Apple has updated an earlier lawsuit filed against Samsung with claims that the Galaxy S4 and its Google Now feature violate two Apple patents covering functions of its own virtual personal assistant, Siri. Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents relayed news of the updated complaint on Wednesday, and he noted that two of the patents — U.S. Patent 8,086,604, and U.S. Patent 6,846,959 — cover technologies related to Siri. Both filings describe a “universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system.” Apple also added three more patents to its earlier complaint that are not related to Siri, according to the report.
A recent study suggesting that Siri and other voice-to-text services are just as dangerous to use while driving as traditional text messing is seriously flawed, according to one of Siri’s co-creators. The study, conducted recently by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University, found that drivers who were texting took about twice as long to react as drivers concentrating only on the road. The delayed reaction times were roughly the same for drivers using Siri, but the service’s co-inventor Adam Cheyer argues that the study “seems to have misunderstood how Siri was designed to be used.” More →
A new study from the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University found that using a voice-to-text feature such as Siri to send messages while driving is just as dangerous as texting. Researchers found that both methods significantly delayed a driver’s response time. The study involved 43 participants who were required to drive along a test track while concentrating only on driving, and then repeat the task once while texting and again time using a voice-to-text feature on a smartphone. More →
In line with reports from late last year, a new job posting on Apple’s (AAPL) website suggests the company plans to bring Siri functionality to its desktop operating system. First introduced with the iPhone 4S, Siri combines voice recognition with enhanced search features to create a virtual personal assistant of sorts. Siri is currently available only on iOS devices, but Apple’s “Siri UI Engineer” job listing specifically seeks programmers possessing “familiarity with Unix, especially Mac OS X,” who have a “passion for the Macintosh platform and writing simple, elegant software that is easy and fun to use.” Rumors suggest Siri could become available on Macs in the next major OS X release, OS X 10.9, which is expected to launch later this year.
Since the release of the iPhone 4S, Apple (AAPL) has touted its intelligent voice assistant Siri as a key feature of the iOS ecosystem. The startup company behind the app originally launched Siri as standalone program on the App Store and had plans to release Android and BlackBerry versions in the future. Siri was quickly acquired by Apple, however, and plans to expand the app were cancelled. More →
Apple (AAPL) is apparently looking to give Siri a personality boost. 9to5Mac has found a new Apple job posting looking for “a uniquely creative individual to help us evolve and enrich Siri” for future updates. More specifically, Apple wants to hire “someone who combines a love for language, wordplay, and conversation with demonstrated experience in bringing creative content to life within an intense technical environment.” The post notes that Siri is “known for ‘her’ wit, cultural knowledge, and zeal to explain things in engaging, funny, and practical ways,” so it’s safe to assume that the new hire will be responsible for enhancing those aspects of Siri’s “personality.” The real question, though, is whether Apple can make Siri realistic enough to date Notre Dame linebacker Manti T’eo.
The holidays are over, but if you find yourself the owner of an iOS device with Siri and a Raspberry Pi computer, you can combine the two to automatically open up your garage door with this cool little hack by “DarkTherapy.” Using “SiriProxy running on the Raspberry Pi, along with wiringPi to access the Pi’s GPIO pins and turn a relay on/off,” DarkTherapy was able to upgrade his iPhone 5’s personal assistant with a nifty new skill — the ability to open garage doors. Brave geeks can head over to DarkTherapy’s forum post for instructions on the hack and a video of Siri the butler opening a garage door follows below.
It’s not the mythical iCar, but it’ll suffice for drivers who have long dreamed of talking to their car. General Motors (GM) announced on Tuesday at the Los Angeles International Auto Show it will be the first of nine automakers to integrate Apple’s (AAPL) “Eyes Free” feature that adds one-button Siri functionality from the car’s steering wheel. The first cars with Siri integration will be the Chevrolet Sonic LTZ and RS as well as the Spark 1LT and 2LT. More →
Let’s face it — TV is boring. Not the 57 Channels and Nothin’ On kind of boring, the kind of boring you experience when you’ve been using the same old technology for far too long. It’s always the same story: a flat panel on a wall or table, a viewer on a couch and a remote control that connects them. Sure, remotes have changed over the years but regardless of how many buttons or touchscreens you slap on them, the way users interact with their televisions is the same. And that’s why Apple’s (AAPL) upcoming reentry into the living room is so compelling. More →
Whether Siri is ready or not, Apple’s (AAPL) virtual assistant is the future. Although OS X 10.9 is still largely a mystery outside of a few Web sightings, 9to5Mac reports early builds of the next Mac operating system could see Siri and the widely criticized Maps app baked in. The Apple blog says it’s unsure if the two features will make it past the early testing stages and says if they do, they could be features Apple only supports on brand-new Macs. OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion’s Dictation is believed to be a hint that Siri is on its way, much like how the third-generation iPad only had dictation at launch but was later gifted with Siri in iOS 6. If the rumors of Apple moving OS X towards an annual release schedule are true, 10.9 could be pushed out by the end of summer next year.
iOS 6 gave Siri the ability to track sports, look up movies and ratings, launch apps and make restaurant reservations. The update was a step in the right direction to fleshing out Siri’s capabilities, but there’s still a long ways to go before Apple’s (AAPL) personal assistant becomes more than just a novel gimmick. According to 9to5Mac, developers who are testing iOS 6.1 have discovered that Siri will be have the ability to help you purchase movie tickets through Fandango. The solution is somewhat half-baked, though, as Siri will only bring up showtimes and a purchase button, but the final checkout for the tickets is routed through the Fandango app. In the end, you still need to use the Fandango app, anyway. 9to5Mac says the feature appears to be U.S. only and will only work at select movie theaters.
Gizmodo decided pit Apple’s (AAPL) Siri against Google’s (GOOG) new iOS Voice Search application in a speed test, and the results were not pretty for Siri. Although Gizmodo found neither voice search app to be perfect, it said overall that Google’s app “came up with a quicker response almost every time, was more accurate, and frankly sounded much less grating than Siri.” In a video of the speed test, it’s clear to see that Google Voice Search almost instantly comes up with responses to questions while Siri takes at least a couple of seconds to “think” before coming up with its reply. Google first released its Voice Search app for iOS last week, marking the first time the company had ever released an app for the iPhone capable of directly taking on Siri’s functionality. Gizmodo’s full video is posted below. More →
Apple (AAPL) is in the news for the second time in two weeks for hiring another top employee from a competing company. According to AllThingsD, Apple has hired Amazon (AMZN) executive and head of search William Stasior to fill the void left by Siri co-founder Adam Cheyer when he left last month. AllThingsD says that Stasior could end up “strengthening Apple’s search and search advertising technology in the wake of its increasing competition with Google.” Despite the fact that Siri is now more intelligent in iOS 6, it’s still a beta service that’s been criticized by the likes of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak for being worse after the Cupertino-based company acquired it. More →