Apple to activate speech-to-text in iOS 5

By on August 8, 2011 at 11:01 PM.

Apple to activate speech-to-text in iOS 5

We’ve heard rumors that Apple will a include Siri-powered “Assistant” voice command option ahead of the official iOS 5 launch, and now 9to5Mac has learned that Apple will also add Nuance-powered speech-to-text functionality. As the screenshots show, users will simply need to tap the microphone button next to the space bar in order to activate the feature. When active, a larger microphone image will pop up to alert the user to begin speaking. The functionality is similar to what’s already available on Android smartphones and we hope it performs just as well. Hopefully we’ll see text-to-speech implemented in an upcoming iOS 5 beta build, otherwise we’ll have to wait until September when the official public release hits. Read on for a second screen shot. More →

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Rumored 'iTunes Replay' service won't launch soon according to report

By on August 8, 2011 at 10:00 PM.

Rumored 'iTunes Replay' service won't launch soon according to report

Apple’s upcoming “iTunes Replay” service is indeed in the works, but the company has yet to sign “cloud agreements” with at least four of the top-six film studios in Hollywood that are necessary in order to launch the service, CNET News reports. As such, the site calls earlier reports that suggested an imminent launch premature. Apple is reportedly working on a service that will allow iTunes users to stream and re-download movies purchased through iTunes. Such a service would require Apple to sign new licensing agreements with motion picture studios in order to secure the appropriate rights that would allow Apple to serve content from the cloud and to multiple devices. According to CNET News, negotiations for these rights could “drag on for months.” The report also mentions a possible hurdle for Apple: HBO. HBO has agreements in place that grant it exclusive digital distribution rights to new movies from three of the six major film studios — 20th Century Fox, Universal and Warner Bros. — for a certain period of time. HBO’s deals have caused problems for streaming services in the past, and it looks like Apple could be the latest victim. More →

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'Anonymous' and 'LulzSec' release 10GB of data from 50 police departments

By on August 8, 2011 at 8:59 PM.

'Anonymous' and 'LulzSec' release 10GB of data from 50 police departments

In response to the arrests of LulzSec member Topiary and Anonymous PayPal hackers, members of the AntiSec initiative have infiltrated 50 police departments across the United States and stolen 10GB of data. According to a release put out by the group, which includes members from Anonymous and LulzSec, the data includes “private police emails, training files, snitch info and personal info on retaliation for Anonymous arrests.” It also includes social security numbers, address information, passwords, credit card numbers, training files and more. “We hope that not only will dropping this info demonstrate the inherently corrupt nature of law enforcement using their own words, as well as result in possibly humiliation, firings, and possible charges against several officers, but that it will also disrupt and sabotage their ability to communicate and terrorize communities,” a recent press release said. The data was stored on a single server and the hackers said it took less than 24 hours to infiltrate and copy the information. In a release posted on PostBin, the AntiSec movement called on other hackers to join in and “make 2011 the year of leaks and revolutions.” The group also told the government to give up and said “you are losing the cyberwar, and the attacks against the governments, militaries, and corporations of the world will continue to escalate.” More →

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45,000 Verizon workers on strike for second day

By on August 8, 2011 at 7:58 PM.

45,000 Verizon workers on strike for second day

45,000 Verizon employees, or about 25% of the company’s workforce, continued their strike on Monday after the company failed to reach an agreement with labor unions, Bloomberg reported. It is the first strike in 11 years at Verizon and it could end up affecting customers waiting for new phone and web installations or phone support, though Verizon has 40,000 other employees on hand. The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers don’t want to pay monthly premiums on health benefits, but Verizon isn’t quite willing to spend more money on the unions as customers continue to opt for wireless service and internet entertainment in place of phone lines and cable TV. “It is clear that some of the existing contract provisions, negotiated initially when Verizon was under far less competitive pressure, are not in line with the economic realities of business today,” Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said Sunday. “In fact, under these contracts, benefit costs have risen consistently even as the wireline business has shrunk.” “We’re looking to bring our union more in line with what the rest of the workers pay,” Verizon spokesperson Rich Young said, noting that a majority of Verizon’s employees pay part of their health insurance premiums. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers manager Bill Huber sees it differently. “These aren’t negotiations, they’re an insult,” he said. “This is a clear attack on our unions.” More →

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Apple to offer 25GB of free iCloud storage to current MobileMe subscribers

By on August 8, 2011 at 6:57 PM.

