Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘siri’ Category

Summoning Siri

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Apple apparently thinks it can improve upon its extremely popular wireless AirPods headphones. 

Bloomberg is s that the company is working on a new version for release as soon as this year which has an upgraded wireless chip, and another model next year that makes the headphones water resistant.

This year’s update will allegedly allow one to summon Siri’s digital assistant without physically tapping the headphones by instead saying, “Hey Siri.”

To which I would say, can I ask it to refer me over to “Google Assistant.”

I’m all for improved hardware, but IMHO, Apple needs to be focusing much more attention on the software side of things, and specifically, having Siri continue her education to train up to better respond to what are increasingly table stake queries.

Don’t get me wrong — I love me some AirPods, and don’t know how I got along without them for so long.  All those wires, all those times I was on my bike tangling up and dropping my phone. Love me no wires!

But Apple, please, do yourself a favor and make Siri smarter before worrying so much about whether or not I have to tap my AirPods to summon her! Because if she doesn’t get smarter and soon, there won’t be any reason to say, “HEY, SIRI!”

Written by turbotodd

February 22, 2018 at 9:47 am

Posted in 2018, AI, airpods, apple, siri

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Apple 2017 WWDC Opening Keynote: What Does It All Mean?

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There was a lot to absorb today in the opening 2+ hour keynote from Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in San Jose, CA.

There are plenty of blog posts that are deconstructing the individual pieces and all the speeds and feeds. As a longtime, but skeptical, Apple fanboy, I thought I’d throw in my two cents…

  • Apple HomePod. Is it a “breakthrough home speaker” or is it Apple’s answer to the home assistant market from which it has been conspicuously absent?  Yes, and yes.  But it’s not about the speaker, nor does it seem to be about Apple’s home assistant. It’s somewhere in between, and with Google Home and Amazon Echoes and Taps flying off the shelves, and introducing new capabilities almost daily, Apple has a LOT of catching up to do here.
  • A new and invigorated Siri…hopefully. — Let’s face it, aside from IBM Watson, Siri was one of the first faces of a common AI. But AI seems to have taken a a few gap years, and certainly hasn’t exactly been studying for the GMAT or LSATs. We did see some new Siri capabilities with iOS 11 today (a more proactive, Google Assistant-like-orientation vis a vis the Apple Watch), a new male voice, and some cool language translation betas. But I, for one, expected to hear more about the newer and smarter Siri.
  • The ARKit Future. Apple’s new augmented reality feature in iOS 11, ARKit, is probably the most exciting “new new” thing we saw on stage today from Apple. The Wingnut AR demo (Peter Jackson’s new AR company) absolutely killed it in terms of future AR direction, and the gaming potential alone could be HUGE. AR is the immediate future of our mobile augmented reality future, and ARKit could be one of the jumpstarters developers need to start to make it (almost) real.
  • Hang on to your MacBook Air. There was lots of advanced chatter about new MacBooks, and that’s just what we got: A new MacBook (it looks like an Air, but doesn’t have the name), new MacBook Pros, a new iMac, and even an iMac Pro. Oh yeah, and a 10.5 inch iPad Pro. Hang on to those vintage 2011-2012 MacBook Airs — you might be able to sell them to desperate MBA loyalists in a few years.
  • Amazon on the Apple TV. Not sure if this is just a strategic hedge against other TV set top players or a me, too, but the really interesting part of this could be the enhanced AI and voice capabilities, especially now that 3rd party developers will be able to write to it.
  • Making new time with the Apple Watch. Okay, I’m a sucker for gimmicks, so the new “Toy Story” character watch faces and animations — all over it. For fitness buffs, the new and improved Activity tracker could help you get rid of that expensive personal trainer, but the headline for the watch for me personally was using Siri’s contextual answers and suggestions (assuming Siri HAS been doing her homework).
  • iPad Multitasking Features. Apple realizes that to jump start iPad sales, it needs to better position the device as a full-on laptop/notebook replacement. To do that, it needs to continually show that the iPad can do more and faster. Today, it introduced several changes that make it easier to multitask, including a new dragging and dropping capability that allows one to move assets between two apps in Split View. Sounds arcane enough, but much needed, even if it was more “me, too” against the Mac OS desktop. Apple also showed off a new File System for iOS and an overhauled App Switcher that should up the ante on the iPod’s potential for taking over as “the” work machine (The new Apple Pencil capabilities, including marking up PDFs, will also help here).

