Tag Archive: Siri

Samsung said on Tuesday it will be bringing Bixby, its virtual assistant, to India later this month, as the company announced the availability of the Galaxy Note 8 smartphone. The arrival of Bixby in India further intensifies the battle for AI-powered digital assistants Google’s Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa, which is also set to be launched in the country later this year.

The South Korean electronics company, which assumes the tentpole position among smartphone makers by both volume and brand value, said it had put months of rigorous efforts at its Research and Development centres in Bengaluru to understand and adapt to Indian dialects and contexts. Samsung says it has thoroughly baked in support for various Indian accents, letting even those customers who have opted for English (US) language, make use of Bixby.

Bixby, which was launched across several US and European markets earlier this year, offers four essential features to customers – the ability to talk to Bixby, take pictures and let it make sense of it, use it to set reminders, and receive recommendations for products, foods, and things to read.

Samsung said Bixby will be available to customers in India from September 30. Bixby, unlike Siri and Google’s Assistant, doesn’t work with a wide-range of smartphones. At present, only the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, and the Galaxy Note 8 offer this functionality. Samsung-made Android smartphones, however, also support Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, and Amazon Alexa, should users desire to utilise them.

The limited target audience for Bixby might emerge as a roadblock in its growth. Apple has shown some commitment to improve Siri’s reachability in India, adding diction support for a handful of local languages including Hindi. iOS 11, the latest mobile operating system from Apple that is expected to roll out later this month, will introduce that support.

In the meantime, Amazon is planning to bring Alexa with the Echo Dot smart-speaker in India later this year, people familiar with the matter said.



Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Apple may have fixed the bug that was causing several apps to crash on iPad and iPhone when clicking a link, but a new bug discovered since remains unpatched. A lock screen bypass has been discovered that allows users to view contact and photo albums on iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus without unlocking the smartphones with a pass code or Touch ID fingerprint.



A tech enthusiast who goes by the user name Videosdebarraquito on YouTube first discovered the bug. In a video, he showed that an exploit allows a user to access the contact and photo albums of the iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus without unlocking the smartphones.

By default, iOS and Android limit the number of things a user could access on the phone without unlocking the device. An iPhone user, for instance, can access the camera but cannot check the photo album or access contacts. The exploit takes advantage of unauthenticated access to Siri via the lock screen, and Siri’s access to contacts and photos.

To bypass the lockscreen and access the contacts, a user needs to first activate Siri (either with the home button, or hands-free voice command Hey Siri), and search for Twitter. The next part of the trick is to search for “@gmail.com” or the domain name of any other email provider with the “@” prefix, which returns a list of results.

From here, a user is required to click the tweet button and then, using the 3D Touch of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, press on the email address and wait for the pop-up window to appear. According to the YouTuber, users will now see a “Add new contact” button, which they need to click. This will give them access to all photos on the device, and similarly, clicking on “Add to existing contact” will give them access to contacts.
The exploit detailed may require several attempts before Siri searches Twitter for an email address. The Daily Dot reports the exploit works with 3D Touch-enabled iPhone models running iOS 9 and above through to iOS 9.3.1, though the YouTube user only points to iOS 9.3.1.

While we wait for Apple to fix this bug, you can make some tweaks to Settings to prevent unauthorised users from accessing your photos and contacts. Disabling Siri access to photos will prevent anyone to check your photos. You can do so by going to Settings > Privacy > Photos and then disable Siri.

Alternatively, you can disable Siri on the lock screen, making it impossible for anyone to exploit the bug. You can do so by going to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and disable the Siri switch.



Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

Apple is finally fixing a five-year-old flaw in its algorithm that directed Siri and Apple Maps users seeking information about abortion centres to fertility clinics and adoption centres (instead of, you know, abortion centres). The Cupertino-based company has fixed the flaw in at least some cities, according to user reports.



Fast Company, which tested the resolution of the bug last month, reports that Apple has fixed the issue in at least some cities. The issue, which was first reported in 2011, gave users a huge misdirection and the company faced heat from many pro-abortion activists. At the time, Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation requested Apple CEO Tim Cook to fix the issue.

