March 30, 2012

Users say Siri struggles in Japanese debut

By Josh Ong

Published: 10:00 PM EST (07:00 PM PST)
Apple added Japanese language support to Siri last week with the release of iOS 5.1, but some Japanese speakers are having trouble being understood by the voice assistant.

A video posted to YouTube shows a man performing a side-by-side Japanese comprehension comparison of Apple’s Siri and DoCoMo’s own voice-recognition feature Syabette Concier, as noted by Kotaku. Siri was able to understand basic commands, but it had difficulty registering more advanced requests.

For instance, when asked, “Is it cold outside?,” both Siri and Syabette Concier provided weather data. When the speaker said, “I have a stomach ache,” Siri did not understand, while Syabette offered information on the nearest hospital.

A request for tomorrow’s schedule was accurately responded to by Syabette, but Siri only understood the schedule part. Siri was unable to provide a map of Chigasaki because it is limited in the location data that it can call up outside the U.S. As a local Japanese solution, Syabette easily accessed the map.

Siri was also unable to handle a search for videos of a Japanese pop singer with a gibberish name, while Syabette had no problem with it. “Seems like Siri can only comprehend simple and universal Japanese,” the report noted.

According to the report, Apple’s virtual assistant was able to set an alarm, but it faltered on a tongue twister and a statement about cooking curry. Loading times were also longer on average for Siri than for Docomo’s version.

Apple telegraphed the arrival of Japanese Siri support last month when Siri began claiming that she could already speak the language. Last Wednesday’s release of iOS 5.1 on the heels of the iPad unveiling added a Japanese-speaking Siri to the iPhone 4S.

Some English speakers have also complained that Siri does not perform well for them. The software appears to have specific trouble with several regional accents or certain variants of non-native English.

Others have accused Apple of false advertising with its Siri commercials. An iPhone 4S owner from New York sued Apple on Monday with allegations that Siri is far less responsive and accurate than depicted in its commercials. For its part, Apple has covered some of its tracks by releasing Siri in beta mode and disclaiming that sequences had been shortened during its commercials.

Some voice-recognition experts have suggested that Apple needed to release a beta version of Siri to the public in order to acquire a volume of voice samples sufficient for refining the service.

Apple’s plans to expand Siri have included the hiring of new “Language Technologies Engineers” tasked with bringing new languages to the software and other cloud-based services.

AppleInsider

CEO Tim Cook Just Cashed $11.1 Million In Apple Stock

CEO Tim Cook Just Cashed $  11.1 Million In Apple Stock

Apple CEO Tim Cook cashed in on $ 11.1 million worth of Apple stock today, according to a filing with The Securities and Exchange Commission. 20,178 of Cook’s shares were sold off through a series of 5 transactions at various individual stock prices ranging from $ 547-$ 551.

Not a bad pay day.

Cook was given 1 million Apple shares last August. Half of the stocks will be available to him in August of 2016 and half in August of 2021, assuming he stays with the company.

AAPL stock is currently valued at $ 552/share, making Apple the most valuable company on earth.

[via iPhoneinCanada]

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Apple COO Tim Cook made $ 14MM in 2009

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a news contributor at Cult of Mac. He also covers jailbreak news and reviews. He previously served as an editor for iDownloadBlog. You can find out more about him on his personal site and also follow him on Twitter.

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CEO Tim Cook Just Cashed $11.1 Million In Apple Stock

CEO Tim Cook Just Cashed $  11.1 Million In Apple Stock

Apple CEO Tim Cook cashed in on $ 11.1 million worth of Apple stock today, according to a filing with The Securities and Exchange Commission. 20,178 of Cook’s shares were sold off through a series of 5 transactions at various individual stock prices ranging from $ 547-$ 551.

Not a bad pay day.

Cook was given 1 million Apple shares last August. Half of the stocks will be available to him in August of 2016 and half in August of 2021, assuming he stays with the company.

AAPL stock is currently valued at $ 552/share, making Apple the most valuable company on earth.

