The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has published on Thursday a patent filing published by Apple which suggest that the company is looking into the possibility of crowdsourcing answers for Siri. The patent is titled "Crowd sourcing information to fulfill user requests," and details how Siri can request, gather and store data from a number of crowd sourcing information services.
Discovered by AppleInsider, the external sources of information for Siri can include compiled data from experts, and other general information sources found on the Web or even question-and-answer forums. There are plenty of questions that Siri can’t answer, be it because they are too difficult, nuanced or just uncommon. To fetch answers, Siri relies on data that it pulls from the Web and other online services, like Yahoo!, WolframAlpha and Bing. But if applied, this patent would expand even more Siri’s sources for information. Mikey Campbell further explains:
Each iteration of the virtual assistant has come with important improvements, but a direct human element in providing answers was missing. Apple could change it in a future version of Siri. Apple's crowd sourcing patent application was first filed for in March and credits Thomas R. Gruber, Adam J. Cheyer and Donald W. Pitschel as its inventors.
As explained by the document, the digital assistant requires a natural language processing system, knowledge base and artificial intelligence to function satisfactorily. Any of these facets can hinder operation and, in some cases, produce unsatisfactory answers. It is in these scenarios that a CS information service can be deployed. For example, the CS module can be invoked as part of response failure mechanism that can be updated over a period of time to remedy a speech recognition problem. More commonly, the CS module can query a CS knowledge base to address questions previously unanswerable in real time. According to the patent language, the external sources of information can include services that compile data from experts, general information sources found on the Web and various question-and-answer forums.
Apple has rolled out the latest version of its mobile platform iOS, bringing fixes and updates to its Spotlight search engine, iCloud Keychain as well a putting an end to annoying FaceTime call issues reported by users.
Apple has released yesterday the latest iOS 7.0.4 version for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices that is now available for download. The software update is just 17MB and should take about 10 minutes to install on your iDevice. It can be downloaded via the software update tool in the settings menu on iOS devices.
The iOS 7.0.4 update comes just three weeks after the release of iOS 7.0.3, which added support for iCloud Keychain and fixed accelerometer issues. Now, the iOS 7.0.4 update further improves iCloud Keychain support, as well. Apple also made some changes to Spotlight, the iOS device's internal search engine, bringing back the ability to search Google and Wikipedia from the results. Adam Mills from GottaBeMobile weighs in and says that iOS 7.0.4 is a safe upgrade, referring to iPad users:
Bug fixes and improvements, including a fix for an issue that causes FaceTime calls to fail for some users. For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website: Apple security updates
Apple has also released iOS 6.1.5 for the fourth generation iPod touch, which brings fixes for the same FaceTime issue. A new version 6.0.2 of the Apple TV software has also been made available.
I can only speak from my experience with iOS 7.0.3 and iOS 7.0.4. Besides the lag and the issues with Netflix and Chrome, my experience in iOS 7.0.3 was pretty darn good. iOS 7.0.4 doesn’t seem to have changed anything other than possibly having fixed my lag issues. I expect them to return but that’s just me being pessimistic. There is no guarantee that they will. The point here is that iOS 7.0.4 doesn’t seem to break anything and that should mean that it will only help those that are having problems inside iOS 7.0.3 and below. There’s a chance that it could have some bugs on board but I haven’t found any just yet. So, at this point, I can say that iOS 7.0.4 is a safe upgrade, even for those that are looking to jailbreak their iPad 3.
Source: Geek.com, GottaBeMobile
According to Unwired View, which cites the Korea Herald, Apple will be using two different sizes for its upcoming rumored iWatch device - a larger 1.7-inch display targeted at men and a smaller 1.3-inch option for women. The information that Apple could be planning two separate sizes for its iWatch first appeared last month, when NPD DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh offered an overview of Apple's display plans for future devices.
Hsieh said at the time that Apple appeared was looking to source both 1.3-inch and 1.63-inch flexible AMOLED displays with resolutions of 320 x 320 pixels. Now, at a recent conference, the analyst provided more details, saying that the new sizes are meant to cover two distinct genders. Kim Ji-hyun and Shin Ji-hye from the Korea Herald said the following:
Stasys Bielinis with the UnviredView says that the wearable industry is a new one for Apple and the company needs to come up with an original uproach:
Apple’s wearable iWatch is expected to come with a 1.7-inch OLED display for men’s watches and a 1.3-inch OLED screen for women, David Hsieh, DisplaySearch’s Vice President of the Greater China Market, said at a conference today in Taiwan, citing Apple sources. Apple has not officially announced the launch, but the iWatch ― Apple’s first wearable device ― is expected to be rolled out as early as the end of this year, given CEO Tim Cook’s latest remarks confirming new product categories. It is yet to be confirmed whether the displays will be flexible but sources said it was a possibility, since Apple will want to upstage Samsung’s Galaxy Gear.
