Apple is progressively expanding the capabilities of its Siri voice assistant feature of the iPhone 4S. Wolfram Alpha reports in its blog that it is now enabling its clients to browse Best Buy's electronics and appliances data provides iPhone 4S Siri users a new way to shop and compare products using their voice. The retailer's database includes 35,000 consumer products.
"We’ve taken the strengths we’ve developed in math, science, and socioeconomic data and created something equally unique and useful for online shoppers," the search provider stated.
Using either the web or one's own voice using Siri, users can search for a general product category or a specific product model and obtain a comprehensive report detailing product features, prices and availability, users ratings, price comparisons with similar models.
Users can even shop for products based on their specific needs, such as asking for "the lightest digital camera under $100 with a pixel resolution greater than 12MP,” or compare multiple models. The Best Buy data is currently only available to users in the United States.
iPhone Dev-Team released RedSn0w 0.9.9b9 with full iOS 5.0.1 support (no need to point to iOS 5.0 any more). New version also features support for SHSH and APTickets:
native support for 5.0.1 (no need to point redsn0w at 5.0 IPSW or use command-line args). Support automatically extends to all of redsn0w’s various functions: “Jailbreak”, “Just boot”, “Fetch blobs”, “Stitch blobs”, “Recovery Fix”
iBooks fixed in 5.0 and 5.0.1. This is a targeted fix that doesn’t remove entire sandbox mechanism. 5.x users already using redsn0w “Just Boot” can just use the new version without redoing entire jailbreak again
3GS old-bootrom owners can now create custom IPSWs without blobs
ultrasn0w compatability update (i.e. same baseband requirements) for 5.0.1 will be available on Cydia Monday
support for newer 8GB iPhone4 (which until now had problems with “Fetch blobs”). Thanks to @JKjeepnJeff for loaning us one of these newer i4 units for testing!
allows Windows users (not just OS X users) to use the “Custom” button to create IPSWs without baseband updates. (Update: please wait for 0.9.9b9b for this!)
accommodates APTickets in 5.x (until next Apple countermove). APTickets are crypto-verified before submitting to Cydia, just like the main blobs. Cydia server support for sending back the APTickets is upcoming. For now, use stitched IPSWs for 5.x. Due to APTickets, stitched 5.x IPSWs now require user to start in “Pwned DFU” mode
Support added for stitching 4.x blobs to iPad2-GSM IPSWs. Similar to @notcom’s TinyCFW but doesn’t require lots of RAM or a TSS-assisted restore. Won’t work for iPad2 5.x blobs (or iPhone4S at all) until a bootrom-level exploit is out
top line now shows whether (and where) a redsn0w update is available, or if the version being run is the latest. Uses DNS TXT record to alleviate any concerns about snooping
no 5.1 beta support at this time (major apps like Cydia are not yet compatible)
@pod2g has been doing a great job porting his 5.x untether…check his blog for updates!
Owners of newer 3GS iPhones must not flash the iPad baseband. The iPad baseband will not work on 3GS iPhones built later than 2011 week 35. You have a week 35 or later device if your serial # starts with xx135.
Update #17b: Version 0.9.9b9b enables the “Custom” button for Windows users, and make the 3GS week 35 warning a more explicit part of the process.
Nick Bilton from The New York Times, who in October wrote that large parts of rumoured Apple’s television sets appeared in the company's supple chain, now reports that Apple may be researching and even prototyping new wearable devices.
The resent rumors suggesting that Apple may purchase Israeli firm Anobit, nudge that Apple plans to set up its first research and development center outside of its Cupertino headquarters.
Sources inform "Globes" that Apple Inc. has decided to open a development center in Israel focusing on semiconductors. The decision was taken even before the company entered into talks to acquire Herzliya-based flash storage solutions provider Anobit Ltd..
Apple has hired Aharon Aharon, a veteran player in Israel's high tech industry, to lead the new development center.
