Apple discourages complicated requests
Apple has run a server-side update to Siri, changing how the service responds to long commands, notes iLounge. If Siri judges that a request is too long, it will now reply with a quote from either William Strunk or Thomas Jefferson, in either case praising brevity of language. It's not clear exactly when the update was made, but it appears to have happened during the last week and a half.
Special version of Maps may appear on dashboard displays
With iOS 7, Apple wants to deepen in-car integration options for iOS devices, sources claim. Currently such integration is limited mostly to things like iPod input or Siri Eyes Free, which makes it possible to issue Siri commands with a quick-access button. Sources tell 9to5Mac, however, that Apple is working with car companies on new center consoles that could dock an iPhone and output an optimized, car-oriented version of Maps to a dashboard display.
Apple claims data anonymized, used to improve technology
All the requests people have made through Siri are being stored on Apple servers for a period of up to two years, says Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller. The statement comes in response to Wired inquiries about ambiguity in Siri's privacy policies, initially pointed out by American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Nicole Ozer. Muller insists that Apple is anonymizing the request data, and only collecting voice clips in order to improve Siri.
Voice assistant app for Android or iOS
Amazon has reportedly acquired voice-assistant app developer Evi Technologies, unnamed sources have told TechCrunch. The deal, which is said to be worth $26 million, is said to be focused on Evi's mobile apps for Android and iOS, which provide functionality similar to that of Apple's own Siri technology, though both parties have yet to make an official announcement.
Info, photo match earlier leak
An iPhone 5S expected this year will use a quad-core 1.2GHz A7 processor paired with PowerVR's quad-core SGX554MP4 graphics, and 2GB of LPDDR-800 RAM, says a DroidGator source allegedly working for Apple. The person has also supplied a photo of the device's motherboard, and claims that improving Siri will be a major focus of iOS 7. Every iPhone upgrade has been accompanied by a major iOS release.
May involved expanding Siri partnership, more mobile features
Apple and Yahoo are discussing ways to bring more of Yahoo's best features to Apple's iOS platform, the Wall Street Journal reports. While the two companies are already working together on various projects -- the default Stock and Weather apps on iOS devices are powered by Yahoo, its search engine is an option in Safari, and its sports stats are incorporated into Siri -- the idea may be to continue Apple's move away from Google services wherever possible. This may include expanded service offerings and more cooperation.
Firm claims Xiao voice recognition tech predates Siri
Lawyers for Apple appeared in a Shanghai court earlier today at the start of a lawsuit over the company's Siri voice command system, according to Agence France-Presse. Zhizhen Network Technology alleges that Siri violates a patent on voice recognition, used in the company's Xiao i Robot software, that dates back to 2004. Siri is said to have been first developed in 2007. After buying out Siri's creator, Apple folded the technology into iOS in October 2011.
New Sonic allows voice-activated calls, songs, texts, calendars
Chevrolet, the first automaker to bring Apple's Siri Eyes-Free feature to market, has debuted a new TV commercial that showcases the feature as an integral selling point for the forthcoming 2014 Chevy Sonic. The Sonic, the second production model with the feature behind the Spark, has an integrated steering-wheel button that activates Siri to allow voice control of several functions of iOS devices without ever activating the screen or relying on visual feedback. Nine other automakers will also be bringing out models that feature Siri Eyes-Free.
Judge had questioned whether it would proceed during appeal process
Judge Lucy Koh, who has been overseeing the primary US court battles between Apple and Samsung, ruled Friday to allow a second lawsuit against the Korean electronics giant to proceed -- despite expressing reservations on the idea while the appeal of the first Apple-Samsung trial is still being heard. Koh was apparently persuaded by filings from Apple's lawyers that the second case should go forward because of "ongoing" infringement and harm to Apple. The new case involves patents related to Apple's Siri voice assistant.
