December 20, 2010

Apple’s job listings are usually a good indication of what’s to come and tonight Apple began searching for four engineers with a specific focus on voice technologies in iOS. These four positions (1,2,3,4) break up into an iOS Speech Application Engineer, two Speech Recognition Engineers, and a Senior Speech Research Scientist. With three different job types, all with a focus on voice recognition, Apple appears to be serious about this.

Are you looking to contribute to a product that is redefining the smartphone? The iOS Application Frameworks team is looking for an exceptional Speech Engineer. You will work with our team on a wide variety of speech-related development activities. We need a team player – you will be working closely with engineers on the Application Frameworks team as well as other teams at Apple – and we need someone who is comfortable working in a fast paced environment with rapidly changing priorities.

What is even more interesting is where Apple wants the potential applicants to have experience. Have you heard of Nuance’s voice recognition software? How about Google’s Voice recognizing Cloud used in Android OS? Well, Apple prefers the engineers working on iOS’s voice recognition to have “demonstrated experience with Nuance Recognizer, IBM WebSphere Voice, Google Voice Search, or similar voice search tools.”

You may recall Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak saying something about Nuance’s voice technology in connection to Apple, then denying it, or you may have heard about Apple’s acquisition of Artificial Intelligence company Siri. It seems to all be coming together now. Check out a video of Siri’s voice recognition software running on iPhone for a peek into iOS’s future.

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Motorola has just posted their teaser video for their upcoming Android powered tablet. The teaser is quite interesting, going through the different types of tablets in history and noting the pros and cons of each. They bust down on the Galaxy Tab by calling its Android OS a phone operating system and what they say about the iPad is a bit confusing. If they were following the setup of the rest of the commercial they praised the iPad for being a “giant iPhone” but they also bash it by saying it’s “just a giant iPhone.” Make up your mind, Motorola.

As Engadget notes Motorola’s upcoming tablet will surely be running Android Honeycomb if the buzzing bee at the end of the teaser is any indication. Android master Andy Rubin recently showed off a prototype Motorola tablet running Honeycomb and said its set for next year. Oh, by next year he meant CES.

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December 16, 2010

We knew Sony was launching an Android Playstation phone but it looks like some of that Sony love is floating over to the iOS side of the isle as well. Today, Sony announced a new App for iOS devices which will allow users to:

  • Check out your PlayStation Network trophies and keep up to date with your friends’ games and online status.
  • Discover all the latest games, news and hardware for your PlayStation 3PSP and PlayStation 2.
  • Read all the announcements on the European PlayStation.Blog.
  • Share your favourite products or news with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or via e-mail.

Hey, wait a minute.  Can you actually play games with this?  It doesn’t appear that you can.

The Playstation app will be available for iPhone and iPod touch running iOS 4.x and above and in the following countries: UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and The Netherlands at launch and more next year (WTF, no USA USA USA?).  The app will be free.

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December 15, 2010

Google is about to change the music economy, preparing to hand over huge amounts of cash to win rights to offer the music locker service it has been trying to build for Google Music.  However, confused internal politics and music licensing complexity mean Google, just like Spotify and Apple, isn’t set to launch its service before the end of the year. expand full story


While we wait for iTunes in the cloud, we may as well begin using an iTunes in the cloud service that isn’t from Apple, a free service for iPhones from mSpot, the app for which is now available via the iTunes App Store.

What’s it do? Essentially it is like a music locker service to which you upload your music in order to then enjoy streaming access to that music via your mSpot app. expand full story

December 14, 2010

OK, we’re excited to see this, even if it is just an ad.  Adage says that it is the only iAd we’ll see on iPad this year.  Next year we’ll see plenty more.   On iAds, digital agencies are gushing about the quality even if it takes a lot of time and effort to bring the ads to fruition.

“I think as a media format it has the potential to surpass anything that has come before,” said Carrie Frolich, digital director at WPP unit MEC Global, which bought iAd inventory for Citi, AT&T, Chanel and Campbell Soup. “It delivers all the emotive qualities of television or video advertising with the interactivity of a website, plus the functionality of location and all the bells and whistles of Apple devices like the accelerometer.”

More from Adage: expand full story

December 13, 2010

If you are the adventurous type and want 4G wireless (and it is available in your place of residence), you now have a few more options, thanks to your friendly neighborhood hackerz.

If 4G WiMAX from Sprint is what your are after, you can pick up the Clear iSpot for $100 and connect all of your (up to 8 ) iOS devices to it for $25/month (deal!).  However a simple hack allows you to take it a bit further and connect those bandwidth-heavy Macs (and PCs and Androids and Linux if you are into that sort of thing) to your $25/month iSpot.  The hack releases the MAC address restrictions which ironically include the latest batch of iPads…yes that’s right, it will only work as intended if hacked.  Be warned however that Sprint could take it all away with an over the air update to their little iSpot…unless you are savvy enough to change your Mac MAC address.

