Amazon buys Evi digital assistant, thwarts Apple partnership with Goodreads deal

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 19, 2013

Online retailer Amazon in an interesting personal assistant move has reportedly acquired Evi (pronounced ee-vee), a Cambridge, England headquartered startup that specialises in knowledge base and semantic search engine software. The company makes an iOS and Android app which uses the True Knowledge Answer engine and Nuance speech recognition platform to deliver answers to complex queries using natural language processing.

Apple’s Siri also uses Nuance for voice recognition and the iPhone maker even threatened to kick Evi out of the App Store for being too similar to Siri, but later changed its mind. Amazon previously in January 2013 bought Ivona Software, a Polish-based specialist in voice technologies that competes with Nuance.

Combining Ivona and Evi could yield some interesting results, giving Apple’s Siri a run for its money, even more so knowing Amazon makes tablets and is rumored to be building a smartphoneRead More


Assign Activator gestures to Siri questions with Ask Assistant

By Jeff Benjamin on Apr 18, 2013

Sometimes you just don’t feel like talking, even if it’s to Siri. Ask Assistant is perfect for those times, because it allows you to invoke Siri without saying a word.

The tweak lets you enter up to five canned Siri queries into its preference panel, and you can then assign each query to a specific Activator gesture. For instance, I setup a query that simply stated “Send a Tweet.” I then assigned this question to an Activator gesture — a double tap of the status bar. Now, anytime I want to send a new tweet, all it takes is a double tap of my status bar, and the new tweet sheet will appear.

It doesn’t have to be that simple, though. Ask Assistant can perform any query that you can normally perform using your voice. Take a look inside for a few additional details. Read More


Apple defends Siri in Shanghai courtroom

By Ed Sutherland on Mar 27, 2013

China may soon become a top source of legal headaches, as well as market opportunities. Wednesday, the iPhone maker begins a defense of its Siri software against a Chinese company’s claim the voice-activated personal assistant violates its 2004 patent. Zhizhen Network Technology Co. filed its lawsuit against Apple last summer and today the two firms meet for a pre-trial hearing in a Shanghai court.

According to Zhizhen, its “Xiao i Robot” software was patented before Apple developed Siri in 2007 and unveiled as part of the iPhone 4S in 2011. The Shanghai-based firm is asking the court to halt Apple making and selling products using Siri, a voice-activated personal assistant feature available on newer iPhones and iPads… Read More


Chevrolet highlights Siri Eyes Free feature in new TV ad

By Cody Lee on Mar 25, 2013

Last month, we told you that Chevy started offering Siri Eyes Free in its 2013 Sonic and Spark models, officially making it the first automaker, out of the 9+ that will support it, to incorporate the feature into a production vehicle.

Today, the car company posted a new TV ad for its 2013 Sonic sedan showcasing the new Siri integration, which gives compatible users hands-free access to the digital assistant from a built-in button on the car’s steering wheel… Read More


Crescent released on Cydia – here’s our video walkthrough

By Jeff Benjamin on Mar 17, 2013

Last night, we brought you Joshua Tucker’s video preview of Crescent — a new jailbreak tweak designed by tucker, and developed by Evan Coleman — which allows you to enable or disable Do Not Disturb via voice commands. We’re happy to tell you that Crescent is now available for download on Cydia’s BigBoss repo, and, as expected, it’s totally free. If you have a Siri capable device running iOS 6, then you’ll want to try Crescent if you use iOS’ Do Not Disturb feature often.

Have you tried it? Let me know what you think about Crescent in the comment section below.


‘Crescent’ allows you to enable and disable Do Not Disturb using Siri

By Jeff Benjamin on Mar 16, 2013

Crescent is an upcoming jailbreak tweak from designer Joshua Tucker, and developer Evan Coleman. Its name stems from its ability to enable or disable Do Not Disturb using Siri. Crescent will support all of Siri’s 16 languages, and should be available on Cydia soon. What do you think about it?