Apple to offer 25GB of free iCloud storage to current MobileMe subscribers

If you’re currently an active MobileMe subscriber, Apple may soon offer you an incentive to move all of your data over to its new iCloud service. From the day the service goes public until June 30th of next year users who move their data to iCloud will receive 25GB of free iCloud storage for as long as their iCloud account is active, 9to5 Mac reported on Monday. Every iCloud user will receive 5GB free from the get-go and and an additional 10GB will cost $20 per year. An extra 20GB will cost $40 per year and 50GB of added storage will set you back $100 annually. ICloud is still available only to developers but we have no doubt it will be fully live by the time Apple finalizes iOS 5 and launches its next iPhone, which is expected to occur in September or October. More →

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Chrome for tablets caught on film [video]

By on August 8, 2011 at 5:56 PM.

Chrome for tablets caught on film [video]

Google’s Chrome OS was originally designed as a lightweight operating system for devices such as netbooks, which have a constant internet connection. The search giant already has Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) and will soon offer Android Ice Cream Sandwich for tablets but apparently that hasn’t stopped Google from optimizing a version of Chrome OS for use on slates. One developer named Francois Beaufor has leaked a video that reveals a hint of what Chrome OS on a tablet might look like. The video shows a quick look at the touchscreen keyboard, an example of the web browser in action and support for voice-based search. As Business Insider points out, it might make a lot more sense for Google to just build a top-notch Chrome browser for Android instead of porting its OS to tablets. Many believe Google’s Android offering is fragmented enough as it is. Hit the break for a quick video clip. More →

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Primecap doubles RIM stake in vote of confidence

By on August 8, 2011 at 4:45 PM.

Primecap doubles RIM stake in vote of confidence

Pasedena, California-based investment management firm Primecap Management Co. recently doubled its investment in BlackBerry vendor Research In Motion. According to a recent regulatory filing, Primecap now owns 26.4 million shares of RIM stock valued at about $577 million as of Monday’s close, and the stake represents approximately 5% of RIM’s total outstanding shares. According to Bloomberg, Primecap’s stake at the end of the second quarter of this year was approximately 2.5%. As numerous analysts continue to cut their price targets on RIM stock, Primecap’s continued investment could represent a vote of confidence in RIM’s new BlackBerry 7 phones and its future QNX phones as well, which are due to begin launching in the first quarter of 2012. More →

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Verizon hops on ban-wagon, blocks unauthorized tetherers

By on August 8, 2011 at 3:50 PM.

Verizon hops on ban-wagon, blocks unauthorized tetherers

Verizon Wireless is seemingly following AT&T’s lead and taking action against subscribers who make use of unauthorized tethering apps. ReadWriteWeb reports that one of its writers was using a “jailbroken tethered Verizon Motorola X” with an unauthorized third-party app, rather than paying for Verizon Wireless’ mobile hotspot solution as its contract terms require. According to the report, the writer was blocked from accessing webpages on devices tethered to her DROID X on Friday, and was instead redirected to a Verizon Wireless page outlining rates for authorized mobile hotspot usage. Last week, AT&T confirmed to BGR that it would soon begin to revoke unlimited smartphone data plans from users who used third-party apps to share their smartphone’s data connection with other devices. Verizon seems to have taken a slightly less abrasive approach, though the outcome is the same: carriers want customers to stop abusing their congested data networks, and AT&T and Verizon are apparently done asking politely. More →

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Non-Apple tablet shipments to rocket 134% in 2012

By on August 8, 2011 at 2:39 PM.

