Roku 4 Media Player Delivers 4K Streaming, Discovery Updates

Roku officially revealed the Roku 4, priced at $129.99, which supports 4K/Ultra HD and HDTVs, and features a new operating system, faster processor, improved Wi-Fi and more memory. Roku OS 7 improves users’ ability to discover specific content among its 3,000+ apps and channels. The company also unveiled an updated mobile app, which offers a streamlined design for Search, the Roku Feed and remote control from the smartphone. The Roku 4 joins several upgraded connected players from Amazon, Apple, Google and TiVo. Continue reading Roku 4 Media Player Delivers 4K Streaming, Discovery Updates

There is Untapped Potential in Enhanced Online Video Search

We are used to very sophisticated search for text, but when it comes to online video, search tools are quite primitive. Netflix allows users to search by titles, people and genres; Hulu powers search for titles and people; and HBO Now restricts search to titles. The potential for exquisitely granular search — and potential new revenue streams — can be found in each TV show or movie’s rich metadata. But how to unlock it, and how to structure search is still open to question and experimentation. Continue reading There is Untapped Potential in Enhanced Online Video Search

Apple Introduces New iPhones, Apple TV, iPad Pro and More

In addition to the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus and next-gen Apple TV set-top box with an emphasis on apps, gaming and shopping, Apple unveiled several compelling new products and updates at its San Francisco event, including a $100 stylus called Apple Pencil, a new iPad Pro with optional keyboard that will likely play to business users, improvements to the Apple Watch (including apps such as Facebook Messenger and AirStrip), and more. For the new iPhones, Apple has notably packed the back-facing iSight cameras with 12 megapixels, a larger sensor designed to reduce image artifacts, and the ability to shoot 4K video. Continue reading Apple Introduces New iPhones, Apple TV, iPad Pro and More

Apple TV 4 to Debut in October, Could Be a Game Changer

Inside sources report that Apple is on the verge of releasing its 4th generation Apple TV in October for a price likely to be under $200. The new Apple TV will feature an A8 chip in a dual-core configuration for an updated interface and improved navigation. More importantly, it will include a native software developer kit, ensuring that a wide variety of apps will continue to be developed and released. Also featured are a new motion sensitive remote control, Siri support and an as-of-yet unknown quantity of TV content. Continue reading Apple TV 4 to Debut in October, Could Be a Game Changer

Facebook Personal Assistant Integrates AI with Human Touch

Facebook just launched its new personal assistant, M, to a few hundred San Francisco Bay Area users. Unlike Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana, however, M is not just powered by artificial intelligence. M does all the same things that Siri and Cortana do, but it adds a team of experienced customer service reps to accomplish more “human” tasks such as calling the cable company and enduring automated messages and holds. Facebook is disadvantaged on mobile devices, but the company hopes its efficiency will spur usage. Continue reading Facebook Personal Assistant Integrates AI with Human Touch

The Mobile Future: Operating Systems Versus Messaging Apps

Search and apps may dominate today’s landscape for mobile devices, but two different trends are already vying to dominate the future of smartphones and the Internet. One group, led by Apple and Google, sees a future in which artificial intelligence or a virtual assistant — think Siri and Google Now — integrate apps, websites and any other online “silos.” The other group plans to leverage messaging apps to incorporate as many functions as possible. China’s WeChat dominates here, but Facebook and Snapchat also fall into this group. Continue reading The Mobile Future: Operating Systems Versus Messaging Apps

Slack Uses Artificial Intelligence to Build New Virtual Assistant

Stewart Butterfield, founder and CEO of office chat software maker Slack Technologies, says his company is using AI to help build an advanced virtual assistant. Slackbot, Slack’s current built-in assistant, is an icon used for tips, searches and even a sprinkling of humor. In discussing the future potential of Slackbot, Butterfield compares it to the Samantha software voiced by Scarlett Johansson from the film “Her.” Butterfield is leveraging natural language processing and machine learning to build a truly helpful digital office assistant. Continue reading Slack Uses Artificial Intelligence to Build New Virtual Assistant

