Category Archives: iOS

Facebook Pulling Chat Functionality From Mobile App

As reported by TechCrunch, Facebook will be removing the messaging functionality from its mobile app over the next few days, requiring users to download its Messenger app in order to chat on-the-go.

Source: TechCrunch
Source: TechCrunch

Facebook first started requiring users in Europe to use Messenger back in April, but after seeing “positive results” in terms of engagement, its rolling out the plan to the everyone. Facebook tells me people on Messenger reply about 20% faster, and not supporting multiple version of mobile chat will help it make both its main apps and Messenger better.

Previously, users had the option of downloading the Messenger app as a companion to Facebook’s flagship mobile app, but with the change, it appears that this would now be mandatory for users interested in chatting with others while on the road.

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Apple and IBM Announce Landmark Deal To Transform Enterprise Mobility

Apple on Tuesday announced a partnership with fellow tech giant IBM to revolutionise enterprise mobility through a new class of business apps tailored specifically for the iPhone and iPad.

The landmark partnership aims to redefine the way work will get done, address key industry mobility challenges and spark true mobile-led business change—grounded in four core capabilities:

  • a new class of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed exclusively from the ground up, for iPhone and iPad;
  • unique IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics and mobile integration;
  • new AppleCare® service and support offering tailored to the needs of the enterprise;  and
  • new packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.

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Apple Launches New Developer Blog for Swift

Apple yesterday launched a developer blog covering its new Swift programming language, in a move aimed at promoting greater collaboration with developers.

This new blog will bring you a behind-the-scenes look into the design of the Swift language by the engineers who created it, in addition to the latest news and hints to turn you into a productive Swift programmer.

Get started with Swift by downloading Xcode 6 beta, now available to all Registered Apple Developers for free. The Swift Resources tab has a ton of great links to videos, documentation, books, and sample code to help you become one of the world’s first Swift experts. There’s never been a better time to get coding!

- The Swift Team

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Over 24 Million Cars Could be Fitted with CarPlay by 2019, New Report Claims

Market research and intelligence firm ABI Research has forecasted that Apple’s CarPlay technology could be in over 24 million cars by 2019, according to a new research note released yesterday.

With so many supporting CarPlay, ABI Research forecasts that in 2019 over 24 million new cars will be fitted with CarPlay. As well as CarPlay, ABI Research believes that the uptake of MirrorLink will also be fairly significant but predicts that more cars will be fitted with CarPlay.

The firm’s optimism is derived mainly from the popularity of the iPhone and also the large number of carmakers that Apple has gotten on board with the technology.

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Chinese Court Rules Against Apple in Voice Recognition Patent Suit

Apple suffered a legal setback earlier this week after a Beijing court upheld a Chinese company’s patent related to a voice-controlled assistant, Xiao I, which Apple had attempted to invalidate in favour of Siri. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Apple had sued China’s Patent Review Committee and the Shanghai Zhizhen Network Technology Co. at the end of 2013, asking the court to determine if Zhizhen’s patent over “a type of chat robot system” was valid. On Tuesday, Beijing’s No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court upheld Zhizhen’s 2006 patent for its “Little I Robot” voice-controlled assistant, according toChina’s official Xinhua news agency.

Apple’s lawsuit was a counteroffensive to Zhizhen’s 2012 claim that Siri had infringed its patent, which had been awarded to the Chinese company in 2006 by China’s Patent Review Committee.

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Senior Maps Engineer Reportedly Leaving Apple for Uber

Apple has reportedly lost a senior engineer of its Map team to transportation networking start-up Uber, according to an article published by tech site The Information earlier this week.

Uber has poached Chris Blumenberg, a senior engineering manager who worked on Apple Maps, according to three people familiar with the move. Blumenberg was one of the first engineers to work on the iPhone software and was a senior leader on Apple’s iOS team.

Blumenberg was part of the original team that built the first Maps application for the iPhone, and prior to that, was one of the leading engineers behind Safari for OS X.

