Analyst Predicts No Siri on iPhone 5C, Fingerprint Scanner Solely for Device Unlocking on iPhone 5S

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster late yesterday released a new research note to investors centered around Apple’s upcoming product launches for the rest of the year, including key predictions on the anticipated low-cost iPhone, potentially named the iPhone 5C. 

In his note, Munster predicts that the iPhone 5C will not come with Siri, the intelligent personal assistant within iOS, and that the device will replace the iPhone 4S at the bottom of the iPhone lineup. Munster also believes that the lower-cost iPhone will sell for an estimated $300 off-contract...

Read the full story here... Source: Mac Rumours

iOS 7 Beta 2 Tidbits: New Welcome Screen, Updated Siri Voices, iCloud Fixes, Voice Memos App

Apple seeded iOS 7 beta 2 to developers today, adding a number of new and improved features to the operating system including support for the iPad, improved Siri integration, and the missing Voice Memos app. 

iOS 7 beta 2 also brings a slew of minor interface tweaks that make the second version of the beta feel far more polished. Here are some of the more significant changes that can be found in the update: 

Welcome Screen: iOS 7 beta 2 introduced a new Welcome Screen that asks for an iCloud password, allows users to turn on iMessages and choose associated email addresses, and set up a passcode on the device. 

Voice Memos: The Voice Memos app was missing from the first iOS 7 beta, but with beta 2, the app has returned and is now fully functional...

Read the full story here. Source: Mac Rumours 

Siri speaks louder than Google to most voice-control users

The dulcet tones of Apple's Siri and Google Now are getting high marks from most users, but Siri's enticing them to more tasks more often, according to a survey by market research firm Parks Associates.

Adoption rates for voice control are up from last year, climbing to about a fifth of broadband users, and both Apple's Siri technology and Google Now are commonly used for many functions.

But in most cases, save for sending text messages, Siri edges out Google Now in adoption.

Among Siri users, 48 percent turn to the feature for five or more activities a month, versus 39 percent among Google Now users. To look up information, Siri is the source for 77 percent of users versus 70 percent for Google Now. And more than half of Siri users play music or schedule events with the technology, a much higher rate than Google Now users.

In text messaging, Google Now has a slight lead: 74 percent adoption compared with Siri's 71 percent.

Earlier this month, Apple unveiled a new look for Siri with new voice options, actions, and some hot integration, including in-car options and music streaming. A recent software tweak had Siri prodding inquirers to keep their questions simple.

"Roughly one-half of those using these features say it is 'very important' to have voice control on their next smartphone, and our research shows this consumer demand is expanding to TVs and other connected home devices," John Barrett, the firm's director of consumer analytics, said.

Google voice search comes to desktop this year, via Chrome and the Chrome OS.

Source: CNET

How Apple handles the data processed by Siri

After raising questions about Siri's privacy policy, Wired received a response from Apple spokeswoman Trudy Miller that confirmed Apple anonymizes Siri data and stores it for up to 24 months.

According to the Wired report, your iOS device records what you say to Siri and sends that clip to Apple's servers for analysis. As part of the voice recognition translation and response, Apple assigns a set of random numbers to the clip to identify the user from which it originated. This number is used during the back-end voice processing to make sure the response is sent back to the correct phone.

Apple stores this clip along with the random number for six months. After six months, the number is stripped from the file and the file is kept for up to 18 months.

The practice of storing anonymized data for several years is common among tech companies that handle large volumes of data. Wireless carriers, for example, keep select user data like text message history for up to five years.

[Source: TUAW]

Apple Lawsuit Over Siri With Samsung to Move Forward

California judge has ordered that Apple’s case against Samsung over search patents used in the Siri voice assistant can move forward.

Judge Lucy Koh is once again presiding over a lawsuit between Apple and Samsung. This is the same judge who has been presiding over the case where Apple won a billion dollar settlement, but it’s doubtful she is happy to see the two companies in her courtroom yet again as in Dec. of last year she told them she was not “joking” and it was time for “peace” between the two firms.

The latest case is a separate matter from the other trial and deal with Apple suing Samsung over violation of patents in regards to search functionality in Siri. According to Reuters, Judge Koh tried to convince the two companies to delay the case until the appeal in the other one is settled, but neither was interested in that course of action. Koh has now ruled the case can move forward with a March 2014 trial date, but she has asked both companies to cut down on the number of issues and expert witnesses both want to address in an attempt to ”significantly” streamline the case. If that sounds familiar, it’s because she asked them to do the same in the other case in Feb.