“Anti-choice groups created [crisis pregnancy centres] to look like comprehensive health clinics, but many do not provide women with accurate pregnancy-related information. Ultimately, many of these centres can be harmful and do nothing to help women locate the services they requested from Siri,” she wrote.

Apple told the publication that with iOS 9, the software update to its mobile operating system that it released last September, it is offering users more relevant results from more categories in search queries.

It is worth mentioning that the bug was first reported back in the early days of both Apple’s Siri and Maps, and there were a number of glitches in the services, including giving people suggestions about a good place to hide a dead body. Addressing the glitch that caused Siri to offer misleading information, the company at the time assured users that it was not an intentional omission, adding a software bug was causing it. Somehow, that software bug remained in the system for five years.


Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

Apple on Monday released the first developer beta of iOS 9.3, adding a range of features and capabilities to its mobile operating system – many of which are expected to make it to the general release. The Cupertino-based company with the iOS 9.3 Preview has introduced multi-user mode on iPad for schools, and a night-mode for all that aims to enhance the viewing experience on iPhone and iPad during the night hours.

The Cupertino-based company is calling the night-mode Night Shift. The feature, if enabled, changes the white balance of the screen in accordance with the time and your geographic location to suit your eyes. “[..] it automatically shifts the colors in your display to the warmer end of the spectrum, making it easier on your eyes. In the morning, it returns the display to its regular settings,” the company describes. The feature has long been requested by users. Google last month introduced a similar feature to Google Play Books, while Amazon launched the Fire HD 8 Reader’s Edition with Blue Shade, which filtered blue light at night.

The second biggest attraction is the inclusion of multi-user mode on iPad – but, it’s limited to the iOS 9.3 Education Preview. For years, people have asked the company to allow multiple users to sign in with their accounts on the same iPad, and Apple is finally addressing it with “Shared iPad” feature. The feature is only available for the education sector, where more than one person understandably uses the same device. Using this feature, more than one student will be able to log in to the iPad.

The Shared iPad feature, furthermore, will keep a tab on users who regularly sign in to the iPad, and have their content cached so that these students don’t have to download data each time they sign in.

“When a 1:1 student-to-iPad ratio isn’t possible, Shared iPad offers an elegant solution that lets students enjoy the benefits of having their own iPad in whatever classroom they’re in. They simply log in to any iPad, and their content is ready to go,” the company noted.

The feature comes as part of a push from the company in the education front. Apple has also updated the Classroom app using which a teacher will be able to track the apps his or her students are using. Using this app, one can also share their on-screen activities with others. The company has also improved Apple School Manager portal and “Managed Apple IDs.”

Other features introduced in the iOS 9.3 Preview include an updated Notes app, which gets Touch ID password protection and better sorting options (date created, date modified, alphabetically). The Apple News app was also updated, with better customisation in the ‘For You’ section, as well as the addition of trending topics and Editors’ Picks. Users will also be able play videos directly in their news feed, the app gets support for landscape view on iPhone, while news updates are said to come faster.

The Health app was also updated in the iOS 9.3 Preview, making it easier for users to find and add third-party apps to their Health dashboard. The Health app also displays data and goals on the Apple Watch. Finally, CarPlay gets Apple Music’s New and For You sections in the Music app, letting users select playlists and albums, and add them via Siri. The recently introduced Nearby feature has come to the Maps section of CarPlay, letting users find gas stations, parking, restaurants, coffee, and more, alongside ratings and price.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

Apple realises that not everyone is getting along well with the new Apple TV remote, and it assures it is working on making things easier for users. The company has announced that it is working on a new Apple TV remote app that will give Siri Remote functionality on the iPhone.

Eddy Cue, Senior VP of Internet Software and Services at Apple, said that the company will release an iOS remote app for the Apple TV in the first half of 2016. He added that the remote app will replicate the features of the physical Siri-enabled Remote app which ships with the Apple TV.

“We’re working on a new Apple TV remote app that will give you the full functionality of the Siri Remote on your iPhone,” Cue said in an interview. “We’re hoping to ship that in the first half of next year.”