Allows music, calling, texting control
As promised, Chevrolet's 2013 Sonic and Spark cars have been updated to support Siri Eyes Free. The bridge is handled through MyLink, a touchscreen interface built into the vehicles. To use the function a person has to connect a cellular-equipped iOS device via Bluetooth; commands are issued by pressing a voice activation button on the steering wheel.
Apple could be well into smartwatch development
Lending further weight to Apple’s rumored plans for an ‘iWatch’, the company is said to have assigned up to 100 people to the project. An earlier rumors suggested that Apple might be experimenting with smartwatch-like device running the company’s iOS mobile operating system and using a new type of curved glass. The fresh rumor reported by Bloomberg would have Apple much closer to a potential product launch than previously thought.
Siri for iOS also slated to get more features
A new opening for a UI engineer at Apple indicates that the company has major plans for Siri, says AppleInsider. The person will be expected to work on the presentation of results in Siri's conversation view, integrating new apps and services into the voice command system. Apple describes Siri as "an entire miniature OS within the OS."
May integrate with HondaLink and AcuraLink
Honda has announced a slate of 2013 cars that will support Apple's Eyes Free feature for Siri. The technology will come as a dealer-installed option for the new Honda Accord, as well as for the Acura RDX and ILX. On the Accord it may be integrated with the company's new HondaLink console, whereas the Acuras will likely rely on AcuraLink. No prices have been revealed so far.
Update expands LTE support, tweaks Siri, iTunes Match
(Updated with security, Apple TV info) Apple has officially released iOS 6.1 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The update is available through iTunes or as an over-the-air download, and makes several important tweaks. For instance, it enables LTE on the extended number of carriers Apple announced last week; an official list has been posted on the company's website.
Apple purchase killed deal
Siri -- the voice command technology in Apple's iOS -- was at one point set to become an exclusive to Verizon, a new report reveals. The Huffington Post says that in fall of 2009, Verizon signed a deal with Siri's then-independent developer for the project, with the goal of putting the technology on all of Verizon's Android phones launched during 2010. The deal was so far advanced that commercials were produced, but never aired.
Listing of supporting companies so far up to 10
Korea's Hyundai is joining the list of car makers supporting Apple's Siri Eyes-Free technology, according to a CES announcement. The company hasn't identified specific car models yet, but says that upcoming vehicles with dashboard consoles will get the technology. Using Eyes-Free requires a mobile device running iOS 6.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has awarded Apple a pair of new patents. Of the two, the most significant may be Desktop widgets for presentation in a layer, essentially documenting the widgets dashboard users can pop up in OS X. The feature dates back to OS X Tiger, and grants quick access to a collection of simple but custom-picked apps like a calculator or sticky notes. The patent also mentions that widgets can be installed from an online repository, and/or fetch their source data from the Internet, such as in the case of a weather widget.
General Motors has announced that it will be the first car maker to integrate Apple’s Siri into its vehicles. The Chevorlet Spark and the Sonic LTZ and RS models will be the first to integrate Siri’s voice control capabilities via their built-in MyLink infotainment systems. The capability is dependent on owners having a compatible iPhone running iOS 6 or higher.
Arabic, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish versions planned
Apple is working on adding another six international translations of Siri, a job listing reveals. An opening for cloud services engineering interns became available on November 13th; candidates are expected to "join the team responsible for delivering Siri in different parts of the world for an exciting 6 month internship in Cupertino, California." Candidates must be "native or fluent" in Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Korean, Norwegian, and/or Swedish, and fluent in English. The requirement is telling since Siri still isn't available in Arabic, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish.
Guns also censored in China
Apple has pulled prostitutes from Siri search results in China, according to the Times of India. In response to user queries in the region, Siri will now reportedly answer with "I couldn't find any escort services." An Apple customer service representative tells the Times that that the censorship comes in response to "reports from our users."