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Apple Remains Top Smartphone Manufacturer Among Consumers in U.S.

Apple is still the top smartphone manufacturer in the United States with a 41.9% market share, according to the latest statistics from American Internet analytics company comScore, Inc.

comScore, Inc., a leader in measuring the digital world, today released data from comScore MobiLens and Mobile Metrix, reporting key trends in the U.S. smartphone industry for May 2014. Apple ranked as the top smartphone manufacturer with 41.9 percent OEM market share, while Google Android led as the #1 smartphone platform with 52.1 percent platform market share. Facebook ranked as the top individual smartphone app.

As seen from the table below, Apple leads other Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) including Samsung and LG, which registered 27.8% and 6.5% market shares respectively. The data is based on a 3-month average for the period ending May 2014.

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Facebook Messenger Finally Arrives on iPad

Three years after the debut of its Messenger app for iPhone, Facebook has finally added an iPad version, making it available on the App Store beginning today.

The iPad app contains all of the features present in the iPhone app, including stickers and voice calls, albeit with a scaled-up user interface. The app utilises a two column interface comprising the user’s chat list and messaging window side-by-side, presumably for easier navigation.

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Apple Expands CarPlay with 9 New Partners, Including Chrysler, Mazda and Fiat

Following German auto maker Audi’s recent announcement that it would be integrating CarPlay into its upcoming models, eight other carmakers have pledged support for the technology as well, according to Apple’s updated CarPlay site.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 9.15.50 am

The eight new carmakers are:

  • Abarth
  • Alfa Romeo
  • Chrysler
  • Dodge
  • Fiat
  • Jeep
  • Mazda
  • Ram

CarPlay is Apple’s new in-vehicle extended iOS functionality that allows any user to connect a Lightning-compatible iPhone and access the phone’s functions via the dashboard. These functions including making calls, receiving text messages and utilising Siri.

As of today, the following five automakers will be introducing new models in 2014 that support CarPlay: Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.

Earlier this year, consumer electronics manufacturers Pioneer and Alpine also announced upcoming aftermarket systems compatible with CarPlay. Currently, users have to rely on consoles that come pre-installed with existing models of vehicles that support the functionality.

Apple Reportedly Assembling In-House Speech Recognition Team to Develop Siri

Apple is pushing deeper into the field of artificial intelligence with a newly-assembled in-house speech recognition team, paving the way for a smarter and more functional Siri based on neural networking, according to a new Wired report.


Though Apple is famously secretive about its internal operations–and did not provide comment for this article–it seems that the company previously licensed voice recognition technology from Nuance—perhaps the best known speech recognition vendor. But those in the tight-knit community of artificial intelligence researchers believe this is about to change. It’s clear, they say, that Apple has formed its own speech recognition team and that a neural-net-boosted Siri is on the way.

Apple’s Siri has been said to heavily rely on speech recognition technology from Nuance Communications Inc, which, according to a recent Forbes article, is the “most advanced speech recognition company in the world”. Nuance has a acquired “nearly every small company working on the problem for the past couple of decades”.

According to the Wired report, the Cupertino giant is looking to reduce its dependence on Nuance and instead shift its speech recognition research in-house. Apple has apparently hired top researchers from both Microsoft and Nuance, in a bid to beef up its own in-house team.

Apple hired one of his top managers, Alex Acero, last year. Acero, now a senior director in Apple’s Siri group had put in nearly 20 years at Microsoft, researching speech technology. There he oversaw Li Deng and Dong Yu, the two Microsoft researcher who invited Geoff Hinton to that conference in British Columbia. Apple has also poached speech researchers from Nuance, including Siri Manager Gunnar Evermann. Another speech research hire: Arnab Ghoshal, a researcher from the University of Edinburgh.

Currently, Siri in iOS 8 still relies on Nuance-powered technology but with this recent development, it appears that we may be seeing some interesting upgrades to the voice-recognition assistant soon.