SXSW Festival using iBeacons for interactive sessions, speedy badge pickup through iOS app

SXSW-appOn top of the many uses for iBeacons we’ve seen in retail environments, event organizers are another group that have started taking advantage of Apple’s new Bluetooth tech recently. The MLB is deploying them in stadiums to send notifications to baseball fans, CES hosted an iBeacon scavenger hunt this year, and today we’ve found out the upcoming SXSW festival where Apple is hosting its latest iTunes Festival will also be using the technology.

Eventbase, the company that has been building the official SXSW festival app for a few years now reached out to let us know it will be deploying some iBeacons around the event this year to improve the experience. Specifically, it will be using the technology to “help attendees in Austin pick up their badge faster and get more involved in the sessions they attend.” One feature in the app will allow for real-time audience interaction during sessions: Read more

Apple Store app featuring new, free music from iTunes

Stanford Apple Store

Once again, Apple is back to giving away free music through an iTunes promotion within its Apple Store app for U.S. customers. The new giveaway highlights three artists with “new tracks helping to define this year’s musical landscape.” Specifically, the app features tracks from Master Blaster Sound System, Bad Suns, and Kris Bowers. It’s worth checking out if you’re into discovering new music, but Amazon has some more traditional artists like George Strait, The Beach Boys, and Dean Martin in its Icon Series music giveaway over at 9to5Toys. Check below for how to grab the free tracks from iTunes. Read more

Nuance announces Dragon Dictate 4, with pre-recorded transcription features and Gmail integration

Nuance has just announced the next major version of its Mac dictation software, Dragon Dictate 4. The new version improves recognition accuracy as well as several new features, including the ability to machine transcribe from a pre-recorded audio file. You no longer have to be recording a voice live to get transcription.

Screenshot 2014-03-04 08.07.43We’ve had a quick play with the software and the accuracy is almost scary good compared to older versions of the software. Speaking in a normal voice gives you almost 100% accuracy and even mumbling seems to work. While Mavericks uses the same Nuance speech engine, Dictate 4 has a better interface for transcription and tons of extra features as outlined in the videos above and below.

Dragon Dictate software has also been updated for modern system architectures — it is a 64-bit app now.  This results in better performance and better memory management over its predecessors. The company says it has drastically reduced latency when interpreting speech.

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Finish to-do manager goes free for new users, introduces Finish More, and announces upcoming iPad version

Finish, the Apple Design Award-winning to-do manager that launched at the beginning of last year is going free for new users today. There is a catch, though: the free app will now be limited to only ten tasks, and those tasks will only be able to be set to a specific date. Setting a time of day and enabling Bother Me alerts will not be available in the free app, either.

To get those features, the developers are introducing an in-app purchase for $.99 called Finish More. For users who previously purchased Finish, this is a free upgrade that can be unlocked by tapping “restore purchase” on the Finish More screen.

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ABC streaming Oscars to its apps for some, ESPN adds conference feeds to Apple TV

(via Oscar Blog)

Even before Apple introduces an expected refresh to its streaming set top box sometime this year, several content providers are making the current platform even richer with more and more content. Two big players, ESPN and ABC, will be providing content new to the Apple TV very soon, Variety reports. Starting with ABC, the network will stream the Oscars on Sunday live through its Watch ABC apps for subscribers in select cities (details below). ESPN, for its part, has announced dedicated channels within its Watch ESPN app on Apple TV and Roku for following 15 different conferences. Read more