Siri integration is one of the biggest features of the fourth-generation Apple TV, which the company unveiled at its September event. The decision to extend this functionality to an iPhone app could substantially enhance the overall user experience. The company released tvOS 9.1 earlier this week that enabled users to use the Remote app and easily feed text input using their iPhone or iPad.

The company is aggressively pushing improvements to the new Apple TV. This week’s update to tvOS also added Siri integration to Apple Music on the Apple TV. The feature was previously scheduled for the next year. It will be interesting to see how the company, and arrival of new apps shape the new Apple TV in the next few months. In the interview, Cue said that the company is seeing a “tremendous developer interest,” noting that Apple TV already has more than 2,000 new apps.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

Apple has released the iOS 9.2 update for eligible iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices, bringing a host of improvements and bug fixes. Chief among these are Apple Music related enhancements and Siri support for Arabic.

The iOS 9.2 also brings “improved stability” for Safari and Podcasts built-in apps. The full list of changes is as follows:

This update contains improvements and bug fixes including:

Apple Music improvements

You can now create a new playlist when adding a song to a playlist

Your most recently changed playlist is now listed at the top when adding songs to playlists

Download albums or playlists from your iCloud Music Library by tapping the iCloud download button

See which songs have been downloaded with the new download indicator next to each song in My Music and Playlists

See works, composers, and performers while browsing Classical music in the Apple Music catalog

A new Top Stories section in News so you can stay up to date with the most important news of the day (available in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia)

Mail Drop in Mail for sending large attachments

iBooks now supports 3D Touch to peek and pop pages from the table of contents, your notes and bookmarks, or from search results inside a book

iBooks now supports listening to an audiobook while you browse your library, read other books, or explore the iBooks Store

iPhone support for the USB Camera Adapter to import photos and videos

Improved stability of Safari

Improved stability of Podcasts

Fixing an issue that caused mail attachments to be inaccessible for some users with POP email accounts

Resolving an issue for some users that caused attachments to overlap text in mail

Fixing an issue where Live Photos could have turned off after restoring from a previous iCloud backup

Addressing an issue that could cause search in Contacts to display no results

Resolving an issue that could have prevented Calendar from displaying all seven days in week view

Fixing an issue where Camera screen on iPad could be black when attempting to capture video

Addressing an issue that could cause instability in the Activity app when viewing the day of Daylight Savings Time transition

Fixing an issue that could prevent data from appearing in Health

Fixing an issue that could prevent Wallet updates and Lock screen alerts from displaying

Addressing an issue where updating iOS could prevent an alarm from going off

Fixing an issue where some users were unable to login to Find my iPhone

Fixing an issue that prevented some manual iCloud Backups from completing

Addressing an issue where using the iPad keyboard could unintentionally trigger text selection mode

Improved keyboard responsiveness when using Quick Reply

Improved punctuation input on the 10-key Chinese (Pinyin & Stroke) keyboards with new expanded view of punctuation symbols and better predictions

Fixing an issue on Cyrillic keyboards where caps lock would be enabled when typing in URL or email fields

Accessibility improvements

Fixing issues with VoiceOver when using Camera face detection

Adding support for VoiceOver to wake up the screen

Adding support for VoiceOver to invoke app switcher with 3D Touch gesture

Fixing an issue with Guided Access when trying to end phone calls

Improved functionality for Switch Control users when using 3D Touch

Fixing an issue with speech rate of Speak Screen

Siri support for Arabic (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates)

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

The much-touted universal search feature of Siri, Apple’s voice-based virtual assistant, would soon be available for Apple Music on the latest Apple TV, which is going on sale in the US on Friday. The streaming box went up for pre-orders earlier this week. It costs $149 for the 32GB variant, and $199 for the 64GB variant.

Apple confirmed the Apple Music on Apple TV would get Siri universal search support early next year to Buzzfeed website. The universal search feature of Siri for Apple TV has been appreciated by critics, allowing users to search for TV Shows and other artists across iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and other services. Siri can also gives users information on weather forecasts and videos, and can launch apps based on voice commands.