Analyst Mark Moskowitz with J.P. Morgan expects that MacBook Air sales will reach an average of 1.6 million units per quarter over the next 12 months. In the third quarter of calendar 2011, Apple sold 923,000 units of the MacBook Air, representing 838.6 percent year-over-year growth. Comparing with the previous quarter MacBook Air sales grew by 43.8 percent, outpacing total Mac unit growth of 17.1 percent.
China is now becoming a strong driver for growth of MacBook Air sales. Last quarter, MacBook Air units grew 339 percent year over year in China, versus 76.5 percent for the rest of the Mac lineup. Moreover, notebooks based on Intel's Ultrabook specification are highly unlikely to be a significant threat to the MacBook Air.
"In general, we think that Ultrabooks are highly-discretionary devices, and pricing on competitive offerings must fall below $800 before posing a viable threat to Apple's MacBook Air," he wrote in a note to investors. "In our view, Apple's first mover advantage and optimized feature set and form factor command a higher price that early adopters, productivity users, and Apple enthusiasts are willing to absorb."
Many Apple fans are interested in discovering hints of Apple's future iOS devices in various configuration files in each beta and public version of iOS. Such references provide essentially no information on the new devices themselves. Most of them simply appear in the form of "iPhone4,1" that meant the iPhone 4S as one example, but they are carefully watched as hints of what devices Apple is likely to be testing with the software at the moment and perhaps how many variations of an upcoming device there might be.
But today Apple has tried to obscure that information having released 5.1 beta 2 with numerous fake references within configuration files. For example, USBDeviceConfiguration.plist has listed about two dozen different device variants.
As discovered by 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman, that list has now ballooned to well over 100 such entries as Apple has seeded it with dozens of new fake references to such future products as "iPad10,1", "iPhone11,3", "iPod11,1", and "AppleTV8,3".
Apple has made more difficult to identify new product, though the change does not shut out examination of the evidence entirely, as unaltered listings are still visible in other locations.
Today market research company Strategy Analytics reported on its research which covers «connected TV players», such as Ruku and Apple TV. The report shows that Apple is expected to reach sales of 4 million Apple TV boxes for 2011, leading the growing market with a 32 percent share.
The new report claims that Apple has transferred several patents to the patent-licensing firm Digitude Innovations and accuses the company of aiding a so-called "patent troll." Digitude Innovations filed suit against tech giants this week, including Research in Motion, HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, Amazon and Nokia. Having investigating the lawsuit, TechCrunch found out that two of the patents mentioned in the lawsuit had belonged to Apple earlier this year.
Apple is claimed to transfer a dozen of patents to the company called Cliff Island LLC earlier this year. Noteworthy, the company's address is the same as Digitude investor Altitude Capital. Cliff Island apparently transferred the patents to Digitude.
In June Forbes reported that Digitude Innovations was established by Altitude founder Robert Kramer. Digitude is in the business of acquiring patents to sue others, the company has been labeled a "patent troll." The company is utilizing a new investment strategy of allowing investors to contribute patents instead of money. Participating companies would then receive a license for all of the firm's patents.
It is not clear whether Apple entered into an agreement with Digitude, but Apple may use the company as a "hired gun" in its patent battles.
"The idea that the company didn’t have any options other than handing over valuable patents to a patent troll — knowing full well that it would then use those patents to sue other tech companies — seems ludicrous."
According to Japanese blog Macotakara, Apple held a MFI Conference for iPod / iPhone / iPad for accessory manufacturers in Shenzen, China this past week. During the conference Apple reported that the company was going to introduce a new chip for MFI program ("MFI" means Apple's Made iPod / iPhone / iPad certification program) in order to encourage manufactures to produce more iOS-compatible accessories. The rumored chip will provide access to devices running iOS via AirPlay, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The current program for iOS devices is limited to physical dock accessories.