[via iPhoneinCanada]

DON’T MISS
Apple COO Tim Cook made $ 14MM in 2009

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a news contributor at Cult of Mac. He also covers jailbreak news and reviews. He previously served as an editor for iDownloadBlog. You can find out more about him on his personal site and also follow him on Twitter.

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Posted in News | Tagged: , , , |

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Springround Lets You Access Your iPhone’s Home Screen From Anywhere In iOS [Jailbreak]

Springround Lets You Access Your iPhone’s Home Screen From Anywhere In iOS [Jailbreak]Click here to see Cult of Mac's full jailbreak archives!

A new jailbreak tweak has been released, and it lets you access your Home screen from anywhere in iOS. It’s called Springround, and it costs $ 0.99 in Cydia, the jailbreak version of the App Store.

It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing on your iPhone; you can quickly view your entire Home screen, all your app pages, etc. on top of the app you’re currently in. Sound interesting?

Springround lets you launch and delete apps from your Home screen, search with Spotlight, rearrange your different pages, and manage iOS folders. It superimposes your Home screen on top of whatever you’re doing through a pre-set Activator action, such as double tapping the status bar or swiping in from the bottom left of the screen.

Springround Lets You Access Your iPhone’s Home Screen From Anywhere In iOS [Jailbreak]

The tweak’s settings are really simple. Visit your iPhone’s Settings app and you set the activation method and toggle the “Apps interaction” mode. Turning on “Apps interaction” will let you also use the app running in the background of your screen when Springround is enabled. This means that you can interact with an app while your Home screen is displayed above it.

Springround is interesting, but I’m not sure how functional it is for the average joe. I couldn’t find many use cases for the tweak while I was trying it out, but there will surely be some people out there that find it useful.

Do you think Springround is a neat tweak, or does it make the iOS experience too cluttered? Let us all know in the comments.

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This Is What The Equivalent Of SBSettings For Siri Would Look Like

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iPhone is fifth most popular in China

Apple would like to see better numbers overseas, but China is proving to be a tough market for Western corporations to crack.

All Things D is reporting that Samsung is still king of the hill in China, with Samsung products still earning triple the sales of the iPhone. China is the world’s biggest mobile market, and Apple wants more than the 7.5% share it is getting there so far. And the bad news doesn’t stop there: According to the latest reports,Apple’s share is actually diminishing.

Part of the reason Apple can’t get the traction it wants is that it refuses to make a deal with China’s largest telecom company, China Mobile Ltd. That’s going to be difficult, because China Mobile wants a share of App Store revenues, and that’s a non-starter for Apple. With the two mobile partners Apple currently has, it will never get access to more than about a third of China’s active cellular users. Someone will have to blink to make a deal, but so far it is a staring contest, and Apple remains in fifth place in sales.

Samsung, on the other hand, is on all three big networks in China, and is reaping the rewards.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Apple Expected To Sell Over 1 Million iPads This Friday [Report]

Apple Expected To Sell Over 1 Million iPads This Friday [Report]

The post-PC revolution is here.

Apple announced over the weekend that it had completely sold out of its pre-order stock for the new iPad, stating that demand for the new tablet is “off the charts.” Now analyst Gene Munster is predicting that Apple will sell over 1 million units during the new iPad launch this Friday, March 16th.

Munster says that if the average selling price of the new iPad is $ 650 (the different storage models and 4G versions need to be considered), Apple would net a cool $ 650 million on launch day. Considering it only costs Apple about $ 310 to make each iPad, that’s quite the profit margin.

The original iPad moved 300,000 units on its launch day back in 2010. Apple never gave official numbers for iPad 2 launch day sales, but analysts predicted between 500,000 and 1 million units sold during the opening weekend. More than 55 million iPads have been sold to date. Conservative estimates have predicted that Apple will sell at least 48 million iPads in 2012 alone.

Apple announced its third-generation iPad at an event in San Francisco, California last Wednesday, March 7th. The new iPad features a Retina display, faster hardware, better cameras, and 4G LTE networking. Tim Cook said that Apple is leading the “post-PC revolution” with products like the iPhone and iPad, and sales numbers indicate that he is right.