Senior iOS architect for Honda R&D uses brainwaves to control iPhone

By Cody Lee on Mar 11, 2013

This is pretty interesting. Senior iOS Architect at Honda R&D America Duane Cash is claiming that he has come up with a method of controlling Siri, and subsequently his iPhone, using a brainwave-reading device.

Cash uploaded a video of his project in action yesterday, which he describes as an effort to create a mind-controlled virtual assistant on the iPhone. And what he has so far looks pretty impressive. Check it out… Read More


Judge green-lights Apple’s Siri case against Samsung

By Cody Lee on Mar 9, 2013

Apple and Samsung are still battling it out in post-trial hearings left over from last fall’s high-profile infringement trial. And they have another one coming up this year that involves a whole new range of devices.

But there’s alway room for another case in the world of patent lawsuits. And Judge Lucy Koh just gave Apple permission to move forward on a third lawsuit with Samsung here in the States involving its Siri patent… Read More


‘Unveil’ allows you to view banner notifications while using Siri

By Jeff Benjamin on Feb 23, 2013

You probably haven’t noticed it personally, but did you know that banner notifications are supressed while the Siri interface is open? Well, to be honest, I didn’t either, until I saw this tweak pop-up in Cydia.

The premise behind Unveil is simple, allow banner notifications to be displayed within the Siri interface. If you’re someone who absolutely must have access to banner notifications at all times, then Unveil is something you should consider using. Read More


AssistantEnhancer picks up where Siri left off

By Jeff Benjamin on Feb 23, 2013

If you’re looking for a way to get more out of Siri, then a tweak like AssistantLove will most likely be of interest to you. That tweak, which was just recently updated to support iOS 6, allows you to play Spotify music using Siri, and integrates navigation and GPS features too.

Well, as of this week, there’s another option that you should consider trying, and it treads on much of the ground previously cultivated by AssistantLove. This new tweak, aptly entitled AssistantEnhancer, brings Spotify integration, along with a host of other features.

If the ability to search Amazon, find local events, search the App Store, and play Pandora sounds like something you’d like Siri to do for you, then you certainly want to check out AssistantEnhancer. It does all of the aforementioned, and much, much more. Take a look at our video walkthrough inside for a rundown of some of the tweak’s most outstanding features. Read More


AssistantLove receives an iOS 6 update

By Jeff Benjamin on Feb 18, 2013

One of my favorite jailbreak tweaks, AssistantLove, just received an update for iOS 6 compatibility. AssistantLove was featured in our top jailbreak tweaks of 2012 list, and would have been added to my “perfect iPhone” feature, if it had iOS 6 compatibility at the time.

If you’re a Spotify user like I am, then you will really appreciate what AssistantLove brings to the table. Along with allowing you to integrate GPS apps with Siri, and launch apps using shortcut names, AssistantLove meshes Siri with Spotify. This means that you pretty much search for any song or artist you can think of using your voice. Read More


Siri Eyes Free makes its debut today in Chevy’s Spark and Sonic vehicles

By Cody Lee on Feb 13, 2013

Last summer, during its WWDC keynote, Apple announced that it was going to be taking its digital assistant act on the road. It introduced Siri ‘Eyes Free,’ a feature that allows qualified iPhone users to interact with Siri over Bluetooth using stock vehicle controls.

A total of 9 major automakers have pledged support for the hands-free system including Audi, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, and Jaguar. And today, it makes its official debut in Chevrolet’s youth-oriented Spark and Sonic vehicles… Read More


How Apple sales are hitting a language barrier

By Ed Sutherland on Feb 10, 2013

Do you need another metric to follow in the race between Apple and Android? How about language?

That’s the focus of a new report suggesting Apple’s iPhone is predominantly focused on English-speaking nations while Android-powered Samsung smartphones are popular in Asia, Africa and South America, where English-speaking consumers are a minority.

After sifting through the Twitter accounts of both Apple and Samsung, a Saudi Arabian researcher at King Saud University (KSU) found 75 percent of Apple’s followers spoke English, while about 35 percent of Samsung’s online fans were non-English speakers… Read More


Siri programmed to control an entire house

By Cody Lee on Feb 7, 2013

It seems like it’s been a while since we’ve seen any good SiriProxy hacks. If you recall, setting up Siri proxy servers to program Apple’s digital assistant to execute custom commands was all the rage last year. But the movement has since quieted down.

