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Entries in Siri (8)

Friday
Jun152012

Siri Sued: Apple Accused of False Advertising

Tony Avelar/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Bringing frustration with technology to a whole new level, a New York man has sued Apple, Inc. because he says the Siri feature does not work as advertised.

Frank Fazio filed a class action complaint against the California-based company, saying the Apple commercials for the iPhone 4S “conveyed the misleading and deceptive message that the iPhone 4S’s Siri feature, a so-called voice-activated assistant, performs useful functions and otherwise works as advertised.”

The complaint outlines several functions consumers are led to believe Siri can complete.

“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,” it reads.

But Fazio says outside of the commercial, that is not the case.

“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 complaint says.

Fazio, who is represented by Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, purchased an iPhone 4S in November and claims he would not have bought an iPhone 4S if it weren’t for the misleading commercials.

“The iPhone 4S’s Siri feature does not perform as advertised, rendering the iPhone 4S merely a more expensive iPhone 4,” the complaint reads.  “Plaintiff would not have paid the price he paid for the iPhone 4S, if he had not seen these representations.”

The complaint was filed on behalf of Fazio and “all other similarly situated consumers who purchased the iPhone 4S,” which the complaint says could be more than 33 million people based on the financial results Apple released for its fiscal 2012 first quarter.

Fazio has filed the complaint in an attempt “to halt the dissemination of Apple’s false and misleading advertising message, and to obtain redress for those who have purchased an iPhone 4S.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun112012

Apple iOS 6: Facebook Integration, Improved Siri, New Maps

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Apple today showed off iOS 6, the feature-laden successor to its current iOS 5 software for iPhones and iPads. It will bring 200 new features to the iPhone and iPad, the company said, including Facebook integration, Apple's own 3D maps, and improvements to its voice-activated Siri virtual assistant.

"iOS 6 is a phenomenal release," said Scott Forstall, Apple's senior vice president for iOS software. The new system should be shipped to consumers this fall; an early so-called Beta version will be available to software developers today, Forstall announced to a packed house at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco.

Among other enhancements, Siri will, for the first time, be included in the iPad, said Forstall. And users will be able to move seamlessly between one device and another.

Forstall showed Siri's improved ability to give turn-by-turn directions if one is driving, make restaurant reservations and show schedule and gate changes in real time if your plane is delayed.

The navigation system will be activated by an "eyes-free" button in some new car models; Apple said it is working with BMW, GM, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler, Honda and other automakers.

Apple said it has partnered with such online services as OpenTable for reservations, RottenTomatoes for movie reviews and times, and several gaming companies.

The new operating system is designed as something of a threat to Google, with its comprehensive map software. Apple said it will now have its own, including flyover views of major cities to help give you a sense of where you are.

"In iOS 6 we have built an entire new maps system from the ground up," said Forstall.

Facebook will be a central part of the new system, said Apple. Log on and almost anything you're doing on your iPad or iPhone can be shared instantly with friends.

And phone calls will be easier. There is a new "Do Not Disturb" feature, plus other ways to send quick messages if someone calls while you're busy but don't want to ignore them. Apple said iOS 6 will remind you to get back to those people later.

"Only Apple can make such amazing hardware, software, and services," Apple CEO Tim Cook said on stage at the conference. "These products can change the world."

The company, however, made no mention of a new iPhone, what has been rumored to be called the iPhone 5. Talk has been swirling about the new phone for months and the new device is expected to have a larger screen, a different dock connector, and a new design.

The WWDC developers' meeting has over 3,000 attendees this week. The attendees are Apple developers, or those who create software for Apple's iOS and Mac OS X operating systems.

Apple stock, which had been up in the morning, lost about one percent of its value after the announcement finished.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun112012

Apple Overhauls MacBook Pro, Debuts Mountain Lion

Apple(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Apple overhauled its popular notebook, the MacBook Pro, with a state-of-the-art, super high-resolution screen. The tech company also updated the Pro and the MacBook Air with the latest processing technology, the company announced today at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Apple, said both laptop models will feature faster processors, more advanced graphics, larger memory and flash storage and high-speed connectivity.