[via CNET]

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Report: Apple to Sell 200K-300K iPads this Weekend

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Baby Monkey devs Kihon get involved in Dojo Danger

It might be embarrassing to say, but I am a big fan of Kihon Games’ first title Baby Monkey (going backwards on a pig). Yes, it’s a silly game based on Parry Gripp’s song of the same name, and yes, it’s a pretty typical endless runner title. But I like it nevertheless, and so when Kihon offered to show me their second iOS title last week at GDC, I gladly assented.

Turns out Baby Monkey was a trial, more or less. Kihon is a fairly new company (they’ve got seven employees so far) that was looking to dip its toe in iOS development, and Baby Monkey was the first result. Now that the water’s been tested, however, they’re ready to jump in, and they’ll do that with a second title called Dojo Danger.

Dojo Danger is a little more complicated than Baby Monkey was, as you might imagine. The game is turn-based strategy, and plays somewhat similarly to The Game Bakers’ Squids — you get a team of players pitted against another team (in this case, it’s ninjas vs. zombies), and during each turn, you use a little slingshot mechanic on each round player to fling them across the board and try to do as much damage as possible.

Though the basic mechanics are simple, Dojo Danger will have a huge amount of content: There will be 50 level campaigns for each of the two factions, and fifteen different units for each as well. Those units won’t just vary in strength — some will have healing abilities or other special functions, and there will also be consumable items used to boost up the troops (and sold via in-app purchase, of course).

There will also be multiplayer available, both pass and play, and online asynchronous. Maps vary as well — some are just open battles, while others are a “Capture the Duck” variant (where you try to throw a duck into a goal on either side of the map), or have troops “frozen” on the field that need to be broken out of their ice blocks before being used.

Finally, Kihon’s business model for this one should be interesting — aside from the standard freemium purchases, the company is also planning to release new units every week, and sort of borrow the League of Legends model from Riot Games, where players will need to pay real money if they want to use those heroes right away. That should be interesting; obviously, balance will be an issue, but hopefully Kihon can make the profit they need without requiring players to buy specific units to win.

Dojo Danger definitely looks interesting — it’s gearing up for a beta test right now, and expected out later on this year from Kihon.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

iPhone owner sues Apple over Siri

Sure, Apple’s Siri voice assistant isn’t perfect. Sometimes there’s network connectivity problems, sometimes background voice interferes and sometimes Siri is just plain wrong. It’s for those reasons (and others) that Apple launched the service as a “beta.” Despite the beta tag, at least one iPhone customer is not happy with Siri and is taking Apple to court, says a Wall Street Journal report.

The suit was filed by Robbins Geller on the behalf of Brooklyn resident and iPhone 4S owner Frank M. Fazio. The lawsuit says Siri is “at best, a work-in-progress” and claims that Apple falsely advertised the service in its commercials. The complaint says,

In many of Apple’s television advertisements, individuals are shown using Siri to make appointments, find restaurants, and even learn the guitar chords to classic rock songs or how to tie a tie. In the commercials, all of these tasks are done with ease with the assistance of the iPhone 4S’s Siri feature, a represented functionality contrary to the actual operating results and performance of Siri.

The lawsuit asks for unspecified damages. As expected, Apple has not publicly responded to this complaint.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Epic Games thinks Apple could take on game consoles with iPad, Apple TV & controller

By Neil Hughes

Published: 04:13 PM EST (01:13 PM PST)
Epic Games, one of the top game developers for the iOS platform, believes that Apple could directly take on game consoles like Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3 if it were to develop a Bluetooth controller for the iPad.

With this Friday’s launch of the new iPad, Mike Capps, president of Epic Games, has been touting the power of Apple’s third-generation tablet. Capps was onstage at last week’s iPad unveiling, where he showed off a new title, “Infinity Blade: Dungeons,” which takes advantage of the graphics processing and Retina display of the new iPad.

