iOS 5’s Siri-like system navigation is called ‘Assistant’, uses device-info to handle actions

Apple’s purchase of Siri in early 2010 and their partnership with Nuance in 2011 has many hoping that Apple has something like speech-to-text or voice-navigation up its sleeve for iOS 5. One of the remaining advantages of Android over iOS is its system-wide Voice Actions technology.

Unfortunately, WWDC and the iOS 5 announcement came and went and nothing related to voice-navigation had been announced. Even so, the Apple-Nuance partnership has been confirmed by way of Nuance voices in Apple’s OS X Lion and Nuance speech-to-text functionality that is referenced in Apple’s internal settings modules.

But that doesn’t mean Apple isn’t hard at work at this very moment trying to cram some native OS level voice recognition technology into iOS 5 before launch.

Coupled with Nuance speech-to-text, Apple appears to be planning to take the fruit of their Siri purchase and fully integrate it into this fall’s release of iOS 5. Because these new features have yet to appear in iOS 5 on the iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS, Apple might be saving these new features as an iPhone 5 exclusive. This would be akin to Apple’s decision to make Voice Control and video recording exclusive features to the iPhone 3GS, even though they could technically function on earlier models of the iPhone. As you can see in Siri’s promotional video above, the company advertises itself as “your virtual personal assistant.”

As you can see in the screenshot above from an Apple iPhone test unit, Apple is currently developing and testing a new iOS feature called “Assistant.” This screenshot, from a reliable source, is corroborated with our own SDK findings (below). The source did warn, though, that development is not yet completed – and just went into testing – and may not even be finished by the time the next iPhone ships.

More info after the break…

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Most 9to5Mac Macintosh readers have moved to Lion

We were just rummaging through our web logs today to see how many of you guys have been upgrading to Lion.  Imagine our surprise when we saw that 53% of Mac users who visit 9to5mac have already done the update.  Here is the breakdown:

Today’s MacOS breakdown on 9to5mac

While our readership isn’t necessarily indicative of the larger Mac community, it does show that you guys have jumped in the deep end in a big way.  We should note that a full 10% of our readers were on Lion on Monday (below), having downloaded it ahead of time.  Apple today announced that a million people had upgraded to Lion overall, making  it the fastest MacOS update in history. Read more

OS X Lion loses compatibility with some network-attached storage drives

CNet has discovered that OS X Lion users lose support for Time Machine backups with third-party NAS hard drives. Time Machine in OS X Lion is now only compatible with Netatalk 2.0. This means that third-party NAS (network attached storage) drives will need a software upgrade from their respective manufactures in order to work with Apple’s next-generation Mac operating system. Users of cable-connected external hard drives will not be affected. Drobo, the company behind popular network attached storage devices has noted the issues on their website:

DroboFS, B800fs and DroboPro FS users running Mac OS X Lion (OS X 10.7) will experience problems with Time Machine.

The next official firmware release for all “FS” products will ensure full compatibility with the released version of Mac OS X Lion,  including use of Time Machine.

Another popular NAS drive maker, Synology, has already released a fix in beta form. Other NAS drive makers will likely follow up with their own OS X Lion compatibility updates.

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Speed Test: Lion vs. Snow Leopard

Lifehacker has conducted a series of tests to see which is faster: Lion or Snow Leopard. As you can see in the video above, the two operating systems do about the same in almost every category tested, but Snow Leopard weasels out the win almost every time. To be fair, most categories were won by a very small margin. Lifehacker summarizes:

Boot 1:32 1:25
Compress a ~900MB File 0:51 0:59
Decompress a ~900MB File 0:10 0:09
Duplicate a ~900MB File 0:09 0:09
Encoder a Movie for iPhone in Quicktime X 0:56 0:53
Launch 9 Applications 0:59 0:37
Open 10 Tabs in Safari 0:15 0:17
Total Time 4:43+ 4:29

Snow Leopard was built for speed and Lion was built to add functionality. It’s great to see Lion isn’t exactly slipping away on the speed end of things. How’s the speed on your end?

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OSX Server hits the App Store but XCode disappears (Update: XCode back, free)

In addition to Lion now being available at the App Store (had you heard?) and some new Mac Hardware, today you can also download OSX Lion Server from the App Store for an additional $49.99.  Full description below…

Interestingly, Xcode has disappeared and isn’t even available by search.  We’ll likely see an update to that in the semi-near future.

Update (Noon EST): Xcode is back (free).

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Lion hits App Store, download it right here!

Lion just hit the Mac App Store!!  Ladies and Gentlemen, start your downloads!

The $29.99 download is 3.5GB so your download times may vary.  After Lion downloads we are expecting an update to iWork shortly as well.  On the hardware side we are expecting some new Sandy Bridge MacBook Airs, new Mac Minis and a new Thunderbolt Display as well.

How fast is your download?  Are you getting the good speed?  Full specs and details below:

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