[quote] Wearables is a completely new category which may require an original approach. And it certainly makes a lot of sense. Contrary to the electronic gadgets, there is usually a very distinct differences between traditional men’s and women’s watches. And one of the biggest differences is size. If Apple decides to launch separate iWatch models for men and women, it will simply be following the lessons learned during the centuries of traditional watchmaking. [quote]
Would you be interested in buying an iWatch if it really sees the daylight?
Source: UnwiredView, KoreaHerald
According to a recent Bloomberg report, Apple is going to invest a record amount of $10.5 billion in the manufacturing process of its iPhone and iPad units. Adam Satariano with the Bloomberg publication points out that Apple’s investment is going to range from assembly robots to milling machines. Apple is apparently investing in the production process to give the the company a leg up on the competition. Satariano details further:
Muthuraman Ramasamy, an analyst with consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, describes the new machinery that Apple is investing in:
To get a jump on rivals like Samsung Electronics Co. and lay the groundwork for new products, Apple is spending more on the machines that do the behind-the-scenes work of mass producing iPhones, iPads and other gadgets. That includes equipment to polish the new iPhone 5c’s colorful plastic, laser and milling machines to carve the MacBook’s aluminum body, and testing gear for the iPhone and iPad camera lens, said people with knowledge of the company’s manufacturing methods, who asked not to be identified because the process is private.
Apple is definitely making a lot of changes in its supply chain, probably effects of Tim Cook’s deep knowledge and expertise in this field. Recently, details on more advanced manufacturing processes from Apple have been revealed, as the company is looking to build a sapphire plant in Arizona and a chip fabric in upstate NewYork.
Their designs are so unique that you have to have a very unique manufacturing process to make it. Apple has so much cash that they can invest in cutting-edge, world-class machinery that is typically used for aerospace and defense.
More than a week ago, we shared with you a web tool that you could use to track the iPad Air availability at local Apple Stores. But since then, the iPad Air tracker created by Mordy Tikotzky has been pulled down by Apple, as the Cupertino company said the tracking website used “page-scrape” tools to “access, acquire, copy or monitor” data from Apple’s website.
A new web-based tracking tool has been built by the team behind Seaturtle.org. The web tool offers a snapshot of Retina iPad mini availability for a number of Apple Stores across the US. The tracking tool is part of Seaturtle.org's iDevice Availability Notifier, which is a separate section on the website which is dedicated to the conservation of sea turtles.
Seaturtle.org said the following:
Availability of new iPad minis at US Apple Stores based on our latest checks. The number in each grid cell is minutes since that iPad mini/Apple Store combination was last checked. You can click on the cell contents to check current status. Green means it was available at the last check, red means it was not. White means we have not checked that combination (i.e. no one has requested a check of that combination).
The site also explains why a sea turtle-centric web entity has such a tracker:
Because we are Apple fanboys and we want to know when our favorite iPhone model will be available! Also, SEATURTLE.ORG runs on Apple products. From the Xserve that powers this website, to the iMac where most of the programming happens, and the iDevices that allow us to keep tabs on the sea turtle world from where ever we are.
Have you placed an order to get the iPad Mini 2?
Source: AppleInsider, SeaTurtle
Nov 13, 2013 - 5:10 PM - by dgstorm
If Apple's new patent is any indication, sometime in the not-too-distant future we will have touch screen devices which can respond differently to varying levels of touch pressure. Somehow this touch sensitive technology would be “operatively coupled to an actuator" which would allow the device to perform functions based upon pushing harder or softer, with three varying levels of functionality.
This new patent is actually the second patent we have seen from the Cupertino group regarding this idea. The two patents would likely work in tandem to offer a unique user interface experience. This is just further proof that Apple continues to innovate with unique and interesting ideas for the future.
Nov 13, 2013 - 4:17 PM - by Maura
AppleInsider reports that iFixit has wasted no time in tearing down the newly released Retina iPad mini, and has reported some interesting findings from its rummage around in the new mini’s innards.
First up, the mini has a 2-cell, 24.3 watt-hour battery, in comparison to the first mini’s 16.5 watt-hour battery. This is mostly likely necessary in order to power the Retina display, and explains why the iPad mini is a tiny bit thicker than its predecessor.