TouchArcade has confirmed these rumors by its recent article telling us about iOS gaming accessories. TouchArcade explains that the reason why all the current gaming accessories rely on Bluetooth keyboard emulation is due to the restrictions Apple has placed over bluetooth connections and with the new chip such restrictions seems to be loosed opening the way to analog control sticks for iOS devices.
Moreover, Apple has recently revealed that the company would be adding support for AirPlay over Bluetooth. It is unclear what advantages this will offer.
The ongoing competition between Apple and Samsung may become more intense in February. According to BGR report, Samsung is going to launch 11.6 inch tablet that will have 2560 x 1600 resolution display.
According to Reuters, on Tuesday the first-instance court for all French patent litigation ruled against Samsung's request for a preliminary injunction against the iPhone 4S because the court found that Samsung's arguments against the iPhone 4S, so-called FRAND patents, were exhausted. That means that the South Korean company's use of 3G-essential patents against Apple will see worldwide failure.
"The court furthermore held that Samsung's request for an injunction was "disproportionate" and stated that this fact was apparent, without citing particular reasons for this finding," Reuters says. "Some of what the French ruling says indicates that Samsung's use of 3G-essential patents is going to fail everywhere at least as far as the iPhone 4S is concerned."
The French judge who rejected to issue the ban on Apple’s iPhone 4S made clear that Samsung was mishandling its FRAND obligations, noting that a holder of standards-essential patents is not allowed to capitalize on its "necessarily dominant position." "The French ruling makes it clear that there's every indication that Samsung's patent rights are exhausted and Apple is, therefore, effectively licensed," Reuters writes.
Now Apple and Samsung's global disputes over patent infringements have seen more than 30 filings in at least 12 courts in 9 countries that span over 4 continents. And it seems that the battle is far from the end, because patent cases are complex, and courts prefer not to make such decisions on the fast track.
UBS (Investment Firm) analyst Maynard Um now believes Apple will sell as many as 30 million iPhones in the December quarter, up from a previous estimate of 28 million. The firm changed its expectations for the iPhone sales because of AT&T's announcement that it expects its best smartphone quarter ever thanks to the iPhone 4S.
The firm didn’t change its predictions for the iPad. It still expects that Apple will sell 12 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012 and may achieve 13 million iPads because of seasonal boost during the holidays. UBS numbers are quite conservative due to its belief that "there might be a slight shift in consumer preference to the company's Macbook computers." Um said customers may not be able to buy multiple Apple products simultaneously and could instead elect to purchase larger ticket items with more functionality.
In light of the expected iPhone upside, UBS raised its revenue estimates to $38.5 billion, up from $37.2 billion. The firm now expects earnings per share to reach $9.90, compared to a previous projection of $9.47. For fiscal 2012, Um sees Apple bringing in $142.7 billion in revenue and $35.83 EPS.
Apple has reportedly submitted revised plans for their so-called "Spaceship" campus. The company plans to break ground on the project next year and open the facility in 2015. This mega-campus in Cupertino, Calif., is expected to provide Apple with approximately 2.8 million square feet for up to 13,000 employees. Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs personally presented the original plans for the campus to the City of Cupertino in June. Following Jobs' presentation, city officials quickly voiced support for the project. Jobs described it as follows:
It's a pretty amazing building. It's a little like a spaceship landed. It's got this gorgeous courtyard in the middle... It's a circle. It's curved all the way around. If you build things, this is not the cheapest way to build something. There is not a straight piece of glass in this building. It's all curved. We've used our experience making retail buildings all over the world now, and we know how to make the biggest pieces of glass in the world for architectural use. And, we want to make the glass specifically for this building here. We can make it curve all the way around the building... It's pretty cool.
The City of Cupertino posted an update to the company's "Apple Campus 2 Project" on Tuesday evening. Though most of the new renderings are higher-quality versions of the original design, some of the images show a darker color for the structure's roof. Other changes include addition of parking plans, drawings for a private jogging path and a proposed expansion of the corporate fitness center from the original proposal of 25,000 square feet to 45,000 square feet.