Connection to Apple unclear, likely stock ownership
District Court Judge Gary Sharpe has recused himself from a lawsuit involving Apple's Siri technology because of his potential conflict of interest involving Apple. In removing himself, he cited the law that said "any conduct that would lead a reasonable [person] knowing all the circumstances to the conclusion that the judge's 'impartiality might reasonably be questioned' is a basis for the judge's disqualification." The judge's Apple connection to the case outside the courtroom hasn't been made clear.
Search exec hire could be meant to boost Siri's capabilities
Apple has reportedly brought on William Stasior, an executive at Amazon who runs A9, Amazon's search and search advertising unit. Stasior will now take over the unit within Apple dedicated to its Siri digital assistant. The hire is thought to be aimed at improving Siri's search capabilities, and observers note that it could signal a stronger move into Internet search for Apple, a company that has typically relied on third-party services to power search in its devices.
Documentation hints at Portuguese version of Siri
The iPhone 5 has been approved for sale by Brazil's telecommunications regulatory, Anatel, MacRumors reports. A notice is said to have been posted yesterday, and lists Foxconn plants in Brazil and China as assembly facilities. Still left out of the document, though, is when Apple might plan to launch the 5 in the region. Apple is aiming at having the phone in 100 countries by December.
Siri co-founder credited among inventors
A newly-published Apple patent application seeks the US rights to Siri, notes AppleInsider. The 51-page filing is simply titled Intelligent Automated Assistant, but illustrates software that "engages with the user in an integrated, conversational manner using natural dialog, and invokes external services when appropriate to obtain information or perform various actions." In explaining the purpose of the technology, Apple states that smartphones have numerous apps each with their own interface, which can allegedly be "burdensome to learn or overwhelming for users." A conversational voice command system is said to alleviate the problem.
Both voice control options flawed; need more work overall
According to tests by CNet, Apple's Siri voice recognition technology is still better than Samsung's S Voice, but both offerings "have a long way to go." Tests were performed with 12 commands that are a routine part of both program's capabilities, on either an iPhone 4S or Samsung Galaxy S III in the same location, with time to parse and resolve the question not evaluated for purposes of the test.
Second Siri founding member to leave, no destination announced
One of the engineers who co-founded Siri and former vice president of engineering of the company has reportedly left Apple. Adam Cheyer departed recently after working in Apple's mobile software division, making it the second founding team member to leave Apple after former Chief Executive Officer Dag Kittlaus departed after Apple purchased the company.
Patent suit filed in Eastern District of Texas court
Taiwan's National Cheng Kung University has filed a suit in Texas alleging that Apple's Siri technology infringes two voice-to-text US patents it was granted in 2007 and 2010. The suit is the opening volley in what may become a wave of suits in the US, as the university claims to be examining whether similar voice recognition systems used by Google and Microsoft are infringing as well.
Uses Siri to navigate taxi ride, day planning
Apple has released another ad for the iPhone 4S and its biggest selling point, the Siri voice assistant. The new commercial stars film director Martin Scorsese driving into downtown New York City for a busy day, and using Siri to help him reorganize his schedule, check on traffic, and identify the whereabouts of a friend. The ad is the first to show Apple's "Find a Friend" app in action, pointing out that Siri can leverage the program in response to a question such as "where's Rick?"
LG Quick Voice assistant will launch in the US in 2013 as Q Voice
LG's Siri- and S Voice-alternative Quick Voice service that launched in South Korea in June is being renamed to Q Voice. The move brings it more in line with Samsung's offering, at least by name, and it will also reportedly be rebranded to better compete with it. The service will also launch in the US market with the new name sometime in 2013.
Voice tech does only modestly better indoors than out
Apple's Siri voice command system is still probably an inferior choice for searches versus Google text entries, according to a study by researchers at Piper Jaffray. Analyst Gene Munster and his team tested Siri first with 800 queries in a quiet room, without using headphones, and then with another 800 queries out on a busy Minneapolis street, but using Skull Candy mic-equipped headphones. Indoors Siri understood 89 percent of queries, accurately answering 68 percent of questions. Outdoors it faired slightly worse, with rates of 83 and 62 percent, respectively.