There’s a new video out, though, of a guy using Siri and a Rasberry Pi-based SiriProxy server to control almost everything in his house that may rekindle interest in the community. Watch him control his thermostat and TV, open his garage and more… Read More


Siri Eyes Free coming to Honda’s 2013 Accord and Acura cars

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 30, 2013

Car maker Honda announced Wednesday that some of its 2013 vehicles will feature integration with Apple’s Eyes Free, a voice-activated system that lets compatible Siri-enabled iOS devices running iOS 6 to interact with the driver. Honda joins a host of other car makers who announced support for Siri’s Eyes Free mode or are already supporting the feature in high-end vehicles.

Apple at WWDC 2012 announced Eyes Free and said a number of car makers will be supporting it, including GM, Audi, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Land Rover, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, GM and Chrysler. Eyes Free allows drivers to interact with their iDevices using voice and bypassing touch input, thus increasing safety… Read More


How Verizon almost made Siri an Android exclusive

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 23, 2013

Apple’s digital secretary, Siri, arrived as an iPhone 4S exclusive in October 2011, but the feature almost ended up being exclusive to Android devices on the Verizon network. According to a new report, Verizon in the fall of 2009 managed to sign a deal with the startup to make Siri a default app on all Android phones set to launch in the new year. It’s interesting that the agreement was signed several months before Apple approached Siri and that the carrier even created unreleased ads highlighting Siri on Android.

Several months later, Apple came into full view to acquire the startup outright, effectively making the feature exclusive to its devices and narrowly escape seeing Siri falling into hands of the Android camp… Read More


Apple job ad promises wittier Siri responses

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 17, 2013

Apple’s digital secretary (still in beta, by the way) made waves when it arrived as an iPhone 4S exclusive on October 5, 2011. It caught rival gadget makers on the wrong foot, but Google quickly responded to the threat with Google Now, a voice-activated search product which taps Google’s Knowledge Graph to deliver personalized results without users even asking. Siri’s reliance on Google for data was dramatically reduced since iOS 6 and a recent job ad suggested Siri will soon speak a bunch of new languages.

Another job ad has been spotted today, indicating that Apple wants Siri to provide even wittier responses than it currently does. The ideal candidate for the job would be someone willing to “develop and write original dialog to support new Siri capabilities” and help the Siri team evolve Siri as a “distinct, recognizable character”Read More


Siri withholds information, can help you if you upgrade to iOS 6

By Mike Schnier on Jan 16, 2013

We haven’t seen a publicly released untethered jailbreak since iOS 6 debuted in September, and Apple hasn’t been making the wait easy for the jailbreak community. There are the little annoyances, like apps exclusive to iOS 6, over the air update alerts, and that pesky notification badge in settings that appears by default. Some of these are easy to deal with through tweaks, but what happens when Apple isn’t being subtle?

A user on Reddit asked Siri when the superbowl was starting, only to find that his personal assistant refused to comply. Siri’s response: “If you update to the latest version of iOS, I’ll be able to help you with that.” … Read More


Apple mulled iPhone ‘Emergency’ app in 2007

By Ed Sutherland on Jan 11, 2013

Cue Karl Malden. Stuck abroad without your emergency contact information. What will you do? Instead of turning to the local American Express office, you could consult your iPhone, according to a newly-discovered emergency application by Apple. In a patent application filed when the first-generation iPhone hit shelves, an app could hold local emergency phone numbers and addresses. The proposed app suggests Apple already envisioned its smartphone becoming a storehouse for vital information… Read More


CES 2013: Hyundai to integrate Apple’s Siri into its vehicles

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 7, 2013

After General Motors announced in November it was going to be one of the first car companies to market its new Chevy Sonic and Spark vehicles with the new Siri Eyes Free feature, today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas car maker Hyundai Motor Company also confirmed it will integrate the feature into its vehicles, although the company did not specify which models will be part of the initiative. More information right past the fold… Read More

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