Like the ultra-slim MacBook Air, the new MacBook Pro will feature a super-thin aluminum case only 0.71 inches thick, and weigh 4.5 pounds.

"It's the lightest Pro notebook we have ever made," Schiller said.

However, the most stunning feature of the new Pro is the one that users will look at the most -- the screen. Schiller announced that this MacBook Pro will have Apple's brand new "Retina Display," an ultra-crisp, super high-resolution screen to rival the one on its newest iPad tablet. Its 2880x1880 resolution (that's 5,184,000 pixels) is the highest of any notebook display in the world.

And what good is a state-of-the-art screen without updated visuals? Schiller said both the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air will be outfitted with the third-generation Ivy Bridge processor from Intel, as well as a high-speed Thunderbolt port and a new USB 3.0 port, which is 10 times faster than current the USB 2.0.

Graphics will be up to 60 percent faster than with previous processors, Schiller said.

In addition, the MacBook Pro will also have Nvidia's latest graphics card, the GeForce 650M (Apple had used AMD graphics cards in previous models), up to seven hours of battery life and an HDMI port for hooking up to a television -- a first for a MacBook.

The MacBook Air, which comes in 11-inch and 13-inch sizes, will be $100 cheaper now, selling at $999 and $1,199 respectively. But the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display will set you back $2,199.

The upgraded MacBook Airs and the MacBook Pros will be shipped out today, Schiller said. "No one turns over their entire line as quickly as we do at Apple."

But both new laptops will carry OS X Lion, Apple's current operating system, and not the hotly anticipated OS X 10.8, known as Mountain Lion, the next generation for Mac.

Craig Federighi, the vice president of Mac software, announced that starting today, customers who purchase a new Mac are eligible for a free copy of OS X Mountain Lion when it becomes available next month. Mountain Lion has around 100 new features, many inspired by Apple's iOS for the iPhone and iPad.

Federighi demonstrated how Mountain Lion would provide a unified experience between all of the latest Apple products using iCloud, the company's online storage service. With Mountain Lion, users just have to sign in with their Apple ID and iCloud is automatically set up to sync mail, calendars, contacts, reminders, music, documents and even apps, with a Mac computer to an iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. So, for example, if you add a meeting to your calendar on your Mac it will appear almost immediately on your iPhone's calendar.

But one of Mountain Lion's coolest features borrowed from mobile iOS is the debut of Messages. This new software is like iChat messaging on steroids. Now you can send messages back and forth to anyone between your Mac computer, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 5. You can start a chat on your laptop and then pick it up on your phone.

Mountain Lion will also feature AirPlay mirroring, Federighi said, which will allow users to stream anything that's on a Mac computer to an HDTV wirelessly through the external Apple TV device, as well as Game Center for setting up a gaming network and Dictation.

For Mac users who want to upgrade to Mountain Lion on their current machines, the new OS X system will be sold separately for $19.99.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May302012

Siri, Facebook Improvements Coming to iPhone, Says Apple CEO

Joanna Stern/ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- Apple CEO Tim Cook didn’t only speak about how he’d like to see an iPhone made in the U.S. at the All Things D conference -- he also spoke about some future product plans, which include an improved Siri and Facebook experience for the iPhone.

Cook didn’t detail the future Facebook plans for the iPhone, but in response to a question about why the world’s largest social networking platform isn’t integrated into the smartphone like Twitter, he announced that people should “stay tuned.”  Cook also hinted at a deeper partnership between Facebook and Apple several times throughout the hour interview.

“Facebook has hundreds of millions of customers.  Anyone with an iPhone or iPad, we want them to have the best experience on those.  So, stay tuned,” he commented.

When asked by ABC News about what happened to Apple’s Ping music social network, Cook also shed light on just how Apple sees the broader social space.

