January 27, 2012

Lingual adds Siri language translation to jailbroken iPhones

Now that we can jailbreak the iPhone 4S, jailbreak developers can finally use Siri in their tweaks. One such tweak is Lingual which adds language translation to our favorite voice assistant. The tweak, available from the Big Boss repository in Cydia, lets you say “Siri, What is how are you in Spanish” and Siri will respond with “Cómo estás.”

The tweak uses the Bing API to handle all the translation requests and, as a result, can support more than 30 languages. It’s based on the AssistantExtensions platform and will install that tweak along with Lingual. AssistantExtensions is an architecture that makes it easy to create Siri extensions like Lingual. It’s free and has both tutorials and templates to get you started.

If you have a jailbroken iPhone 4S and give Lingual a try, let us know what you think in the comments. I played around with Lingual and it works reasonably well. It’s accuracy is based on Bing so the translation sometimes is hit or miss, but the tweak itself is stable.

[Via The Verge]

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Lingual Brings Speedy Voice Translation To Siri On Jailbroken iPhones

Lingual Brings Speedy Voice Translation To Siri On Jailbroken iPhones

Since the Absinthe jailbreak tool was released for Apple’s A5-powered devices last week, we’ve seen all sorts of tweaks that maximize Siri functionality on the iPhone 4S. The latest is one of the most impressive. It’s called Lingual, and it provides quick and easy voice translation to over 30 languages, using Microsoft Bing Translate API.

Because Lingual uses Bing Translate as a backend, it promises to offer the same functionality, so anything that Bing will translate, Lingual will translate. Check out this impressive demonstration of Lingual in action:

The Verge notes, however, that Bing Translate isn’t as strong as Google’s offering, and it does stumble on certain phrases. But they’re quick to point out that “the developers of Lingual can’t be held accountable for Bing’s shortcomings, and they’ve done commendable work in such a short space of time.”

Developed by the CodeThemed team, Lingual is available to download from Cydia completely free. It currently only supports translation from English, but its creators hope to have translation to English added in a future update. And of course, you’ll need a jailbroken iPhone 4S with Siri to use it.

[via The Verge]

Cult of Mac

Sireet Lets You Tweet From Siri On Your iPhone 4S [Jailbreak]

Sireet Lets You Tweet From Siri On Your iPhone 4S [Jailbreak]

A new jailbreak tweak by the name of Sireet has surfaced in Cydia. Developed by Tyler Nettleton, Sireet lets jailbroken iPhone 4S users tweet natively with Siri.

This free tweak is about as simple as it gets. There are no settings to configure. Sireet uses your iOS 5 Twitter info to set itself up automatically. Once you’ve installed Sireet from Cydia, say the word “tweet” followed by your message and Siri will do the rest. You don’t even have to confirm the tweet. Obviously, you will need to need a jailbroken iPhone 4S for Sireet to work. If you haven’t already, you can jailbreak your iPhone 4S by following our tutorial.

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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Siri + Magic + Hot Wild Girls + Doritos = This Year’s Funniest Super Bowl Commercial [Humor / Video]

As part of its annual promotion to get more Americans to cram nacho cheese flavored asbestos triangles down their gob during Half-Time, Doritos throws a Crash The Super Bowl contest where they invite fans to make their own commercials. Win the contest and your winning ad gets aired during the Super Bowl.

I don’t usually pay attention to stuff like this, but this entry for the contest is just wonderful. It portrays Siri (or a Siri-like) as a magical genie in a smartphone capable of automatically beaming bags full of Doritos, a festive sombrero or even three hot, bikini-clad girls into a bro’s apartment at just a long press of the home button, no questions asked.

The only problem? In Dorito’s land, Siri’s speech-to-text transcription abilities have a couple of small auditory processing kinks to work out. The result? A guy’s request for hot wild girls leads to him being torn apart by… well, you’ve got to see it for yourself. Brilliant.

[via iDownload Blog]

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is news editor here at Cult of Mac, and has also written about a lot of things for a lot of different places, including Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker, AMC, Geek and the Consumerist. He lives in Cambridge with his charming inamorata and a tiny budgerigar punningly christened after Nabokov’s most famous pervert. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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How To Install Siri On The iPad 2 [Video]

How To Install Siri On The iPad 2 [Video]

Thanks to the newly-released Absinthe untethered jailbreak for the iPhone 4S and iPad 2, you can finally get Siri up and running on Apple’s latest tablet. The process isn’t an easy one, as you will need to set up your own SiriProxy server and edit your iPad’s filesystem.

If you have the time and stamina to get Siri up and running on the iPad 2, you’ll be able to take advantage of all the voice assistant goodness that’s available on the iPhone 4S. You’ll also be able to install other jailbreak tweaks to enhance Siri’s functionality.