It is doubtful either company is going to want to cut the case very much, but this is the same Judge that last year told Apple’s lawyers that they were “smoking crack,” so we’re pretty sure she will be telling them again how she expects this to move forward.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Apple Working on iOS Watch, Says Report

Rumors are circulating once again that Apple is looking into the possibility of launching an iOS-based wristwatch.

Citing anonymous sources at Apple’s offices in Cupertino, The New York Times reports that Apple is experimenting with a wrist watch that would be powered by iOS. This potential move by the company has been rumored ever since wristwatch bands appeared for the last generation of the iPod Nano, and occasionally word leaks out that Apple is playing around with the concept. Apple of course declines to comment on the rumors, but it does appear the technology is there and that it could fill in some holes in Apple’s technology.

“You can certainly make it wrap around a cylindrical object and that could be someone’s wrist,” Pete Bocko, the chief technology officer for Corning Glass Technologies, said for the report. “Right now, if I tried to make something that looked like a watch, that could be done using this flexible glass.” However, Bocko isn’t saying it would be easy. “The human body moves in unpredictable ways,it’s one of the toughest mechanical challenges.”

Bruce Tognazzini, founder of Apple’s Human Interface Group, is no longer with the company, but you have to throw a suspicious eye his way that he may know something. Just last week he published a lengthy post on his blog about what an iWatch could mean for the company and consumers. He sees it as filling an important gap in Apple’s ecosystem that would allow consumers to control all of their other devices purchased from the company right on their wrist. And, enticingly, he also speculated on how Apple could integrate NFC and Passbook into the watch, something that was also mentioned in the report from the Times.

Apple hasn’t introduced an entirely new product since the iPad in 2010, could wearable technology be where Apple is casting its research and development next?

The evidence certainly seems to be there that Apple is at least exploring the possibility of wearable technology, but that doesn’t always mean it will definitely hit retail shelves. From the sounds of it, though, an iWatch would definitely fill in some gaps in the overall Apple product line.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Want to replace Siri with Google Search? You can via jailbreak

Google's latest version of its voice-enabled Search app may not have the personality of Siri, but it is as good, if not better, than Siri at pulling up relevant search information. If you want to replace Apple's personal assistant with Google's version, you can do so thanks to a jailbreak tweak called NowNow.

As spotted by AppAdvice, NowNow is available in Cydia and allows you to launch Google Voice Search anywhere in iOS. It requires you to install Activator and Google Voice Search, but once you set it up, it's as easy to use as Siri. If you drop Siri for Google, remember that you will lose the "assistant" features of Siri, like adding reminders and setting alarms.

Your device has to be jailbroken to use this tweak, which means it is not available to iPhone 5 users or anyone with an iOS device with an A5/6 processor on iOS 6.

[Source: TUAW]

Apple Store update allows use of Siri with app

The latest update to the Apple Store app isn't huge, but it does contain a couple of neat perks. Version 2.4 allows you to buy gift cards and email them to family and friends from the app. Those with iOS 6 will be able to use those gift cards with Passbook.

But the neatest thing about the update is that it integrates Siri into the app. You can now ask Siri to find prices and shop for Apple products. The urge to find the cost of a Lightning cable by voice alone ever strikes, now you can do so through the Apple Store app.

[Source: TUAW]

Apple to bring movie ticket purchasing to Siri with upcoming iOS 6.1 update

Apple’s upcoming release of iOS 6.1 will include a new feature for Siri: the ability to get movie tickets. The feature, according to developers who are beta testing the new iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch operating system, works via Fandango. To purchase movie tickets, a user simply needs to ask their iOS device to buy tickets for a certain movie.

[Source: 9to5Mac - Click here to read the full story]

Google's revamped voice search coming to iOS, tackles Siri on her home turf

Google has been offering the ability to search the web with your voice using its iOS app for some time. But, it always just spit out a pile of links. While the next version wont be getting quite as creepy as Google Now, it'll be bringing with it the vocalized responses that debuted as part of Jelly Bean's revamped search offerings. The UI is also getting an overhaul to bring it inline with Now and Mountain View's recent aesthetic tendencies towards sharp lines and limited color schemes. Obviously, the new app also taps the Knowledge Graph, allowing you to make natural language queries like, "what's the weather like in San Francisco," and get a detailed vocalized response. According to Google the update should be hitting the App Store in "the next few days," but don't expect it to keep tabs on your favorite sports team for you.

[Source: Engadget]