The new Apple TV comes with a Siri Remote, which features motion controls via the gyroscope and accelerometer, and also includes a touchpad, apart from enabling voice-based search, playback, and navigation via two microphones for Siri.

Inclusion of Siri on Apple Music would let users search for songs, albums and music artists via voice commands on the streaming box. The much-needed feature might also make more customers subscribe for the Apple Music streaming service, which was launched earlier this year. Until now the music streaming service has around 6.5 million paying listeners worldwide, said Tim Cook to The Wall Street Journal last week in an interview. The service has 15 million total subscribers.

The Apple TV set-top box features an A8 SoC and supports full-HD resolution displays, apart from Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 10/100Mbps Ethernet, USB Type-C port, and HDMI v1.4 connectivity.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

Apple has ramped up its hiring of artificial intelligence experts, recruiting from Ph.D. programs, posting dozens of job listings and greatly increasing the size of its AI staff, a review of hiring sites suggests and numerous sources confirm.

The goal is to challenge Google in an area the Internet search giant has long dominated: smartphone features that give users what they want before they ask.

As part of its push, the company is currently trying to hire at least 86 more employees with expertise in the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning, according to a recent analysis of Apple job postings. The company has also stepped up its courtship of machine-learning Ph.D.’s, joining Google, Amazon, Facebook and others in a fierce contest, leading academics say.

But some experts say the iPhone maker’s strict stance on privacy is likely to undermine its ability to compete in the rapidly progressing field.

Machine learning, which helps devices infer from experience what users are likely to want next, relies on crunching vast troves of data to provide unprompted services, such as the scores for a favourite sports team or reminders of when to leave for an appointment based on traffic.

The larger the universe of users providing data about their habits, the better predictions can be about what an individual might want. But Apple analyses its users’ behaviour under self-imposed constraints to better protect their data from outsiders.

That means Apple largely relies on analysing the data on each user’s iPhone rather than sending it to the cloud, where it can be studied alongside information from millions of others.

“They want to make a phone that responds to you very quickly without knowledge of the rest of the world,” said Joseph Gonzalez, co-founder of Dato, a machine learning startup. “It’s harder to do that.”

Beyond Siri
The Cupertino-based tech titan’s strategy will come into clearer focus on September 9, when it is expected to reveal its new iPhones and latest mobile operating system, iOS 9. Apple has promised the release will include a variety of intelligent reminders, which analysts expect will rival the offerings from Google’s Android.

While Apple helped pioneer mobile intelligence – its Siri introduced the concept of a digital assistant to consumers in 2011 – the company has since lost ground to Google and Microsoft, whose digital assistants have become more adept at learning about users and helping them with their daily routines.

As users increasingly demand phones that understand them and tailor services accordingly, Apple cannot afford to let the gap persist, experts say. The iPhone generated almost two-thirds of Apple’s revenue in the most recent quarter, so even a small advantage for Android poses a threat.

“What seemed like science fiction only four years ago has become an expectation,” said venture capitalist Gary Morgenthaler, who was one of the original investors in Siri before it was acquired by Apple in 2010.

Playing catch-up
While Apple got off to a slow start on hiring for machine learning jobs, it is closing in on its competitors, said Oren Etzioni, who is CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence and a professor at the University of Washington.

“In the past, Apple has not been at the vanguard of machine learning and cutting edge artificial intelligence work, but that is rapidly changing,” he said. “They are after the best and the brightest, just like everybody else.”

Acquisitions of startups such as podcasting app Swell, social media analytics firm Topsy and personal assistant app Cue have also expanded Apple’s pool of experts in the field.

Apple does not reveal the number of people working on its machine learning efforts.

But one former Apple employee in the area, who asked not to be named to protect professional relationships, estimated the number of machine learning experts had tripled or quadrupled in the past few years.

Many of the currently posted positions are slated for software efforts, from building on Siri’s smarts to the burgeoning search features in iOS. The company is also hiring machine learning experts for divisions such as product marketing and retail, suggesting a broad-based effort to capitalize on data.