Chevy models to be among first to feature Siri
The Siri Eyes-Free feature that was first shown off at Apple's developer conference earlier this month will be appearing in future versions of Chevrolet's Spark and Sonic models. Sources tell GM Authority that the Spark and Sonic will be among the first cars to feature integration with Apple's digital assistant. The automaker has yet to confirm the news with an announcement, but one may be forthcoming within the next 12 months.
LG to launch service in South Korea this month
LG is launching its own mobile-based virtual assistant in South Korea. Quick Voice, rolling out to various future Optimus handsets, is an attempt to take on the voice command functions offered by Apple's Siri and Samsung's S Voice. International variations of the app may follow the Korean launch.
Passbook app keeps digital passes in central spot
At today's WWDC 2012 keynote, Apple formally unveiled iOS 6, its next-generation mobile OS. In all the firmware is said to have some 200 new features, foremost of which is a new Maps app. The software severs ties with Google, and has several major new features including local business search, and 3D map views in some cities, using vector and/or aerial imagery. Turn-by-turn navigation has been introduced, which also supports Siri commands such as navigation and point-of-interest requests. Traffic data is based on real-time anonymous data from iOS users.
Feature may be exclusive to third-generation iPad
Apple will finally bring Siri to the iPad with the advent of iOS 6, claims 9to5Mac. The site quotes "trusted sources," who suggest that the change will be one of iOS 6's main selling points. All of the features from the iPhone version of Siri are expected to carry over except for anything specifically phone-related. The iPad interface should also operate in the same way, the key difference being that iPad users will only see a small window slide up from below, rather than a fullscreen interface.
New ad reveals the meaning of life
Apple has released two new televisions commercials featuring the iPhone 4S, its Siri voice capability and a celebrity in need of company. Like the first two ads in the series, a famous actor (in this case thespian and director John Malkovich) is inside a white house alone, making conversation with Siri. Unlike the previous commercials, Malkovich never leaves his chair, and gets two distinct ads -- one of which reveals the meaning of life.
Technology considered corporate security threat
Siri, the voice command system on the iPhone 4S, is being blocked on IBM's internal networks, the company's CIO has revealed. Jeanette Horan mentioned the fact in an interview with MIT's Technology Review this week. The core issue involves the way Siri translates speech; rather than performing the task on a phone, it uploads recordings to Apple servers, where the speech is deciphered before results are sent back. Accompanying this is user data, such as the names of people in Contacts, since the information is needed to interpret some requests.
Technology behind Siri comes to cars
Nuance, maker of the technology that partially powers Apple's Siri digital assistant, has announced that it is bringing its natural language technology to cars. Dragon Drive will allow drivers to compose text messages, get directions, and find traffic information by speaking to their cars. Nuance's voice-command technology is already featured in Ford's Sync application, but the company looks to bring the capability to a wider range of manufacturers with Dragon Drive.
Apple claims Siri works fine, user error and opportunism
Apple has filed to dismiss a range of lawsuits filed against it over the performance of Siri, the digital assistant featured on the iPhone 4S. Apple contends in its motion that the plaintiffs in the case lack standing to pursue their case, have improperly interpreted Apple's advertising of Siri, and have failed to pursue other means of redress beyond litigation.
Conflicting, complementary answers from smartphone assistants
Owners of the iPhone 4S and Lumia 800 can get solid advice on just about anything, thanks to the voice-recognition technology built into the phones' digital assistant software; but it turns out that if they ask for advice on smartphones, they may wind up with a bit of buyer's remorse. As The Next Web found out through experimentation, the two phones give conflicting and complementary answers when you ask each what is the best smartphone.
Hardware said to resemble oversized Thunderbolt Display
A "well-placed" source has seen a prototype of Apple's upcoming TV set, claims Cult of Mac. Visually the hardware is said to resemble Apple's current Thunderbolt Display, but with a size "much larger" than 27 inches. The centerpiece is actually an iSight camera, which will allegedly support Siri voice commands and FaceTime video calls.