If, for whatever reason, you were after Verizon’s USB 4G Wireless service on your Macs, you are officially out of luck.  However, a hack developed within the gardens of Howard Forums allows one of the two USB Modems (Pantech) to work on the Mac.  Verizon is said to be working on an official Mac version of the drivers for both modems so this would just be a holdover until the better drivers/setup come along.

Now, is anyone thinking about replacing their Broadband connection with 4G Wireless? expand full story


Reuters reports that Apple and Toshiba are working together on a plant to make displays for iOS devices.

Toshiba Corp will spend about 100 billion yen ($1.19 billion) to build a factory for making small LCD panels, mainly to supply to Apple Inc’s iPhones, the Nikkei business daily said.The company’s wholly owned unit, Toshiba Mobile Display Co, will construct the facility in Ishikawa prefecture and the plant will churn out low-temperature polysilicon LCD panels, which allow for high-resolution images, the paper said.Work on the plant will start by early next year, with the production due to begin in the second half of 2011, Nikkei said.Toshiba Mobile Display already makes low-temperature polysilicon LCD panels at a facility in the prefecture and its monthly production capacity of 8.55 million units is projected to more than double with the new factory, the daily said.  Apple will invest in a portion of the investment for the factory, the Nikkei said.

What’s interesting is that current LCD display leaders from Korea,Samsung and LG (maker of the Retina Display), are not only competing with Apple but also selling products that go into Apple products to others.  For instance, Apple CEO Steve Jobs told the WWDC audience that he thought that Apple would have the lead in displays for years with the Retina, yet Sharp and other manufacturers released Android devices with the same LG display within months of the iPhone.  LG also had a display deal with Apple and gave Apple a few month head start on those awesome 27″ panels before giving them to Dell as well.

Samsung, who make the A4 CPU and RAM for Apple’s iOS products, has been severely constrained with its high end Super-AMOLED display that powers its Galaxy S phones.  Those phones have been the primary high-end Android competition for the iPhone.

Perhaps Apple is trying to move away from doing business with its hardware competitors.

The bad news in this regard is that Toshiba also has just started to make Android devices.

Asymco has an interesting report today in which analyst Horace Dediu argues that Verizon may need the iPhone more than its letting on, and suggests Google Android may not be as big a business as many think it to be.

To be fair, while Dediu makes a good argument for his points, critics are already pointing out that they are based on data which may not be 100 per cent accurate, and that Verizon’s best month was in August, two months after iPhone 4 shipped. (Though it was only a slightly better month on back of hype around new product from Samsung).

We’ve had an update from the sources of the orginal data, which is posted at the foot of this article:

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Apple is the key name in tech as iPad beats Android in this year’s Twitter Trends chart, reports the Twitter Blog, where the company today revealed its list of the top trends of 2010.

Apple’s iPad was the sixth biggest overall top trend,just ahead of Google Android at number 7. iPhone never made the overall list, which is headed by Golf Oil Spill and the FIFA World Cup. expand full story

December 9, 2010

Today we’re liking the BlueSLR gadget, a Bluetooth dongle that lets you control your Nikon SLR from your iPhone, and adds a few other features which justify its $150 price tag.

All you need to do is connect blueSLR to your compatible digital SLR camera and use your phone to adjust your camera’s focus, shutter speed or timer. expand full story


December 7, 2010

COMPUTERWORLD: Apple’s plotting course for the release of iPad 2.0 in February today’s hot rumor claims, but there’s some signs Apple plans a massacre as it prepares the ground for 2011’s expected battle with tablets powered by Android’s more tablet-friendly “Honeycomb” software. Apple has price, subsidy and many more options open to it as it moves into next year.

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December 6, 2010

The eBook wars have just become a tri-partisan dispute, with Amazon versus Apple now seeing a third gorilla enter the room as Google launches its long-anticipated ebookstore.

Google eBooks is apparently “all about choice”, so you can get an app for iPhone, Android, Nook and Sony and for your computer. The service isn’t yet available outside the US.

Interestingly, your books are stored in the cloud, suggesting ad opportunities for the company. expand full story

Apple may have hatched a deal with Verizon under which T-Mobile and Sprint will be locked out of the sexy, beautiful iPhone everywhere post-ATT exclusive in the US next year, an analyst said.

I hasten to note that the analyst here is one Kaufman Bros., Shaw Wu, and I’ve noted that his analysis while widely reported is often incorrect. But here’s the story. expand full story


December 3, 2010

December 2, 2010

SproutCore is something else, a technology which drives the superior Web experience that MobileMe is rapidly becoming. Now SproutCore creator, Charles Jolley, has quit Apple to launch a startup called Strobe, tasked to deliver Apple-like JavaScript and HTML5 technologies to create apps which run smoothly on any device. expand full story

December 1, 2010


November 30, 2010

COMPUTERWORLD: Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch have begun battling it out to create a superior subscription-based magazine in the iPod iPublishing 3.0 race, but Apple’s [AAPL] recent move to ban an iOS magazine dedicated to the competing Android smartphone OS shows that Apple’s app store approvals team could begin an age of censorship.

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