Like a lot of new technologies from Apple these days, HomeKit isn’t perfect but the parts that work well are really useful. Apple’s home automation framework connects smart accessories from various companies all under the control of Siri and HomeKit apps like Home or Hesperus. But HomeKit is relatively young still and there’s plenty of low hanging fruit in terms of ways the framework could improve with iOS 10 and beyond. Here are a few ideas I hope we see with HomeKit this year:
August Home unveiled its second-generation Smart Lock with an updated industrial design and Siri control through HomeKit last October. Starting this week, August’s Bluetooth-connected deadbolt is available to purchase from Amazon and Best Buy after a lengthy pre-order period (although stock appears slim so far).
Apple has agreed to pay $24.9M to settle a long-running lawsuit alleging that Siri violated a patent owned by a New York institute and exclusively licensed to a company in Dallas. The patent predates the launch of Siri by four years.
The Albany Business Review notes that Apple was sued not by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which holds the patent, but by Dallas-based Dynamic Advances, which licensed it. The company reportedly receives $5M now, and the balance after meeting unspecified conditions. In return, Apple gets a license to use the patented technology for three years.
The settlement means that the patent trial, due to take place in New York next month, will no longer proceed. However, that may not be the end of it …
[UPDATE: Apple has confirmed what Siri told us earlier today. The company has now issued a press release in which it says that WWDC will be held from June 13th through June 17th in San Francisco. The same lottery process applies to getting tickets this year as in previous years. Developers can apply for tickets via the WWDC website now through Friday, April 22 at 10:00 a.m. PDT.
In a change from traditional years, the Monday keynote will be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, not Moscone West. All other conference sessions will take place at Moscone, though. The annual Bash will also be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.]
In an unusual chain of events, it appears Apple is announcing the WWDC dates through Siri. Although the Apple website has not been updated with any new info, Siri is proudly proclaiming that WWDC 2016 will indeed be held in San Francisco from June 13th to June 17th. Although Siri didn’t explicitly say, it is almost certain that WWDC will once again be held at Moscone West, simply because it’s the best choice of venue for an event like this in San Francisco. This is an unusual announcement nonetheless, it being the first time Apple has used Siri as the primary announcement vehicle for one of its events. WWDC is expected to feature the unveiling of iOS 10, OS X 10.12 and more …
Earlier this week Apple TV added CBS and the newly launched Starz app to its growing list of universal search channels, which lets you use Siri or the Search app to find movies and TV shows across multiple channels in a single search. Now Siri has learned another new skill called Live Tune-In, which lets you easily jump right into live programming with a single voice command using Siri Remote.
In our regular Feature Request series, 9to5Mac authors offer their opinion on how to improve popular hardware or software products. Since we started the feature back in November of last year, the majority of installments in the series have focused on Apple’s own software and hardware, including a number of ways the company can improve its current iOS and Mac OS X software as well as possibilities for upcoming iOS 10 and Mac OS X 10.12 releases.
And some of the other Feature Requests we’ve published included features for the new Apple TV, the upcoming next-generation Apple Watch 2, Apple Music, iCloud, and more. Below we’ve compiled a hub for the series giving you an easy way to stay up to date and hopefully some hints at what to expect at WWDC this year and other upcoming Apple product launches… expand full story
Last month, Apple unveiled a new commercial for the iPhone and always-on Siri, and now the company has shared a new video showcasing the behind-the-scenes process of making the video. “Go behind the scenes of the commercial, with Cookie Monster and everyone’s favorite personal assistant, Siri,” Apple teases.
Early this morning, we told you about a new iPhone 6s passcode bypass vulnerability that allowed handlers to access photos and contact details without needing to verify with a passcode or Touch ID. The Lock screen vulnerability was made possible by Siri, and let users bypass the security provided by the Lock screen passcode and/or Touch ID.
If there’s a positive spin to put on such a vulnerability, it’s that fixes can be implemented server side without the need for an iOS update. Apple today has fixed the passcode bypass method by forcing Siri to request your Lock screen passcode whenever a user tries to search Twitter via Siri while at a secured Lock screen expand full story
Apple doesn’t normally improve the capabilities of Siri outside of a major operating system update, but it has made an exception this time around for baseball. Apple has dramatically improved the knowledge base Siri can draw from for Siri, allowing the voice-activated personal assistant to answer a wider range of questions about the sport. Via The Verge, Siri now covers 28 leagues, not just Major League Baseball, too.