Jeff of iDownloadBlog walks through getting Siri up and running on a jailbroken iPad 2:

Check out iDB’s full post for more detailed steps. You’ll need to install the Spire jailbreak tweak and have a SiriProxy server running on either your Mac or a separate machine. You’ll need to be on the same network as your proxy server for Siri to work, and there’s a chance that you could brick your iPad if you don’t follow Jeff’s steps exactly. Make sure that you have a recent iCloud or iTunes backup ready in case you need to restore your iPad 2.

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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Avatron retires Air Dictate tool for remote Siri dictation

Avatron is a company well known for their iOS and Mac utilities. We are particularly fond of their Air Sharing apps and Air Display, among others. They have a reputation for building solid, reliable products. I could sense the dismay in CEO Dave Howell’s message when he pinged me today to let me know that Avatron would be pulling their Air Dictate app.

In order to comply with App Store rules, Air Dictate used a little trick to hide the standard keyboard while offering one-button access to Siri dictation functions. This is distinct from the non-App Store-safe approach I wrote about on Thanksgiving.

Howell explained, “What we did was to hide the keyboard and text field entirely. We did that by putting another view in front of the keyboard window. When you press our big Start Dictation button, we map that to a tap on the little microphone button. But how? There’s no public method to change the location of a tap event to some other location. The solution to that was the clever part of Air Dictate. We actually changed the position of the keyboard window so that its mic button is directly under whatever point you tapped. Then we move it back again after the event has passed through. Same thing for the Done button.”

The app relied on interface assumptions that could possibly change without warning in future Apple updates, or could vary with international keyboard layouts. This caused a point of conflict with Apple review. “The cold hard fact is that every update of iOS is likely to break all of our apps for one reason or another,” Howell said. “Sometimes new Apple bugs, sometimes intentional changes to their frameworks. You don’t have to break any rules for your apps to be broken by an iOS update!”

Apple further proposed that Avatron discard their custom interface, which was both eye-catching and streamlined, and ask users to locate and tap the microphone button directly. “Apple’s suggestion was that we should throw away our custom interface (sacrificing its convenience for the blind and disabled, who would have trouble tapping the tiny mic button), and just throw up a standard keyboard. We don’t want to do that so we’re not planning to release any more updates to Air Dictate.”

RIP Air Dictate.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Don’t Have Siri? Try Evi

Don’t Have Siri? Try Evi

Siri has a new competitor, and her name is Evi. Developed by True Knowledge and powered by the same Nuance-based backend as Apple’s virtual assistant, Evi is available for all iPhones in the App Store. There’s also a beta app available for Android handsets.

While Evi doesn’t have the integrated advantage that Siri wields, she is perhaps the first clone that’s just as smart, if not smarter, than Siri.

Unlike a search engine, which simply looks for matching words and shows you a list of websites, Evi understands what you want to know and gives back exactly what you’re after.

Need to know where the nearest bank is? Not a problem. Going out for dinner but can’t decide where? She can help with that too. The more you ask, the more she will learn, and thus she is improving all the time.

Not only will Evi run on non-iPhone 4S devices, but she also works outside of the U.S. and on Android. The App Store app costs $ 0.99 to cover the Nuance licensing fees that True Knowledge has to pay.

The only thing that Evi can’t do that Siri can is integrate with Apple’s stock iOS apps. For instance, you wouldn’t be able to set a reminder or calendar event with Evi. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to eventually. TechCrunch believes that Evi is actually smarter than Siri in many ways:

Install Evi on an iPhone 4S and compare it to Evi. Ask “How do I make apple pie?”. Siri is unable to provide a direct answer and so asks whether you want to search the web. Evi provides a list of recipes with web links.

Ask “Who was President when Queen Elizabeth II was born”. Siri is unable to provide an answer and suggests performing a web search. Evi determines who Queen Elizabeth II is, when she was born, the dates when she will have been a teenager and then compares this against which US presidents were in office over that time, delivering the results of both serving US presidents during those years. Not bad huh.

Like Siri, Evi claims to learn from its mistakes and your requests to provide better results. The app integrates with lots like Yelp to provide localized results as well. Let us know what you think of Evi in the comments!

Cult of Mac

Apple working on version of Siri to help you purchase products online

By Neil Hughes

Published: 09:27 AM EST (06:27 AM PST)
Future updates to Apple’s Siri personal assistant could grant users the ability to purchase items from online stores using only their voice.

Apple’s interest in expanding Siri to help with online shopping was revealed this week in a new patent application discovered by AppleInsider. The proposed invention, entitled “Intelligent Automated Assistant,” is a detailed look not only at what Siri can already do, but what it might be able to do in the future.

In its current form on the iPhone 4S, Siri does not allow users to complete transactions with online stores. The voice-driven personal assistant software will respond with “Sorry, I can’t purchase that.”

But Apple’s latest patent filing specifically highlights e-commerce as a key function of its “Intelligent Automated Assistant.” The application notes that Siri could be used for “online purchases of items such as books, DVDs, music and the like.”

With e-commerce functionality added to Siri, a user could ask their iPhone to purchase a new song, album, TV episode or movie through Apple’s iTunes Store. Similarly, transactions through the iBookstore or even the App Store could theoretically be initiated.