Apple's Prineville, Oregon plant gets tax break
Apple has reached an agreement with the town of Prineville and Crook County in return for the placement of its Oregon datacenter. The deal will give Apple a 15-year property tax exemption. In return, it will have to invest $250 million in its 160 acres of land and promise at least 35 jobs at 150 percent higher than the county average.
iPhone 4S ad taps Sam Jackson in unusual spot
(Update: Zooey Deschanel too) Apple, Sprint, and Verizon on Monday renewed the iPhone 4S ad run with a first celebrity commercial for the hardware. The as yet unnamed TV spot (below) has Samuel L. Jackson acting out of stereotype and using his iPhone's Siri to cancel golf, shop for dinner ingredients, and time his gazpacho. The promo even exploits Siri's real reactions to direct statements, reacting to Jackson's telling Siri it can take the night off.
Apple still promoting Siri as selling point
One of the first print ads for Siri has been spotted in the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine, reports Twitter user Philip Bernstein. The ad is a simple photo of a user holding the iPhone in a city environment (specifically, San Francisco) with the caption "I could use a latte" and Siri showing the results of nearby coffee shops. "You speak, Siri helps" reads the tagline, promoting the iPhone 4S as "the most amazing iPhone yet."
LA man says he can't get it to work properly
A second lawsuit has been filed regarding Siri, the voice-capable assistant in the iPhone 4S, this time in Los Angeles. The suit alleges that Apple is overselling Siri's abilities in its TV advertising, echoing an earlier one filed by a New York City resident, claiming that Siri doesn't understand the plaintiff or provides the wrong answer after a long delay. The new lawsuit seeks "relief and damages" for "false and deceptive" representations, and has applied for class-action status.
Siri founder met with Jobs shortly after app debut
Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs didn't particularly like the name "Siri," but decided to use it for the iPhone 4S' voice command system anyway, according to Siri co-founder Dag Kittlaus. Kittlaus recently gave a speech in which he explained some of the origins of the app and its progression from a third-party title to a part of iOS. He mentioned, for instance, that he was told "Siri" is Norwegian for "beautiful woman who leads you to victory."
iPhone 4S sees active use but mixed uptake
A new Parks Associates study obtained early has given a rare glimpse into Siri habits on the iPhone 4S. Although talking to a small pool of 482 users, Parks told the Wall Street Journal that no more than a third of these were using it daily. The most common uses, which reached the one-third mark, were either making calls, sending texts or iMessages, and running searches.
Apple may get sports updates throigh voice search
A new discovery within code for Siri has suggested that Apple is about to start a tie-in with ESPN for voice-guided sports search. iOS app writer Evan Coleman found that Siri now recognizes sports teams as whole voice tokens, or search elements, rather than breaking it up into individual words. He noted that ESPN had just recently posted a limited-access API for accessing its sports scores from an app, and that the company when asked was unusually non-committal on its answer as to whether plans were underway.
Engine to provide direct answers to queries
Google is reportedly preparing to revamp its search engine, embracing "semantic search" technology to improve relevancy. The algorithms will be adapted and expanded in an attempt to understand the meaning of the words in a search query, allowing the servers to respond with a direct answer to certain questions.
Time and weather queries better handled
Apple's support for time and weather queries via Siri in Canada has been quietly improved, allowing users to get the correct response to a question like "what time is it" without having to mention location, which was previously required, reports iPhoneinCanada. The improved location ability also helps Siri answer questions about the weather in a more natural way, such as asking "what is the wind chill right now?"
Compares moderately against DoCoMo alternative
A video posted on YouTube shows a comparison of Apple's Siri, which only just recently gained Japanese support, against a built-in voice recognition feature developed by DoCoMo, one of Japan's largest carriers. The match-up showed that Siri was able to understand basic and universal Japanese, but had trouble with more complex requests compared to Syabette Concier, an Android app developed for by the carrier, AppleInsider reports.