Siri first started answering sports questions with iOS 6. Apple says that the upgrade to baseball, timed alongside the new MLB season, allows users to ask more detailed questions about career statistics and baseball history.
Apple today has shared its latest advertisement for the fourth-gen Apple TV. This ad, entitled “The Kiss,” focuses on the Siri Remote that ships with the device. The ad is a one minute long spot and comes on the heels of Apple announcing its first original TV series.
The fourth generation Apple TV has even been on the market for less than six months and there’s already a massive update ready for it. The new tvOS 9.2 software update is now available and includes several features that previously hadn’t made it from Apple TV 3 as well as features totally new to the platform.
You can now use Siri Remote to dictate text for search queries, usernames, and even passwords, and Bluetooth keyboards are once again supported for easier text entry. Apple TV apps can now be grouped into folders so you can keep games together, and iCloud Photo Library subscribers can view complete photo and video collections on the big screen. Here’s the full rundown on everything new in tvOS 9.2 for the new Apple TV:
Apple has launched yet another iPhone 6s advert, this time featuring a special celebrity guest: the Cookie Monster. In the ad, named Timer, the blue monster uses hands-free Siri on his iPhone 6s to time (you guessed it) the baking of his cookies.
Although hands-free Siri exists on all iPhones, the ability to say ‘Hey Siri’ out loud without having the phone being plugged in to power is exclusive to Apple’s latest handsets: the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Watch the minute-long commercial after the break …
In a blog post long on words but short on specifics, wireless speaker firm Sonos has announced that it will be increasingly focusing on support for streaming music services – but also moving into voice control. CEO John Macfarlane says that in the immediate term, the company will need to layoff employees as part of its refocusing plans.
Macfarlane hints at a possible collaboration with Amazon, using Alexa, the company’s competitor to Siri.
We’re fans of what Amazon has done with Alexa and the Echo product line. Voice recognition isn’t new; today it’s nearly ubiquitous with Siri, OK Google, and Cortana. But the Echo found a sweet spot in the home and will impact how we navigate music, weather, and many, many other things as developers bring new ideas and more content to the Alexa platform …
The Amazon Echo has become somewhat of a hit success, with many users preferring Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant to Apple’s Siri because of faster speech recognition speed, reliability and overall better performance. Amazon is continuing to compete in the voice assistant space with the release of two new products today: the Amazon Tap and Echo Dot.
The new products focus on expanding Amazon’s voice assistant into more rooms of your house as well as on-the-go. It’s an interesting strategy to make Alexa-dedicated devices, whereas Apple currently offers Siri only as a feature of its existing iOS, Apple Watch and Apple TV products.
Hound, a voice search application from the creators behind SoundHound, has been released today for iOS. Hound’s application focuses on bringing users quick, accurate voice driven search results in a way I only wish Siri could. Implementing Google Now-style cards, Hound’s interface is direct and to the point. Users are presented with a list of similar topics they can search for, and even given examples of the complex queries Hound can handle.
While the Apple vs FBI controversy was the top Apple story from last week, the case takes back seat this week to news surrounding Apple’s upcoming March 21st iPhone and iPad event. But Apple and the FBI stories still come in right behind in this week’s top stories, followed by news of Apple’s latest iOS 9.3 beta release, plans for Siri on the Mac this fall, and the more on the upgraded camera system rumored for iPhone 7.
Apple currently plans to use its next major release of the Mac operating system, known as OS X 10.12, this fall to continue to expand Siri across its product lines. Last year, Apple implemented Siri as cornerstone features of both the Apple Watch and new Apple TV, and for 2016, Siri is planned to finally make its way to the Mac.
Apple is currently testing a change in how the Siri Remote interacts with the new Apple TV. The change is available on the latest tvOS 9.2 beta, which is expected to be released around next month’s March 15th event. Starting with tvOS 9.2 beta 4, Apple has changed how you scrub through video during playback. Why does that matter? Two reasons: