Tag Archives: apple news

Apple Working With Shazam on Song Identification Capabilities for iOS 8

ituneslogo.jpgApple is working on a song identification feature as a new addition to iOS 8, reports Bloomberg. The company has plans to partner with music discovery service Shazam to offer users a way to discover a song that is playing on the radio or from another source, such as a TV, using a small music clip.
The company is planning to unveil a song-discovery feature in an update of its iOS mobile software that will let users identify a song and its artist using an iPhone or iPad, said two people with knowledge of the product, who asked not to be identified because the feature isn’t public. Apple is partnering with Shazam Entertainment Ltd., whose technology can quickly spot what’s playing by collecting sound from a phone’s microphone and matching it against a song database.
Along with Shazam, several other apps, including SoundHound, offer music and media identification capabilities. The apps use the iPhone’s microphone to listen to short sound clips, matching songs against a database and providing additional information like lyrics and purchase links.

Shazam is also capable of recognizing television shows and other media, so it is possible Apple’s iOS identification feature could offer similar capabilities. According to Bloomberg, the feature will be directly integrated into iOS and will not need to be downloaded as a standalone app. It will function with Siri, allowing users to ask what song is playing.
The song-identification feature will be integrated into the mobile software in the same way that Twitter Inc.’s service is currently incorporated, meaning consumers don’t need to separately download it. Among the ways it can be used will be through Apple's voice-activated search feature, Siri. An iPhone user will be able to say something like "what song is playing," to find out the tune’s details, one person said.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Apple has plans to revamp its iTunes music store in order to boost flagging digital music sales. The company is said to be considering iTunes for Android and an on-demand streaming music service similar to Spotify. A song identification feature could be released as part of the same iTunes overhaul, and it’s also possible that high resolution song downloads are in the works.


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Yahoo Wants to Be Apple’s Default iOS Search Engine

YahooYahoo is working on two internal projects to optimize its mobile search and monetization in order to convince Apple to make Yahoo the default search engine on iOS reports Re/code.

The WSJ reported last year that Apple and Yahoo had been in discussions of how to integrate Yahoo's services more prominently in iOS, beyond powering the Weather and Stocks apps.

The report says Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is preparing detailed presentations to present to Apple executives showing what its new mobile search product could look like. There are a pair of internal projects, code-named "Fast Break" and "Curveball", that are part of Yahoo's redesign of its mobile search engine.
That has not happened as yet officially — it’s just the big honking goal of the Yahoo effort, said sources. Still, several said Mayer has already buttonholed a few Apple executives on the topic, including its powerful SVP of design Jony Ive, who knows the former Google exec well.

“This is the aim of the whole effort here, to grab the pole position in iOS search,” said one person working on the effort. “It will take more than pretty pictures though to convince Apple to give up Google, given its focus on consumer experience being top-notch. But Marissa wants it very badly.”
Currently, Yahoo and Microsoft are in the midst of a 10-year search and advertising partnership, something Mayer is trying to get out of. At the same time, Microsoft's Bing provides the backend for Apple's Siri web search feature. Google is the default search engine in the Safari iOS browser, with Yahoo and Bing available as user-selectable options. Apple already replaced Google's Maps app with its own mapping application as default.

According to the Re/code report, a new and expanded agreement between Apple and Yahoo is not imminent -- Apple has yet to be pitched on the new products. Instead, it's part of a longer term play to bring the two companies closer together.


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Google’s ‘Project Tango’ Smartphone Uses Apple’s PrimeSense Technology

Earlier this year, Google unveiled "Project Tango," an experimental smartphone that incorporates 3D sensors to allow users to map indoor and outdoor environments.

Reports suggested that the smartphone's 3D capabilities were powered by the Movidius Myriad 1 3D-sensing chip, but as it turns out, Project Tango is also powered by Apple technology. Alongside two Myriad 1 vision co-processors, Project Tango utilizes a PrimeSense Capri PS1200 3D imaging system-on-a-chip [PDF], technology that Apple acquired when it purchased PrimeSense late last year.

primesensecaprips1200
The unexpected PrimeSense chip was discovered in a teardown of the Project Tango smartphone by iFixit that was posted this morning.
This appears to be PrimeSense's new Capri PS1200 SoC 3D imaging chip, unexpected for a couple of reasons:

Just last year, Apple bought PrimeSense, manufacturer of the Kinect's 3D vision hardware. Speculators assumed we would be seeing this hot new hardware in an upcoming iOS device, with intent of mapping 3D spaces. Looks like Tango beat Apple to the punch with their own tech?
Google's Project Tango smartphone is one of the first mobile devices to use the diminutive Capri 3D sensor and it offers a glimpse at what Apple could possibly do with the technology in the future.

Project Tango is essentially a mapping tool, capturing the world around each user to provide directions, dimensions, and environmental maps. Google also has plans to use the technology to create immersive augmented reality games and apps that merge the digital world with the real world.

According to iFixit, Project Tango works very similarly to the original Microsoft Kinect, which also used technology developed by PrimeSense. Tango displays a bright grid of dots that are captured by IR sensors to build a depth map.

tango
Along with the Capri 3D chip and the Myriad vision co-processors, Project Tango incorporates four separate cameras to capture its environment. Amazon is said to be working on a similar device that incorporates multiple cameras for 3D mapping and with Google and Amazon both working on 3D projects, it is reasonable to assume that Apple is also experimenting with the technology.

There have been no hints that Apple intends to incorporate PrimeSense technology in the upcoming iPhone 6, but motion control capabilities similar to the Kinect have been rumored for the next-generation Apple TV set-top box, so the first Apple device to use PrimeSense technology may very well be the Apple TV. Project Tango proves that PrimeSense's 3D chips are ready for mobile devices and it is likely that the company is continuing development on its Capri chips, improving the technology for possible inclusion in future iPads and iPhones.