“Apple doesn’t have to own a social network, if that’s the heart of your question,” Cook responded.  “Does Apple have to be social?  Yes.  The ways we do that today, you see Twitter into iOS, and you’ll see it in the Mac with Mountain Lion.  Some people see iMessage as social, and it’s an elegant solution.  You’ll see more things like that in the future.”

And that’s not all that’s coming in the future.  Cook also revealed that Siri will be getting an update, one that makes the digital assistant a bit smarter.

“Customers love it.  It is one of the most popular features on the iPhone 4S,” Cook said.  “But, there’s more that it can do.  We have a lot of people working on this.  I think you’ll be really pleased with what you see in the coming months on this.”

Apple is expected to demonstrate the features in its next version of iOS at its World Wide Developer’s Conference in June.  Cook would not comment on any of the iPhone 5 rumors at the conference.´╗┐

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar072012

Apple Unveils New iPad with Higher Definition Display

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images(CUPERTINO, Calif.) -- Apple announced its new iPad on Wednesday -- a powerful updated model with a new processor and a high-definition display.

The new "Retina Display" screen has 2048 x 1536 resolution, which is higher than that found on any other tablet on the market. The result, said Apple, will be much crisper pictures and video. After weeks of rumors that it might be called the "iPad 3" or "iPad HD," Apple only referred to it as "the new iPad" at Wednesday's rollout in San Francisco.

Apple senior vice president of marketing, Philip W. Schiller, touted the new screen on stage. "You are going to see sharper images," he said. "Photos are just going to look amazing."

On the outside, the new iPad looks very similar to the tablet Apple has been selling for more than a year. But with an A5x processor and quad-core graphics, Apple said images would have 44 percent greater "saturation" than one sees on the previous model. There will be 3.1 million pixels on the screen, or 264 per inch.

The new tablet will have 10 hours of battery life, Schiller said, nine hours when receiving 4G signals. It will be all of 9.5 mm thick.

Schiller said the new iPad would have a more powerful "iSight" camera built in, similar in resolution to the 8 megapixel camera in the iPhone 4S. The camera, he said, can capture 1080p video. It also has image stabilization.

Apple has also added 4G LTE capabilities from Verizon and AT&T, meaning those who opt for the 3G / 4G models will get faster browsing and Internet speeds. This is the first time Apple has decided to integrate LTE into one of its products. The base model, which will start at $499, will have 16GB of memory and only Wi-Fi connectivity.

Apple said it would start taking pre-orders for the new iPad in 10 countries on Wednesday, and it will be available March 16. A version with 64GB of memory will retail for $699.

Presiding over the announcement was Tim Cook, Apple's new CEO and founder Steve Jobs' chosen successor. "You are going to see a lot more of this kind of innovation. We are just getting started.” Cook said.

Among other features, the new tablet will take dictation. Speak into a microphone, Apple said, and your words will be transcribed on the screen.

The new iPad announcement comes as the company faces stiff scrutiny over how its products are made in China. Following reports of underage labor and unsafe working conditions, the Fair Labor Association will submit a report on Apple's Foxconn production lines this month. ABC News got an exclusive look inside Apple's production line last month.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec032011

Siri Abortion Debate: ACLU, NARAL on Apple 'Glitch'

Tony Avelar/Bloomberg/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Apple's Siri, the voice-activated "virtual assistant" in the new iPhone 4S, had no idea what it was saying. It turned out that while Siri can answer myriad spoken queries, it often stumbles if one asks for help getting an abortion.

Abortion-rights advocates objected, with some starting an online petition to make Apple do something. Soon, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) joined in.

"Although it isn't clear that Apple is intentionally trying to promote an anti-choice agenda, it is distressing that Siri can point you to Viagra but not the Pill, or help you find an escort but not an abortion clinic," said an ACLU blog post.

What's behind the rhetoric? Both groups said Siri—which Apple has promised to improve—is really not the issue.