Non-Apple tablet shipments to rocket 134% in 2012

Non-Apple tablet shipments are expected to grow as much as 134% year-on-year in 2012, DigiTimes reported on Monday. That’s larger than the 55% shipment boost Apple’s iPad is expected to see next year. Android will be the catalyst for the growth; analysts predict that 19-20 million Android tablets will ship this year and that a far greater 44-45 million will ship during 2012 thanks to the introduction of Ice Cream Sandwich. The tablets will likely be powered by new chips from NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments. Apple is expected to ship 35-36 million iPad tablets this year and analysts project that it will move as many as 54-55 million next year. Those figures sound about right to us. In its fiscal third-quarter earnings statement Apple announced that it had sold 9.25 million iPads during the quarter. More →

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Microsoft's Windows Phone GM quits to launch own company

By on August 8, 2011 at 1:30 PM.

Microsoft's Windows Phone GM quits to launch own company

Microsoft’s General Manager of the Windows Phone Developer Experience on Monday announced that he is leaving Microsoft to launch a start up. Kindel did not share the details of his new endeavor, and his public profile on networking site LinkedIn lists him as Founder and CTO of <redacted> at A super secret stealth startup. “[The start up] has to do with sports, advertising, mobile, social-networking, and, of course, the cloud,” Kindel wrote in a post on his personal blog. “I’m insanely excited to get started.” The soon-to-be former executive was with Microsoft for 21 years, having joined the Redmond-based company’s developer support group in 1990. Kindel’s full email to his team regarding the decision follows below. More →

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Apple's iPad will still dominate tablet market after a decade, Needham says

By on August 8, 2011 at 12:15 PM.

Apple's iPad will still dominate tablet market after a decade, Needham says

Apple’s popular iPad line will still dominate the consumer tablet market a full decade after its initial launch, according to one analyst. In a new report, Needham analyst Charlie Wolf sees the iPad’s share of consumer tablet shipments declining gradually over the next nine years to 60% in 2020. 60%, of course, is still an overwhelming share of the market. Future tablets are more likely to steal market share from each other rather than from the iPad, the analyst explains, noting that competitive offerings to date have been greeted by consumers with “a yawn and lackluster sales.” Wolf sees iPad shipments reaching 35.61 million units in 2011, up 137.4% from last year and representing 85% of all tablets shipped. In 2012, iPad shipments will grow to 54.3 million units according to Wolf’s model, and shipments will hit 72.66 million units in 2013. The analyst sees iPad shipments reaching nearly 140 million units in 2020, representing 60% of all tablets shipped that year and accounting for $53 billion in revenue and $16 billion in profit despite an average selling price that will have dropped to $377 from $630 in 2010. Wolf’s 10-year iPad projections follow below. More →

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RIM's first QNX phone revealed: BlackBerry Colt to launch in Q1 2012

By on August 8, 2011 at 10:40 AM.

RIM's first QNX phone revealed: BlackBerry Colt to launch in Q1 2012

While Research In Motion just recently announced its new BlackBerry 7 device lineup — including the fantastic BlackBerry Bold 9900 — we all know that the real-deal smartphones are still in the oven. What everyone is waiting on from RIM is the company’s QNX-based devices, which we hope will make RIM competitive in the smartphone industry once again. BGR has learned exclusive details surrounding the first QNX smartphone RIM intends to release, which is codenamed the BlackBerry Colt, and it looks like there are already going to be some compromises the company will have to make in order to launch the smartphone on schedule. Hit the break for all the details we have so far. More →

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Apple sued over OS X fast boot feature

By on August 8, 2011 at 9:45 AM.

Apple sued over OS X fast boot feature

Florida-based Operating Systems Solutions has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. OSS is alleging that the Cupertino-based firm’s Mac OS X fast-boot feature infringes on one of its patents relating to a “method for quick booting an OS.” More specifically, the lawsuit says Apple infringes on:

A method for fast booting a computer system, comprising the steps of: A. performing a power on self test (POST) of basic input output system (BIOS) when the system is powered on or reset is requested; B. checking whether a boot configuration information including a system booting state which was created while executing a previous normal booting process exists or not; C. storing the boot configuration information from execution of the POST operation before loading a graphic interface (GUI) program, based on the checking result; and D. loading the graphic user interface (GUI) program.

LG Electronics was originally granted the patent in 2002 and Patently Apple said the patent was then reissued to a company named Promitus Technologies LLC in 2008. It remains unclear how Operating Systems Solutions obtained the patent, or if LG or Promitus Technologies are involved in the lawsuit in any way. More →

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