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

Social: Facebook Acquires Startup with Siri-Like Technology

Facebook has reportedly acquired Wit.ai, a Palo Alto-based startup with an API that allows developers to make use of voice recognition and natural language processing technology for their products. Although Facebook has not yet disclosed any details about Wit moving forward, it seems that the social network’s instant messaging app Messenger will likely be a part of the plan. The voice recognition technology that Wit provides Facebook is in line with that of Apple’s Siri. Continue reading Social: Facebook Acquires Startup with Siri-Like Technology

Amazon’s New $199 Echo Speaker Interacts with Shoppers

Users can listen to music through Amazon’s new Echo speakers, but more importantly, this new device listens to users as well. Similar to Siri, users can ask the Echo speakers (which go by the name Alexa) about the weather, news, math problems, definitions, and anything else that can be looked up on Wikipedia. They can also set timers and make shopping lists. Someday those shopping lists may make it possible for Amazon to create an online ordering service through voice commands. Continue reading Amazon’s New $199 Echo Speaker Interacts with Shoppers

Will.i.am Unveils New Smartwatch with Streaming Music Service

Musician and tech entrepreneur will.i.am has introduced the PULS smartwatch in order to fill what he perceives as a void in a wearable market that does not adequately take fashion into account. At Dreamforce 2014, he presented PULS as a wearable that does not need to be tethered to a phone since it has its own SIM card. The device looks more like a cuff, and has speakers and a touchscreen display. PULS connects via Wi-Fi and has carrier partners for 3G — AT&T in the U.S. and O2 in the U.K.  Continue reading Will.i.am Unveils New Smartwatch with Streaming Music Service

Speech Recognition Tech: Kids Speak with Animated Characters

Pixar vets Oren Jacob and Martin Reddy launched San Francisco-based ToyTalk, a startup that develops mobile games that enable children to have extended conversations with animated characters. The concept was inspired by a Skype call when Jacob’s then 7-year-old daughter asked if she could speak with one of her dolls. While kids can hear characters speak through movies, games and toys, Jacob began thinking about how to help children better engage with the characters. Continue reading Speech Recognition Tech: Kids Speak with Animated Characters

Apple Introduces iOS 8 with a Focus on Privacy and Sharing

With the release of Apple’s iOS 8, the company is introducing some significant privacy and sharing upgrades. Following the recent hack of celebrity photographs from iCloud accounts, Apple launched a campaign explaining the ways in which it handles personal data. CEO Tim Cook released a statement indicating that he wants Apple to be transparent about these issues. In iOS 8, the company released a feature called Continuity, enhanced user privacy, and family sharing. Continue reading Apple Introduces iOS 8 with a Focus on Privacy and Sharing

Siri Creators Build a New Improved AI That Can Teach Itself

Viv Labs, a startup founded by three of the people who developed Siri for Apple, is currently working on an artificial intelligence technology that will truly be able to perform tasks at the sound of a voice command. Unlike Siri, the new AI named Viv will be able to teach itself to perform almost any function, not just the ones that are programmed. The AI will also get to know its user, recognize the services that the user prefers, and eventually know what the user needs before it is stated. Continue reading Siri Creators Build a New Improved AI That Can Teach Itself

VocalIQ and GM to Make Vehicle Voice Control More Intuitive

VocalIQ, a UK-based company that works on software to enable voice control of devices, is collaborating with General Motors to take vehicle voice control to the next level. The intuitive system would learn the driver’s vocabulary and intentions to create more precise responses, without the need for specific wording. The dialogue management system would be integrated into the car’s dashboard navigation. GM’s Israel-based Advanced Technical Center is overseeing the development. Continue reading VocalIQ and GM to Make Vehicle Voice Control More Intuitive

WWDC: Apple Announces New OS X, iOS 8 and iCloud Drive

Apple kicked off its Worldwide Developer Conference yesterday in San Francisco with a software-focused, two-hour event that highlighted the future of OS X, iOS 8, and a collection of new developer tools intended to encourage the creation of new apps. Apple’s new OS X Yosemite, with a visual overhaul inspired by iOS, will have a public beta this summer and will be available this fall. The company also announced iCloud Drive, a file system for storing documents in the cloud. Continue reading WWDC: Apple Announces New OS X, iOS 8 and iCloud Drive

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