Capps also took part in an interview with Reuters that was published on Monday, in which he spoke of the possibility of a Bluetooth controller being developed for the iPad. With a hypothetical controller combined with AirPlay and an Apple TV, he believes Apple could challenge Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation platforms for the home console gaming market.

“It’s quite easy to imagine a world where an iPad is more powerful than a home console, where it wirelessly talks to your TV and wirelessly talks to your controller and becomes your new console,” Capps said.

His comments are particularly interesting as Capps, on behalf of Epic Games, has appeared onstage at all three of Apple’s iPad media events. At last week’s unveiling, Apple also featured Namco Bandai to show off the graphics processing capabilities of the new iPad and its A5X chip, which features a quad-core graphics processor.

Capps boasted at last week’s event that the new iPad has a greater screen resolution than the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, thanks to Apple’s new high-resolution Retina display. The new iPad also has more memory on its custom processor, which is believed to feature a gigabyte of RAM.

Capps said the unveiling of the new iPad last week shows that Apple cares about the game market that has flourished on iOS devices thanks to the App Store. He said Apple is interested in bringing “triple-A,” high-quality games to its mobile devices.

Epic Games isn’t alone in seeing Apple potentially entering the home console game market with the iPad and a Bluetooth controller accessory. Executives at Electronic Arts also told Reuters that they are closely watching Apple’s moves.

“When the iPad gets to the processing power that’s equal to an Xbox 360 and it connects to a television, that’s no big deal to us — we’ll put the game through the iPad and have it display through the television,” said Frank Gibeau, president of Electronic Arts’ Labels.

Another piece to Apple’s potential entrance into the home console market could be the company’s rumored television set. Numerous reports have indicated that Apple is working on a full-fledged television that could be unveiled as soon as later this year.

If Apple were to release a television set with an App Store like it offers for iOS devices and the Mac, or update its Apple TV set-top box with App Store access, some believe it could have an affect on sales of game consoles from companies like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft.

The prospect of console-style gaming from Apple first became a reality last year with the launch of the iPad 2. “Real Racing 2 HD” was one of the first titles that allowed users to output video from their iPad 2 to an HDTV to control the game, and AirPlay support was later added to make the feature wireless.

One survey of game developers conducted last year found most believe Apple and its late co-founder, Steve Jobs, have had the greatest impact on the gaming industry of late. A survey of 1,000 people at the London Games Conference found that 26 percent of respondents said Jobs was the most influential person in the industry, while 46 percent included Jobs in their top five.

AppleInsider

HBO Working To Make Universal And Fox Studios Content Available In iCloud

HBO Working To Make Universal And Fox Studios Content Available In iCloud

Apple announced that movies are now available for download in iCloud last week at its iPad event. You can now view and re-download video content purchased from the iTunes Store on any authorized device, including the iPhone and iPad.

While nearly all the major Hollywood studios were onboard at the time, Universal and Fox studios hadn’t been able to close a deal with Apple for iCloud availability due to licensing conflicts with HBO. According to a spokesperson for the company, HBO is loosening its restrictions on the studios to let Apple have access to more content, specifically Universal and Fox.

For years, HBO has had exclusive access to distribute movies on its network for a certain period of time before the films become completely available to the public. The industry refers to this as the dreaded “HBO window,” and such licensing deals have made it harder for Apple to also bring its TV streaming model to fruition.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

HBO isn’t planning to give up its exclusive windows, for which it pays hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and which allow it to beam movies to its online service HBO Go as well as to its traditional TV channels. But HBO is relaxing terms to let users of iCloud and other services send movies they already own to other devices during those windows, an HBO spokesman said.

HBO agreed to loosen its arrangement with Warner Bros., which is working with iCloud, and also is in talks with Universal and Fox to do the same, the spokesman added.

The arrangement is expected to close within the next few weeks. It’s a good step in the right direction, but many more deals will have to be closed in Hollywood before Apple’s future for television makes it to the living room.

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You Can Now Use iCloud To Re-Download Movies And TV Shows

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