"Do you know what a 'crisis pregnancy center' is—a CPC?" said Ted Miller, communications director at NARAL Pro-Choice America. "They don't provide abortions. They're run by anti-choice groups, and they try to lure women in to talk them out of getting abortions.

"Our main intention, our goal, is to make sure people are getting accurate information. We want people to know about these organizations that would promote themselves dishonestly."

Jennifer Dalven, who heads the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, said, "The Siri issue is a symptom of a much larger problem. Why is it that we can have ads on TV for Viagra but talking about where a woman can get birth control or an abortion is taboo? This has real consequences. For example, it leads to sex education classes that just preach to kids that they should abstain until they get married but don't tell them about contraception."

Dalven said she did not doubt Apple's explanation that Siri was a work in progress: "We have no reason to believe that this was anything but a glitch."

Groups that have argued against legalized abortion have been quieter. Dave Andrusko of National Right to Life News said some people might wonder if the late Steve Jobs—who was raised by adoptive parents—didn't program the 'glitch' into Siri which hit the stores soon after Jobs' death.

"Unfortunately, the answer[s] are likely elsewhere," he wrote.

The answer, according to engineers who know search technology works, is that Apple just got caught in the middle.

Siri's answers, they said, are limited by the sources it searches for information—services such as Yelp and Wikipedia. One engineer, asking not to be quoted, said it might well be that anti-abortion groups use the term "abortion clinic" on their websites, but gynecologists who are willing to perform abortions in private would be reluctant to advertise it.

Danny Sullivan, who runs the website SearchEngineLand.com, found that Siri didn't know that acetaminophen is the chemical name for Tylenol. "Is Siri also against headaches?" he wrote. "I don't think so, but it [is] easy to pursue one line of questioning in various ways, such as everything about abortions, and come away with a skewed view that Siri is pro-life rather than just buggy in general."

Apple, for its part, is sticking to the comment it gave to ABC News and other organizations on Wednesday: "Our customers want to use Siri to find out all types of information, and while it can find a lot, it doesn't always find what you want. These are not intentional omissions meant to offend anyone, it simply means that as we bring Siri from beta to a final product, we find places where we can do better and we will in the coming weeks."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

Wednesday
Nov302011

Apple's Siri: Does iPhone 4S Voice Avoid Abortion Providers?

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Apple's new Siri -- the voice-activated "virtual assistant" built into the iPhone 4S -- has been hailed as a major advance in artificial intelligence. Ask it a question, on almost anything from soup to nuts, and it will give you an answer.

But at a blog called The Abortioneers, there's suspicion that Siri is not programmed to help people find abortion clinics. And the issue is spreading around the Internet.

"If abortion information is plentifully available on the interwebs, and Siri is pulling those types of requests from the web, why does Siri not have an answer about birth control or abortion?" asked the blog. "If you ask Siri where to bury a dead body, she seems to be full of ideas."

The Abortioneers say they experimented with Siri and found it ready to provide plenty of information on sex and reproduction. If you ask it for a phone number for Planned Parenthood, it will give you one. But several users said when they asked, "Where can I go to get an abortion?" they got answers like:

"I'm really sorry about this, but I can't take any requests right now. Please try again in a little while."

A user from Wisconsin reported the phone provided directions to two clinics 70 miles away in Milwaukee -- even though there was one less than ten miles away in Madison.

Five ABC News staff members with iPhones -- three in New York and two in Washington, D.C. -- also tried. When asked, "I need an abortion clinic," Siri answered three users, "I don't see any abortion clinics. Sorry about that."

The fourth, in the ABC News Washington bureau, about a mile from the White House, got this answer: "I found two abortion clinics a little ways from you." The closer one was listed in Lansdowne, Va., 27 miles away. The last one, in New York, was directed to a clinic 100 miles away.

We got more specific: "Help me find Planned Parenthood."