I’ll be keeping an eye out for other reactions, particularly from developers. Apple pointed out the review time for newly-submitted App Store is down to 24 hours, and highlighted the fact that developers have been paid out over $70B U.S. since its launch in 2008, and on pace to deliver $10B+ this year alone. 

Written by turbotodd

June 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Apple Expected To Join Partnership On AI

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Apple Inc. is set to join the Partnership on AI, an artificial intelligence research group that includes Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc. IBM, and Microsoft Corp., according to Bloomberg.

Despite having initiated somewhat of a lead on the rest of the industry with the introduction of the Siri virtual assistant in 2011, poor Siri seems to have been held back in AI school.

The Partneship on AI is a tech industry body that was established to agree on best practices in the use of artificial intelligence. It was formed in September, with part of its brief to make recommendations in the areas of ethics, fairness, inclusivity, privacy and trustworthiness

Apple’s admission into the group could be announced as soon as this week, according to people familiar with the situation.

9to5 Mac suggests Apple’s reluctance to join may have been prompted by secrecy concerns. In addition to its ethics focus, the group has an emphasis on collaboration between researchers working for different companies.

Siri, fingers crossed…Siri, did you hear me?…SIRI!???!!!!

Written by turbotodd

January 26, 2017 at 8:12 am

Posted in 2017, AI, apple, siri

iPhone 5 Highway Robbery

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So I followed some of the liveblogging for the Apple announcements earlier today, with the Apple iPhone 5 being the headline announcement.

I hope to later go back and watch the video webcast, as much interested in the theater of it as the details.

Overall, I walked away with the impression that it was a relatively impressive update from the iPhone 4, but I wasn’t convinced it was enough to compel people to upgrade.

I mentioned in a post a while back I’ve gone native, now using a “dumb phone” (an LG), because I had left AT&T, toyed with an Android on Virgin Mobile, before deciding on the LG dumb phone primarily for phone usage.

I still have my iPhone 4, which I use sometime for checking email and calendar, and reading or watching a movie on plane rides, but because I’m not as mobile as I used to be (not traveling as much), I didn’t feel compelled to need a smartphone.

Back to the 5. I didn’t see a compelling reason to upgrade with the new features — the bigger 4″ screen, the thinner form factor, LTE support, the new camera (including the admittedly cool panorama mode).

But just for grins, I clicked on the Apple application that let me checked what it would cost to go ahead and upgrade ahead of my current pre-rebate date (the date for which I could upgrade with the device actually being subsidized by Verizon).

Here’s what I found in the graphic you see here…hold on for the sticker shock:

I couldn’t get into a 5 for less than $649 until December 9, 2013…by that time, I suspect there will be an iPhone 6.

Even jumping back to the 4 would cost me $375!!!

And therein lies my distaste with the current mobile phone economics in these United States.

Hey, if I was traveling all the time and depending on those services the iPhone could offer remotely, I would consider it.

But recognizing I have other devices (the iPhone 4 using wi-fi, an Android tablet AND an iPad), no way, no how.

I suspect many Apple fan boys and girls will pay the pre-rebate price, and more power to them.

But my money would be better invested in a new mini iPad (apparently coming in October) or even the new iPod Touches also announced today.

But if you get an iPhone 5, be sure to give me a demo the next time you see me.

Written by turbotodd

September 12, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Impressions From SXSW 2012: “Conversational Commerce” with Opus Research’ Dan Miller

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If you want to better understand the looming intersection between voice recognition and artificial intelligence, you don’t want to talk to HAL from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” or even IBM’s Watson.

You want to speak with Opus Research analyst and co-founder, Dan Miller, which is precisely what Scott Laningham and I did recently at SXSW Interactive 2012.

Dan has spent his 20+ year career focused on marketing, business development, and corporate strategy for telecom service providers, computer manufacturers, and application software developers.

He founded Opus Research in 1985, and helped define the Conversational Access Technologies marketplace by authoring scores of reports, advisories, and newsletters addressing business opportunities that reside where automated speech leverages Web services, mobility, and enterprise software infrastructure.

If you’re thinking about things like Siri, or voice biometrics identification, or the opportunity that your voice response unit has for automating marketing touches, then Dan’s your man.

We spent a good 10 minutes talking with Dan about the idea behind “conversational commerce,”  and how important user authentication becomes in a world where the professional and personal are increasingly intertwined, and where IT staffs everywhere are suddenly confronted with new requirements brought about by the “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Device) movement into the enterprise.

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