Hires from VoiceSignal, Nuance talent hints at further work on in-house Siri engine
More evidence of earlier speculation that Apple was developing its own Siri engine to replace the licensed one from Nuance emerged on Monday, as a local newspaper reported that Apple is expanding its Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Siri operations with recent hires from Nuance and VoiceSignal Technologies, a company now owned by Nuance. The team would be staying in the same building, but moving to larger quarters on the upper floors -- enough for 65 workers, reports say.
Cambridge 640BD player
Cambridge Audio -- better known for its speakers and receivers -- is on the verge of joining the market for Blu-ray players, say reports. The company is preparing the 640BD, a Profile 2.0 player with HDMI 1.3 output, as well as surround-sound decoding that supports all major formats except for DTS HD Master. Cambridge says the format is too processor-intensive for its hardware, though a bitstream can still be fed through to a compatible receiver.
Apple HD Radio Plans
Efforts by Apple will have a slew of iPod speaker docks with HD Radio debuting at next month's Macworld show, according to one report. The device maker is allegedly very supportive of the iTunes Tagging feature that launched along with the Polk iSonic ES2 in the fall and wants to see it widespread in the accessory market, with many AM/FM radio docks gaining both HD Radio support and the ability to embed tags in the digital stream. The reason behind the maneuver is not explicitly mentioned but is likely an effort to drive iTunes sales through the accessory business, encouraging listeners to tag songs heard on the radio for a future download once an iPod in a radio dock syncs back with its host computer.
Cambridge Newton II and HD
Cambridge this morning upgraded its home theater speakers, starting with the introduction of the Newton II. The speaker series builds on the original by adding aluminum domes to the tweeters that improve clarity without affecting the overall sound; low-end and mid-range drivers have also been bolstered, the speaker designer says. Certain bookshelf and center satellite speakers also have new front ports to install them in cabinets or for wall mounts. Prices vary depending on the size and focus of the speakers, but start at $350.