Apple is testing a local, offline version of Dictation voice input for iOS devices, according to strings of code found inside of the iOS 7 beta. The code, which was discovered by Hamza Sood, is located inside of both iOS 7 betas, but it is not present in iOS 6. Currently, when an iOS user uses their voice to input text using Dictation, the iOS device will use software that uploads your speech to the cloud to be converted into text. Because this relies on an internet connection and a cloud backend, this could sometimes mean errors and long-loading times, as well as some unwanted data usage…
Update: The stores appear to be back online now, and while the China/Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand stores have access to Red Friday deals, the others don’t. As for discounts, most products, including iPads, MacBooks, and iMacs appear to be on sale for in between 5% and 10% off. For everyone else, 9to5 readers can still get some of the best prices on Macs in the U.S. through our discount code at MacMall.
While we have not confirmed the exact reason, it looks like around 13 Apple online stores worldwide are currently down. Among them: China, Australia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
There is a good possibility Apple is updating these websites to reflect the ‘Year of the Dragon’ Jan. 6 Red Friday shopping event that is expected to land in China/Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and possibly the other countries with online stores currently down. We will keep you posted if we notice any changes when they come back online.