Department sketch comedy group, the video humorously depicts what Siri-powered driving might be like. The video is right after the jump so have a look and join us in comments… Read More


Apple patents smart iDevice dock with always-listening Siri capability

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 5, 2013

An interesting Apple patent application has surfaced in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database on Thursday. Titled ‘Smart dock for activating a voice recognition mode of a portable electronic device,’ the filing basically describes a smart dock of sorts for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices with a unique feature giving Apple’s Siri digital personal assistant a permanent place in your home, with a cool always-on functionality.

Unlike Motorola’s Moto X handset with on-device Google Now feature always in the listening mode and responding to the ‘OK Google’ phrase, Apple’s patent relies on a hardware dock providing the listening functionality, with users being able to set a custom audio prompt that will trigger Siri… Read More


Honda details Siri Eyes Free integration for 2013-2014 Accord and Acura models

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 26, 2013

Along with many fellow car vendors, Honda back in January 2013 promised to roll out certain Accord and Acura models with integrated support for Apple’s Eyes Free.

In a blog post today, the Japanese car maker announced that Siri Eyes Free integration is available on the 2013-2014 Honda Accord and 2013 Acura RDX and ILX vehicles as a dealer-installed accessory.

As you know, Siri Eyes Free is a voice-activated system which allows drivers to interact with Siri on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad using their voice, without ever taking their hands off the steering wheel. It also helps minimize distractions by keeping an iOS device’s screen from lighting up.

With Siri Eyes Free, you can send, receive and read messages, set reminders and alarms, check the weather, stock quotes, sports scores, showtimes and other info and even use turn-by-turn navigation, all through the power of Siri’s spoken commands… Read More


GM announces Siri ‘Eyes Free’ coming to 2014 Camaro, Malibu and more

By Cody Lee on Oct 15, 2013

General Motors has issued a press release this week, announcing that Siri ‘Eyes Free’ mode will be coming to several new vehicles in 2014, including the Chevy Camaro, Volt, Malibu, SS, Cruze and Equinox.

The feature, which in GM models works via the Chevrolet MyLink service, connects to compatible iPhones to give users one-touch, in-car access to Siri, allowing them to perform various tasks hands-free… Read More


Meet voice actress Susan Bennett, the original voice of Siri

By Ed Sutherland on Oct 4, 2013

The mystique of Siri, Apple’s “personal assistant” for iOS, has been the mysterious female voice. Able to speak directions to your favorite pizza parlor as well as carry on witty banter with celebrities, finding the voice behind your iPhone has become the holy grail for love-struck geeks everywhere. Now comes a middle-aged Atlanta mom who claims she’s the original voice behind Siri, providing a peak behind the world of talking machines.

Susan Bennett, a mom from Sandy Springs, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta, never wanted the spotlight. Her voice has been used to give life to machines ranging from the an ATM to a voice announcing directions inside the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport. Now she is speaking out about her role as the most famous unknown voice heard by millions of people… Read More


Apple’s ever-growing cash horde pegged at one-tenth of all US corporate dollars

By Ed Sutherland on Oct 2, 2013

Some people collects rocks, other people collect stamps. Apple, however, likes cash. Turns out the iPhone maker, all by itself, controls ten percent of all corporate cash in the United States.

Just how much is that? New data shows Apple’s bank account of $147 billion represents ten percent of the $1.48 trillion held by non-banking U.S. companies.

Here’s another factoid to make you even more uneasy about that measly savings account of yours: all together, Microsoft, Google, Cisco and Pfizer – not exactly nickel and dime operations – account for another fifteen percent of all U.S. corporate cash… Read More


Apple Maps and Siri woes again make headlines

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 25, 2013

Just when you thought the dust has settled over Apple’s digital personal assistant, Siri, and the company’s Google Maps replacement software in iOS, latest reports once again pan the two services over gross inaccuracies.

Worse, these stories paint Apple Maps and Siri in a not-so-favorable light – and very publicly, too.

The first report comes from Alaska and warns about people looking for directions to the Fairbanks International Airport, only to be instructed to drive onto an airport taxiway, which is located directly across the runway where airplanes take off and land…. Read More

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