In the world of artificially intelligent digital voice assistants, it looks like there will be a new girl/guy in town soon. There's a startup company working on something called Viv that is meant to be an eve better conversationalist than Apple's Siri. What's especially intriguing about this project is that it is being developed by most of the former project leads of the original Siri found on the iPhone.

This requires a bit of background... basically a non-profit named SRI International developed Siri back in 2010 as a third party app for the iPhone. Of course, Apple was impressed and needed a competitor to what Google was working on, so they grabbed up the company and ran with the ball.

SRI's version of Siri was conceived as a true digital personal assistant that uses normal conversational language for voice commands. Although the current iteration of Siri is pretty good about handling important tasks, its conversational speech patterns need to be verbally massaged to get the prefect outcome sometimes. One of Siri's co-creators, Dag Kittlaus, describes the current version of Siri as a chatbot instead of a full-fledged natural speaking voice assistant.

At some point in the past few years, the original concept for Siri was basically lost in the shuffle of the Apple takeover and the way the project evolved. Unhappy with how things turned out, Kittlaus and several of the other original creators of Siri left Apple to pursue their real goal of creating the perfect digital voice assistant. Thus was born, Viv, which will be demonstrated publicly for the first time on Monday, May 9th. They have been working hard to make the normal human conversational understanding of Viv so advanced, that you could order a Pizza and even customize the toppings in the same sentence and have the AI handle that seamlessly for you.

Of course, since then, new competitors have entered the market...

MacRumors reports that live video streaming iOS app Periscope has just been updated with a very useful new feature, the ability to save your videos permanently. All you have to do if you want to ensure that your video is saved for posterity is use the hashtag #save in the video’s title. This way, you can also delete the video later on if you want to.

The addition of this new feature ensures that Periscope is now on a par with Facebook Live, which already has the option to permanently record videos.

Announcing the new feature last night, Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykpour referred to it as a “public beta,” and part of a forthcoming “holistic solution” that will enable users to determine how long their broadcasts remain on Periscope, and also when to delete them quicker than the current default 24-hour window.

Using the #save hashtag will also ensure that comments and hearts are saved along with the broadcast.

You don’t have to update your Periscope app in order to save the videos, you simply have to sign up for the Periscope Beta Program here: Periscope Beta Program

Source: Live Video Broadcast App Periscope Gets Permanent Save Feature

Bloomberg reports that Apple is set to reveal extensive changes to its Apple Music streaming service at next month’s WWDC in San Francisco, California. The changes have apparently been prompted by criticisms and comments from certain quarters, as well as by the departure of several executives who had been recruited to try and improve the service.

Bloomberg says that according to sources who are familiar with Apple’s plans, the company intends to re-design the Apple Music interface to make it more intuitive to use. Also reporting on the story, 9to5 Mac says that it has heard from its own sources that the new version of Apple Music will replace the more colourful, translucent look of the current design with a simpler black and white design. For example, the album view interface will now avoid the colour changes of the past that altered to fit in with the colour scheme of each individual album’s artwork. Instead, much more emphasis will now be placed on the album artwork itself, which will be “huge,” and “bolder, yet simpler.” Apple’s own San Francisco font will also be made more use of in the menus and tabs text.

3D Touch shortcut previews will also be included in the new interface, with song sharing emphasized.

Apple is also intending to improve the integration of its streaming and downloading businesses, and to expand the radio arm of Apple Music.

At the same time as the new and improved Apple Music is unveiled at WWDC in June, Apple will also launch a publicity campaign in a bid to attract more users to pay the $10 per month fee to sign up to the streaming service.

Sources: Apple to Revamp Streaming Music Service After Mixed Reviews, Departures

Apple Music’s iOS 10 overhaul detailed: black & white UI, ‘huge...

There are still quite a few banks in countries around the world that have yet to offer support for Apple Pay to their customers, but in the UK, at least, there is now a solution for those iPhone and iPad owners whose bank does not yet support Apple Pay with the arrival on iOS of Wirecard’s Boon mobile payment app.

The digital wallet app was previously only available on Android, but now that it is also available on iOS, iPhone and iPad owners in the UK can use Apple Pay via Boon’s NFC-compatible virtual MasterCard.

The Boon account can be topped up either via a credit card or from a bank account via the Faster Payments system in the UK (where funds are transferred within a maximum of 2 hours, and quite often instantaneously), and can then be used at Apple-Pay-compatible merchants and services in the UK.

Click here to download Boon: boon. on the App Store

Source: Apple Pay gets support for prepaid cards with Boon - only in the UK

You can always hand it to Apple to come up with great video commercials to share all of the great things they are doing in the world. They also love to celebrate the various meaningful events in our lives, because, of course, we have our iPhones nearby to help us commemorate them.

Their latest video ad is another "Shot on iPhone" promo, and this one is celebrating Mother's Day. You can enjoy the video above!

MacRumors reports that Microsoft’s Bing search engine app for iOS has an interesting new update that brings with it the ability to search the web using a photo that you’ve taken on your iPhone or iPad.

After applying the update, all you have to do is either choose a photo from your photo gallery or use the in-app camera feature to snap a picture, and Bing will search online for similar images to the one taken or selected.

You can also crop the photos to zoom in on a specific object that you want to search for, rather than just a whole big photo. Also, images that are returned to you by the search can be cropped within the app.

Aside from this new picture search function, the update also includes a new feature that will notify you when a movie that you’re interested in is available for streaming, as well as the addition of searches for bus routes and schedules in online maps.

Click here to download the free app: Bing – Fast and beautiful mobile search engine on the App Store

Source: Bing for iOS Lets Users Search Web for Images by Taking a Photo

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