Casie is a New Digital Personal Assistant That You Can Wear

OrCam Technologies has created a wearable, digital personal assistant device, called Casie, which can be clipped onto a shirt or worn as a medallion on a necklace. The USB-sized device, which will soon go through testing, contains a 5-megapixel camera and microphone, which can record a user’s surroundings and connect with the Casie app on a user’s phone. The app can then pair its recordings with data from the Internet to help the user identify and analyze places and people, such as a LinkedIn connection. Continue reading Casie is a New Digital Personal Assistant That You Can Wear

Apple Building a Faster Network and Upgrading Data Centers

In an effort to better compete with major players such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft in cloud services, insiders indicate that Apple is developing a high-speed network and changing the way it builds data centers. While Apple has turned to network providers and tech suppliers in the past to support iTunes, iCloud, Siri and more, the company just announced a new streaming music service and is expected to launch an online TV service. Apple’s new initiatives will require faster, more efficient infrastructure to meet the increased demands for content delivery. Continue reading Apple Building a Faster Network and Upgrading Data Centers

Apple Announces New Products, Updates from San Francisco

While the first day of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference did not include any major surprises, the company unveiled interesting details about its much anticipated music service launching this month, new versions of its OS X and iOS operating systems, and software updates to its car, home and smartwatch products. Apple is replacing its Newsstand app with “News,” and Passbook has become “Wallet.” The company announced new partners for Apple Pay, including Trader Joe’s and JC Penney, and an upcoming compatible reader from Square. Continue reading Apple Announces New Products, Updates from San Francisco

New Hound App Could Prove Rival to Siri, Cortana, Google Now

As the battle heats up with tech companies over artificial intelligence and digital assistants, SoundHound released an app this week called “Hound” that promises to enhance voice search with its ability to quickly and efficiently handle complex questions. According to Keyvan Mohajer, SoundHound founder and chief exec, Hound has a leg up on the competition since it performs voice recognition and natural-language processing in a single step, as opposed to translating speech to text and then performing a search using that text. Continue reading New Hound App Could Prove Rival to Siri, Cortana, Google Now

Apple Refutes Delays, Says HomeKit Devices Shipping in June

Apple is refuting a recent report that suggested HomeKit — its home automation software platform — was experiencing problems and could expect delays. This week the company announced that the first HomeKit-enabled devices will ship next month. The company first unveiled HomeKit at last June’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The platform enables Apple devices to control connected appliances in the home, essentially turning iPhones and iPads into a command system for smart thermostats, lights, garage doors, locks, security systems and more. Continue reading Apple Refutes Delays, Says HomeKit Devices Shipping in June

Yahoo is Developing a Mobile Search App to Take On Google

Yahoo is making a personal assistant and mobile search app that will compete with Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana. The app, codenamed “Index,” will be able to pull information from a user’s email to provide the most relevant search results. It will most likely be ad-supported and the company is aiming to complete a pilot version of the app this year. Yahoo executives hopes this app will be able to take some share of the mobile search market from Google. Continue reading Yahoo is Developing a Mobile Search App to Take On Google

Apple Watch Not Perfect, But Some Say Best New Smartwatch

With the Apple Watch release date only weeks away, the reviews for the new wearable continue to roll in. The Watch, Apple’s first new product in nearly five years, is already being coined by many as the best smartwatch on the market. While reviews have been largely positive, there also seems to be a steep learning curve. Some early testers have said it takes time to get familiar with all of the Watch’s functions and features, but that eventually it becomes as simple to use as any of Apple’s other devices.  Continue reading Apple Watch Not Perfect, But Some Say Best New Smartwatch

Apple Unveils New Line of Watches, 12-Inch MacBook and More

Details about the Apple Watch were unveiled during Monday’s product event in San Francisco. Preorders for the Apple device will begin on April 10; its availability is scheduled for two weeks later. Offered in 20 models, pricing ranges from $349-$499 for the Sport Edition, $549-$1099 for the Apple Watch, and $10,000+ for the Apple Watch Edition. The company also announced a price reduction for Apple TV; an exclsuive deal with the upcoming HBO Now streaming service; and a redesigned 12-inch, ultrathin, Retina display MacBook. Continue reading Apple Unveils New Line of Watches, 12-Inch MacBook and More

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