But Apple’s filing also mentions physical items like DVDs, suggesting that Siri could also integrate with online retailers. It’s possible that such a system could be used to make a purchase through a retailer like Best Buy and allow users to pick up their purchase at a nearby store.

Last month, users gained the ability to check available inventory at Best Buy through Siri, thanks to new capability with the Wolfram Alpha engine Siri utilizes. But while customers can see if an item is in stock, Siri does not yet allow users to buy an item.

The patent application specifically names Amazon as a potential partner in such a system. The example has Siri telling a user: “I can help you find music, movies, books, electronics, toys, and more — and buy it from Amazon. What are you looking for?”

The proposed invention, made public this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, was first filed in January of 2011. Its long list of credited inventors includes original employees of Siri, the company Apple acquired, including Dag Kittlaus, the Siri co-founder who left Apple last year after the launch of the iPhone 4S.

The remaining credited inventors are Thomas Robert Gruber, Adam John Cheyer, Didier Rene Guzzoni, Christopher Dean Brigham, Richard Donald Giuli, Marcello Bastea-forte, and Harry Joseph Saddler.


Use Siri And The Find My Friends App To Locate Your Pals By Voice [iOS Tip]

Use Siri And The Find My Friends App To Locate Your Pals By Voice [iOS Tip]

While the feature is currently still in beta, Apple is yet to extend Siri support to apps that aren’t already baked into the iOS operating system. But did you know that the company’s own Find My Friends app, which debuted alongside iOS 5 last summer, does include Siri support, allowing you to locate your pals using only your voice?

Here’s you to find your friends using Siri.

Of course, you will need the free Find My Friends app installed on your device for this to work — you’ll also need to ensure that you are logged into the service — and you’ll need to be using an iPhone 4S, which is currently the only device that features Siri.

Now all you need to do is hold down the home button to open up Siri and ask her where your friends are. You can either use the “Find Joe Bloggs” or “Where is Joe Bloggs?” commands, obviously substituting “Joe Bloggs” with the name of a real friend.

Siri will then locate the person you asked for. If it does not work, you are either not logged into the Find My Friends service, or the friend that you’ve asked Siri to find hasn’t been added to your Find My Friends account.

[via iDownloadBlog]

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also writes for TechnoBuffalo. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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Why The iPad 3 Won’t Come With Siri Unless You Pay More For It

Why The iPad 3 Won’t Come With Siri Unless You Pay More For It

We’re only about two or three months away from the iPad 3 dropping and blowing our socks off. Right now, we can tell you a lot about what the iPad 3 will probably be like. It’ll feature Apple’s new, quad-core A6 CPU. It’ll feature a 2048 x 1536 resolution Retina Display. It may — but probably won’t — be the first iOS device to ship with LTE support.

But what about Siri, Apple’s amazing new voice control technology prominently featured in the iPhone 4S? Surely, that’s a lock for all future Apple devices starting with the iPad 3, right?

Well, hold on. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

While Siri seems like it would be a lock for the iPad 3, it’s important to remember that Siri is an Internet-based service, not just an app. No part of Siri really lives on the iPhone 4S. Rather, Siri is basically an iPhone 4S-specific interface to Apple’s own remote Siri servers, which process your voice in the cloud and then return specific commands for your device to act upon.

In other words, Siri requires the Internet to work… and when there’s no internet, or Siri’s servers are down, it fails quite catastrophically.

That’s a big problem for the idea of Siri coming to the iPad or the iPod touch, because on those devices Apple can’t count on an always-present internet connection the way they can on the iPhone 4S. If someone using a WiFi-only iPad 3 tried to access Siri without being connected to the Internet, the service would just fall over.

Right now, if you have no internet connection on your iPhone, Siri will simply say “Siri Not Available. Connect to the Internet.” That’s all well and good for a device that rarely has a problem slurping up a data connection unless you happen to be under the ocean or in a plane 30,000 feet in the air, but a huge chunk of iPads actually go without internet capability as a matter of course.

So what’s the solution here? Apple favors simple, reliable implementations of technology, and on all base iPad 3 WiFi models, Siri can’t be implemented reliably. On the 3G and LTE models, however, Apple can depend upon internet connectivity ninety-nine times out of a hundred.

Our bet? This is simply a common sense deduction, and we have no inside source saying so, but when the iPad 3 comes out in March or April, Siri will ship only on units that have a 3G connection or better. It’ll be a premium feature for buyers willing to shell out $ 130 more for the guarantee of an always-on internet connection. Buy a WiFi-only model and you’ll still get a quad-core, A6-controlled iPad 3 with a gorgeous Retina Display, but Siri will be totally MIA… at least until the inevitable jailbreak hacks turn the functionality on again.

What do you think? Will Apple be okay with Siri not working all the time for WiFi users, or will they simply nix the functionality in WiFi-only models? Let us know in the comments.

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