Apple announces new version of Siri in iOS 9 with “Proactive” assistant features

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Apple has announced a new version of Siri with many new features in iOS 9. Siri can now show recent photos, create reminders about web pages and other in-app content, detect when you get in your car, and features a new UI inspired by the Apple Watch.

The new system can also automatically look up unknown numbers through your email to figure out who is calling, and show information on the lock screen that fits into your daily routine. It can also automatically show your Now Playing screen on the lock screen when you plug in your headphones.

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Apple’s ‘Proactive’ to take on Google Now with deep iOS 9 search, Augmented Reality Maps, Siri API

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After several years of quiet development, Apple is readying a major new iOS initiative codenamed “Proactive,” which will leverage Siri, Contacts, Calendar, Passbook, and third-party apps to create a viable competitor to Google Now for Android devices. Like Google Now, Proactive will automatically provide timely information based on the user’s data and device usage patterns, but will respect the user’s privacy preferences, according to sources familiar with Apple’s plans.

As an evolution of iOS’s Spotlight search feature, Proactive is the fruit of a long-term initiative that involved the acquisition of small app developers, and integration of core iOS apps. It will also work with Apple’s Maps application to display personally relevant points of interest using an augmented reality interface, and integrate with a third-party Siri API codenamed “Breadcrumbs”…

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Broadcom’s SDK is first to support HomeKit for WiFi & Bluetooth accessories, hardware bridges for non-HomeKit products

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Broadcom today announced that its new SDK for the Internet of Things (IoT) now officially supports Apple’s home automation HomeKit platform, bringing us a step closer to widespread availability of Siri-controlled smart home devices.

Broadcom notes that its SDK is the first to officially support HomeKit specs for WiFi and Bluetooth Smart accessories, allowing developers to use its Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices (WICED) platform to build apps for Apple’s new Siri-controlled, home automation platform. They will also be able to build products that double as a hardware bridge for non-HomeKit accessories.  Read more

Apple confirms its ‘Applebot’ is indexing the web for Siri and Spotlight

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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 17.0.0.0 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

GE announces Siri-controlled, color-changing LED lighting with support for HomeKit

GE announced today that it’s introducing HomeKit enabled LED lighting products offering Siri-controlled solutions for both the home and enterprise. With support for Apple’s new HomeKit framework, users will be able to control the lights from their iOS device using Siri.

The company noted that the new line of GE HomeKit lighting will also include its GE Align technology that “tunes the light spectrum to help promote the body’s natural sleep cycle by controlling the blue concentration of light output.” Read more

Apple moves to third-generation Siri back-end, built on open-source Mesos platform

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Apple is now on its third-generation system for handling Siri queries, moving to the open source Mesos platform, according to the Mesosphere blog. Apple reportedly made the announcement at the Bay Area Mesos meetup last week.

During a presentation, Apple engineers said that the switch to Mesos would reduce latency, assist scalability, and made it easier to deploy new services as Siri’s capabilities are expanded …  Read more

Confused by the Apple Watch user interface? Here’s your handy quick-start guide

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The Apple Watch user interface may grow to be second-nature in time, but almost everyone who has tried onemyself included – has found themselves somewhat bemused at first. Do you swipe the screen? Tap it or Force Touch it? Do you scroll with vertical swipes or using the digital crown? Do you single-press, double-press or press-and-hold the crown? And when do you use the contacts button (nope, it’s not just for contacts)?

Redditor macamacamac (I’m guessing he likes Macs) has put together a really handy visual guide showing exactly how you move between the different views …  Read more