Three years after Apple launched its own iOS Maps app to replace Google as its iPhone and iPad map provider, the Cupertino company is readying its first major enhancements to the service. While Apple was known to be gearing up for the launch of a mass transit directions service this fall in a handful of cities, sources have revealed that it is also developing its first entirely in-house mapping database to reduce its reliance on TomTom, using a fleet of mysterious vans to take still photos of business storefronts to replace Yelp photos, and building a 3D Street View feature. Apple has been using the sensor-equipped vans in cities such as Los Angeles, Dallas, and New York since earlier this year, and, below, we detail how the vehicles are advancing Apple’s plans for the future of Maps…
Rumors that Apple might be creating its own search engine started doing the rounds last fall, when webmasters started seeing web crawler visits from IP addresses starting with 17 – the IP address block owned entirely by Apple. Apple has now officially confirmed in a support document that it is operating its own web crawler called Applebot.
Applebot is the web crawler for Apple, used by products including Siri and Spotlight Suggestions. It respects customary robots.txt rules and robots meta tags. It originates in the 184.108.40.206 net block.
While the wording is clearly intended to suggest that this is just business as usual, both the fact that Apple is running its own web crawler at all, and the somewhat vague wording, are interesting … Read more
Last week Mozilla announced that its Firefox browser would be dropping Google as the default search engine in favor of Yahoo. While it’s a good move for Yahoo, it won’t gain the company the exposure that comes with being the default search engine on something more widely used, such as Apple’s Safari browser on iOS devices.
That position has been held by Google since the iPhone’s launch in 2007, but the agreement that made the Mountain View-based company the default site for all of Safari’s searches will expire next year, and The Information reports that Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing are both vying for the spot.
Spotlight, the search tool built into OS X, got a lot smarter in Yosemite – but one developer thinks it could go a whole lot further. He’s developed Flashlight, an app that extends the capabilities of Spotlight to include weather animations and Wolfram Alpha searches.
More interestingly, he’s intending it to act as an unofficial API other developers can use to add functionality to Spotlight … Read more
The Bing Search app has been updated to include the translation feature first demoed at WWDC, as part of the initial unveiling of iOS 8 extensions.
Very simply, downloading the update adds a Bing Translate action to your Activities list in Safari. Enable the action and then visit a website in a foreign language. Pressing the Translate action in the share sheet will machine translate the webpage’s text to the system language, by default. The text content changes inline and happens very quickly.
Apple’s head of iTunes Eddy Cue is live on stage during Apple’s WWDC 2013 keynote presentation today and just unveiled a brand new, revamped version of Siri that includes a lot of new features on top of a redesign that fits in with the rest of the new look for iOS 7. It also announced a new service dubbed “iOS in the car” that will bring more functionality to the consoles of some vehicles through a partnership with several car manufacturers. The integration will allow you to place calls, have more control of Siri, and view maps, much of which we already revealed leading up to today’s event.
As for Siri, the app now has an all new voice and users will also have the ability to change the voice between male and female. New highly quality voices in both male and female will initially be available only in English, French, and German, but Apple plans to add more over time. That’s not all, however, Siri is also getting a bunch of new features and integration with other web services such as Wikipedia.
Eddy Cue noted during his demo of the redesigned Siri that you’ll now be able to control a lot more functions on your iPhone with Siri, such adjusting the brightness of your display, enabling Bluetooth, or playing a voice mail. The just unveiled iTunes Radio will also have Siri integration.
Microsoft is happy about Apple’s decision to include Bing web results (and not Google) in Siri for iOS 7.
Siri will also be able to answer a lot more questions in iOS 7, which is in part thanks to the integration of new web services including Wikipedia, Twitter (to view Twitter account updates through Siri), and web search results from Bing.
The new in-car features through ‘iOS in the car’ will be arriving in vehicles from several car manufacturers in 2014. Read more