Apple’s hiring mirrors a larger hunt in Silicon Valley for people who can help companies make sense of their huge stashes of data, said Ali Behnam, managing partner of Riviera Partners, an executive search firm. Data scientists are the most sought-after experts in the market, he noted.

Asked for comment about Apple’s strategy, a company spokeswoman pointed to statements from Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering, who described the release at a developers’ conference in June as “adding intelligence throughout the user experience in a way that enhances how you use your device but without compromising your privacy, things like improving the apps that you use most.”

But Google and others have an edge in spotting larger trends, meaning Apple’s predictions may not be as good, said Gonzalez, echoing a commonly held view among machine learning experts.

What’s more, there are some features for which Apple has yet to find an answer, such as Now on Tap, which Google will release this fall. When users press the home button, Google will scan their screens to deliver helpful information – a user reading about an upcoming movie, for example, might receive reviews or a list of showtimes. It would be difficult to deliver such services without sending data to the cloud, experts say.

Access to data
Some techniques Apple and Google are investing in – such as deep learning, a hot field of machine learning that roughly simulates the human brain so that computers can spot patterns and classify information – require massive amounts of data that typically cannot be crunched on the device alone.

For machine learning experts at Apple, access to data complicates the work at every turn, former employees said. Siri enjoys some of Apple’s most liberal privacy policies, holding onto user information for up to six months. Other services, such as Apple Maps, retain information for as little as 15 minutes, the former employee said.

Machine learning experts who want unfettered access to data tend to shy away from jobs at Apple, former employees say.

But Apple is strengthening ties to academia to find the talent it will need, attending more industry conferences and discussing its use of tools emerging from university labs, academics say.

“They are gradually engaging a little more openly,” said Michael Franklin, who directs UC Berkeley’s Algorithms, Machines and People Lab, which Apple sponsors.

And some machine learning experts might be enticed by the challenge of matching Google’s smarts amid privacy constraints, suggested John Duchi, an assistant professor at Stanford University.

“New flavours of problems are exciting,” he said.

If Apple succeeds without compromising privacy, its Mountain View rival may face questions about its approach to analysing users’ data.

“People might start to ask Google for more privacy,” Gonzalez said.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

Cortana is now available to all Android users – well at least in select regions. Microsoft has announced the public beta of its digital voice assistant for devices powered by Google’s mobile operating system. Cortana is available for download in the US via Google Play Store. It is officially not yet available in India, but you can still sideload it on your device.

Formerly exclusively available on Windows Phone, Microsoft announced in May that it would release Cortana on rival platforms Android and iOS. Private Android beta of Cortana got leaked in June, giving Android users an early look at Microsoft’s digital assistant.

Cortana for Android is very similar to its Windows Phone counterpart. It maintains the same user interface and functionalities. If you’ve never used Cortana before, it is Microsoft’s take on digital voice assistant. It competes with Apple’s Siri, and Google’s Google Now.

You can have Cortana take notes, add reminders, and ask it for weather and traffic updates. Cortana is also available on Windows 10, Microsoft’s newest desktop operating system. If you are using it on your computer, you can use Cortana for Android as a companion app. Once integrated, you will be able to see your notes, emails, and other things from computer synced right into your Android mobile device.

The release of Cortana signals Microsoft’s growing interest to embrace rival platforms. The company which previously hardly cared about users on competition platforms, now realises that its strongest bet to get them onboard is by adapting to the platform they prefer.

Cortana for Android will hopefully leave public beta and see a final release in the coming weeks. Microsoft will also release Cortana for iOS devices. Though, the closed nature of Apple’s platform is likely to make it difficult for Microsoft to make Cortana as useful on iOS as it’s on other platforms.

If you’re in India or any other non-US region, Cortana’s public beta for Android is not officially available in your country. Microsoft has previously announced that it plans to extend support for Cortana to India by the end of this year. In the meantime, there’s still a way to try Cortana on your device: sideload (manually install) it. You can grab the app from reliable third-party app store APKMirror.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)