The teardown also revealed that the mini has an A7 processor, with the same 1.29 gigahertz chip found in the iPhone 5s, not the 1.4 gigahertz chip that the iPad Air boasts.
According to iFixit, the Retina iPad mini has various other parts that are also in the iPad Air, including a USI Wi-Fi controller chip, and a 2048-by-1536 pixel resolution, with a similar Parade LCD driver.
Here’s a complete list of the chips that iFixit found on the mini’s logic board:
Source: Retina iPad mini teardown reveals larger battery, display supplied by LG
• Apple A7
• Elpida F8164A1PD 1 GB LPDDR3 DRAM
• Apple M7
• Toshiba THGBX2G7B2JLA01 16 GB NAND flash
• B334 STMicro MEMS accelerometer/gyroscope
• Apple 338S1213 Cirrus Audio Codec
• Apple 338S1199 Audio Amplifiers
• Apple 343S0656-A1 Dialog Power Management IC
• Fairchild Semiconductor FDMC6676BZ and FDCM6683 MOSFETs
Apple has always been a company with high corporate social responsibility standards. Now, Apple is inviting iTunes customers to help those affected by the Typhoon Haiyan, which ripped through the Philippines last Friday and is estimated to have killed more than 2,500 people.
You can donate between $5 and $200 to the American Red Cross to assist its relief work in response to Typhoon Haiyam. Apple has used the iTunes donation system several times before, in response to Superstorm Sandy, the tsunami in Japan and the earthquakes in Haiti. Now, the Cupertino company wants to support the Philippine Red Cross volunteers that are looking after the injured ones and still still searching for survivors. Apple is also advertising the effort on its homepage.
The US and UK are also helping out Philipine in this disaster, sending military naval vessels to render aid to the roughly 660,000 people displaced by the cyclone. The typhoon is thought to have been the worst ever to hit the land of Philippine. Once a donation is made, according to Apple, you "will receive an email receipt from the iTunes Store which will serve as your only acknowledgment of your donation.“
The much-awaited Retina display iPad Mini has finally been launched and early benchmarks show it’s quite the best, being five times more powerful than the first-generation iPad Mini. Now, according to a market forecast from KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPad Mini 2 shipments are going to increase in the coming months, seriously contributing to the overall iPad shipments.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo’s research note issued to investors, the combined iPad Air and iPad mini sales will reach a new record number of 23.1 million shipped units for the fourth quarter of 2013. The analyst said:
We think current tablet products can, generally, sufficiently meet entertainment needs. As they are very cheap already, lowering prices won't effectively stimulate demand. Only new applications, which will bring about new growth momentum, will be able to solve the structural problems the sector faces.
Apple is expected to register an increase of 102 percent quarter-over-quarter in iPad with Retina display shipments in Q1 of 2014, with a total of 4.5 million units. Shipments of larger iPad models are said to fall from 10.5 million units in Q4 to 6 million units in the first quarter of 2014.
What’s curious is that Kuo believes there’s still a lot of potential for the non-Retina iPad mini, as Kuo forecasts a shipping estimate of 8.5 million in the December quarter and only 1.7 million for the iPad 2.
Apple has finally commercially launched the Retina display iPad Mini yesterday, causing quite a bit of surprise, as we were expecting iPad Air’s smaller sibling to be launched later during the month. The iPad Mini 2 has just been launched, but we already have some early benchmarks to assess its power.
As we know, Apple's new Retina iPad mini comes with the same 64-bit A7 chip used in the iPad Air and the iPhone 5s, which, thanks to the new architecture, offers significantly better performance than the A5 chip that the original iPad mini had inside.
According to some new Geekbench 3 benchmarks spotted by TechCrunch, the Retina iPad mini is running at a 1.3Ghz frequency, much like the iPhone 5s. This is slightly below iPad Air’s 1.4GHz clocked frequency. The Retina iPad mini obtained a score of 1390 on the single-core test and a 2512 on the multi-core test, slightly lower than the iPad Air at 1466/2856. But when compared to the 261/493 score of the first-generation iPad Mini, we realize that the Retina iPad is more than five times faster, which is an incredible boost in performance speeds.
At the moment, we don’t know why the second-generation iPad Mini is clocked at 1.3Ghz instead of 1.4Ghz like the iPad Air, a few guesses being that Apple had to lower clock speed to improve overall battery life or to reduce heat.
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