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Hyundai Bringing CarPlay to 2015 Sonata Models Later This Year

Hyundai today announced that it will bring Apple's CarPlay technology to its Sonata automobile lineup starting next year. This introduction makes Hyundai the first volume automobile manufacturer to bring CarPlay to the market and leaves Honda as the only one of five brands featured by Apple as launching CarPlay support in 2014 yet to make a specific announcement.

hyundai_carplay
The first Hyundai automobiles to offer the voice-driven system will be the company's popular Sonata line. Models that are equipped with the CarPlay-compatible navigation systems will debut later in the 2015 model year.
Hyundai’s latest Audio Video Navigation (AVN) systems are already recognized for their beautiful, yet intuitive interface and advanced feature set. Our engineers took advantage of the vivid eight-inch touchscreen to integrate CarPlay for an experience that iPhone users will instantly recognize.
CarPlay allows an iPhone to integrate into the car's infotainment system, providing Siri voice-controlled access to messaging, voice calls, Maps and music. The technology initially debuted as a factory-installed option in new 2014 luxury models from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo and will be available as an aftermarket add-on via Pioneer and Alpine-branded receivers.


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Another Alleged iPhone 6 Case Surfaces with Cutouts for Moved Power Button, New Volume Controls

New photos showing what appears to be another case for Apple's larger-screen iPhone 6 have been posted by Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translate]. While details about the case's exact length are unknown, the images are said to have come from a Chinese accessory maker and show a case designed for the next-generation iPhone, similar to cases pictured last week and those on display at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair yesterday.

iphone_6_silicon_1
The case feature slightly rounded edges, similar to the design of the iPhone 5c and consistent with design drawings said to be for the iPhone 6. Like other cases and in line with a claim from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the case also includes a hole for a button along the upper right side of the device, which may be the new location of the power button. Rectangular volume control buttons similar to the fifth-generation iPod Touch are also notably present.

iphone_6_silicon_2_annotated
Rectangular volume (1) and right side power (2) cutouts (Annotated by Nowhereelse.fr)

Apple's iPhone 6 is expected to launch in two sizes of 4.7 and 5.5 inches. The majority of leaks so far have depicted the 4.7-inch version, as it is reportedly on track for a release this fall. Apple is said to have been running into production issues with the 5.5-inch version, with that model likely seeing a release later this year or early next year.

Along with a larger screen, Apple's next-generation iPhone is expected to include a thinner profile, upgraded A8 processor, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and an improved camera featuring optical image stabilization. A report earlier this week from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek also claimed that Apple is negotiating with carriers to increase the price of the iPhone 6 by $100.


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Apple and Other Smartphone Makers Back Global Anti-Theft Measures

Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia and Samsung have announced a voluntary agreement to include anti-theft technology on all smartphones beginning next year, according to a report by Re/code.

The pledge has device makers agreeing that all devices going on sale after July of 2015 will have capabilities to remotely wipe data and to prevent the device from being reactivated without the owner's permission.

ios7_activation_lock
A number of state and local lawmakers praised the agreement, though it was panned as inadequate by California state Sen. Mark Leno, who has proposed a mandatory kill-switch law.

“The wireless industry today has taken an incremental yet inadequate step to address the epidemic of smartphone theft,” Leno said in a statement. “Only weeks ago, they claimed that the approach they are taking today was infeasible and counterproductive. While I am encouraged they are moving off of that position so quickly, today’s ‘opt-in’ proposal misses the mark if the ultimate goal is to combat street crime and violent thefts involving smartphones and tablets.”
The senator pointed out that all smartphones must have similar kill switch features, or violent street crime and thefts will continue to occur as at least some of the device thefts will still be profitable.

A federal bill introduced earlier this year would mandate the inclusion of such a smartphone "kill switch" after California introduced a similar bill.

It is likely that Apple's Activation Lock, introduced alongside iOS 7, satisfies the requirements of the agreement already. Activation Lock effectively disables a stolen smartphone by preventing it from being wiped and reactivated without an Apple ID and password. Apple's Find My iPhone also allows for devices to be remotely wiped and locked.


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iPhone 6 Mockups and Case Designs on Display at Hong Kong Electronics Fair

As we progress further into 2014, iPhone 6 rumors have begun to pick up, with case designs, schematics, molds, and alleged iPhone parts surfacing over the past few weeks to give hints at what Apple's larger iPhone might look like.

Today Japanese site Mac Otakara [Google Translation] (via 9to5Mac) has shared some additional images of iPhone 6 mockups and accessories being displayed in several different booths at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair.

One image shows a physical iPhone 6 mockup that has allegedly been used to create cases for the next version of the iPhone next to an iPhone case made using the dummy version.

iphone6dummy
While few details can be gleaned from the model, it does appear to be larger in size with rectangular volume buttons and a sleep/wake power button on the right hand side of the device, which is in line with some previous rumors. It also possesses a round camera flash, as was described in schematics that leaked in March.

iphone6dummy2
The site has also published a video displaying some lightning cables aimed at the iPhone 6 as well as a close-up look at the iPhone 6 mockup.


It is unclear whether the mockups and the cases are representative of the actual iPhone 6, but thus far, the iPhone 6 leaks coming out of Asia have all shared many of the same design similarities outlined above.

Apple's iPhone 6 is expected to come in two sizes, at 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. The majority of leaks we have seen so far have depicted the 4.7-inch version, as it is said to be in production for a September or October release. The 5.5 version has seen some production delays, which could see it being released later in 2014 or in early 2015.

In addition to two display sizes, the iPhone 6 is expected to include an upgraded A8 processor, camera improvements in the form of optical image stabilization, slimmer bezels, a thinner chassis, and Touch ID support.


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