iOS 8 beta 4 brings streaming voice recognition to keyboard dictation (Video)

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Toady’s new beta update to iOS 8 features a change to the way the built-in dictation system works. In previous versions of iOS, dictating text into an app would send your voice to Apple’s server once you finished speaking to be analyzed and return the converted text. Siri used to function the same way, but with iOS 8 Apple made changes that allowed voice input to be streamed to the server for conversion while the user was still speaking.

As of iOS 8 beta 4, the system keyboard’s dictation feature now works the same way. Just like in Siri, you can now see each word appear almost immediately as you speak. It allows you to catch errors more quickly as they happen and brings the various voice-powered features of iOS in-line.

Check out the video below to see it in action:

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US President Obama compares Healthcare.gov’s ‘glitches’ to an Apple product launch

During President Obama’s live remarks addressing the government shutdown and Obamacare site outages today, the U.S President compared the issues with healthcare.gov to an Apple product launch (via WashingtonPost):

Now, like every new law, every new product roll-out, there are going to be some glitches in the sign-up process along the way that we will fix. I’ve been saying this from the start. For example, we found out that there have been times this morning where the site’s been running more slowly than it normally will.

And we’re going to be speeding things up in the next few hours to handle all of this demand that exceeds anything that we had expected. Consider that just a couple of weeks ago, Apple rolled out a new mobile operating system, and within days, they found a glitch, so they fixed it. I don’t remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads or threatening to shut down the company if they didn’t. That’s not how we do things in America. We don’t actively root for failure. We get to work, we make things happen, we make them better, we keep going.

He is of course referring to the release of iOS 7.0.2 last week, which brought fixes for a lock screen passcode bypass flaw and other small issues.

Obama is a confirmed iPad user and is frequently seen carrying around the device so perhaps he’s speaking from some 1st hand experience… Read more

Apple in Shanghai court over Siri speech recognition patent infringement claims

Siri promo video (text message reply 001)AFP reported Apple is in court in Shanghai, China again today, but this time it’s over a lawsuit alleging the company copied components of Siri’s speech recognition software. According to the report, Shanghai-based Zhizhen Network Technology Co. claimed in pretrial proceedings that Apple infringed its patent related to voice recognition technology via Siri. While the suit notes that development of Siri began in 2007, there is no mention of Nuance. Apple currently partners Nuance with to implement the speech recognition component in Siri, and it is also a market leader that presumably has its own arsenal of speech recognition related patents.

Zhizhen says it patented its “Xiao i Robot” software in 2004, while Apple’s Siri, which made its debut with the release of the iPhone 4S in 2011, was first developed in 2007.

“The company will ask Apple to stop manufacturing and selling products using its patent rights, once Apple’s infringement is confirmed,” Si Weijiang, a lawyer representing Zhizhen, told AFP.

“We don’t exclude the possibility of demanding compensation in the future,” he added.

The company is behind Siri-like software called ‘Xiao i Robot’ that it claimed was first developed before Siri in 2004. The technology is apparently available on some smart TVs and enterprise applications, but it doesn’t appear to be available as a consumer-facing app for smartphones or tablets. The video below appeared online when the company originally filed suit against Apple last year, and it shows the Xiao i Robot software running on a Lenovo smartphone:

Live blog: Tim Cook interview with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at D10

We are about 30 minutes away from Apple CEO Tim Cook’s first major public interview, which takes place at AllThingsD’s D10 Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. If I were a betting man, I would say this talk will focus on Apple after Steve Jobs, current issues at Apple’s manufacturing partners, and the latest Apple products. Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher will sit down with the chief to hammer out the information we all want to here. It should be a doozie.

That’s a wrap! The full archive is below: Read more

Former Apple exec Bob Borchers talks Apple marketing, packaging, and his time at Apple

Update: Apple had these videos taken offline.  We will make an effort to see if they exist somewhere else. Help us out in the comments if you find them.

Former Apple marketing executive Bob Borchers, who was part of the original iPhone team and helped lead the Nike+iPod partnership and third-party iPod integration with car manufacturers, recently gave a talk at a school in California to discuss his experiences at Apple (part 2 below). In case you are unfamiliar, you might remember Borchers from several “guided tour” videos for iPhone and other Apple products a few years back. He has also been a source for many of the interesting stories coming from Adam Lashinsky’s new book “Inside Apple.”

At the starting of his talk to students, Borchers surveys the crowd to find out the ratio of Android users to iPhone users, leading him to joke: “Alright that’s good. I’ll keep my Apple stock.” As a former marketing executive, Borchers showed and talked about a few ads, but also discussed the AT&T partnership, as he noted, “We broke rules in terms of how we worked with folks like AT&T”:

“AT&T as a company… they buy the cellphones and then they sell them to you and I… we said, ‘no we don’t want to do that’. We want to be able to sell the iPhone. We want to be able to talk directly to the customer. That was a big, big change for the industry.” 

Other than telling some recent stories that have debuted in “Inside Apple,” Borchers also talked about Steve Jobs’ initial mission to create the iPhone, describing the late CEO as wanting to create “the first phone people would fall in love with.” He also discussed how important the multitouch display and having the full “Internet in your pocket” was to the original concept. Before wrapping up his speech, Borchers talked about how the iPhone was developed from his point of view on the product marketing/product management team and the importance of Apple packaging:

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