Siri: "I found 9 places matching 'Planned Parenthood' ... 6 of them are fairly close to you." A list followed.

We tried a different question: "Help me find a doctor who does assisted suicide."

Answer: "I found 13 mental health agencies ... 12 of them are fairly close to you."

We tried other things (Siri was quick to list 17 strip clubs and nine escort services when a female staff member asked, "Where do I find a hooker?" but it said, "I didn't find any adult retail stores" when she asked where she could buy pornography).

Meanwhile, a Google search -- "abortion clinic new york city" -- returned "about 19,900 results," though most were not actual listings of clinics.

Siri is far from omniscient, and voice recognition is an inexact science. Some users said Siri often strikes out when they ask very routine questions.

The system is also programmed with light-hearted answers to off-the-wall queries (If you say "I love you," it may answer, "You say that to all the virtual assistants"). Some of Siri's answers can be quite funny, and most people, whatever their position on abortion, will agree that it's not a funny subject.

Several users also pointed out that abortion is probably not the kind of thing for which Siri is designed. It's promoted as an easy way to get driving directions, send quick messages or find local shops. If a woman was pregnant and thinking of ending it, they said, would she really ask her phone?

Apple did not immediately return messages asking for comment. The New York Times Bits blog did reach Norman Winarsky, who co-founded the firm that developed Siri and sold it to Apple in 2010. He told them he did not know if Apple had made any deliberate decisions to avoid specific queries.

"My guess at what's happening here is that Apple has made deals with Web services that provide local business information," Winarsky told the Times, "and Apple probably hasn't paid much attention to all the results that come up."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct282011

iPhone 4s' Siri Is Lost in Translation with Heavy Accents

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Siri, the state-of-the-art voice recognition app on the new iPhone 4s, is having some translation trouble with heavy accents, especially across the pond.

Hundreds of iPhone 4s users from Boston to Chelsea, England, to Edinburgh, Scotland, have taken to Internet message boards, blogs and YouTube to express frustrations when the app can't understand their native tongues.

Apple designed the app to be the user's instant assistant, ready to provide answers to any question or statement when prompted -- including "what's the meaning of life" and "open the bomb bay doors" (a nod to the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey). Siri can schedule or move appointments, offer news and weather, look up facts, find restaurants, send text messages and browse the Internet to the user's heart's desire. That is, if the app can understand the request.

In a video posted by the Boston Globe, city native Bill Baker asked Siri, "Can I paaark my caaar in Haaavaaard yaaard?" The app responded with, "I'm not aware of any appointments about 'haven't yet.'"

In one YouTube video, which has garnered almost 35,000 hits in the past week, a Scotsman asks Siri, "Can you dance with me?" But the app interpreted that as, "can you dutch women."

Another Youtube video, a Scot asked Siri to "create a reminder," one of its basic response functions, but that prompted, "I do not understand 'create Alamain.'"

According to a statement on Apple's website, Siri can speak and understand the following languages: "English (United States, United Kingdom, Australia), French and German."

But the statetment goes on to say: "However, Siri is designed to recognize the specific accents and dialects of the supported countries listed above. Since every language has its own accents and dialects, the accuracy rate will be higher for native speakers."

Gizmodo.com, a gadget and technology website, conducted voice tests on Siri using some American, English and Australian accents. Gizmodo reporter Sam Briddle speculated that the further someone's voice is from a "neutral" accent or proper accent, such as a Southern accent, a Boston accent or a heavy Midwestern accent, the more Siri might get "confused." Same goes for our English-speaking counterparts across the Atlantic.

"Very prominently, Scottish users have found themseleves completely blocked out," Briddle said. "The Scottish accent is so dramatically different ... it's a much thicker accent than a normal proper English accent and I think that just presented a problem for Siri."

The accent issue could be an "oversight" by Apple, Briddle continued, but Siri is the first of its kind to understand and respond to casual conversation.

"Natural language format is such a complicated thing," he said. "You're not just saying a pre-set command, which a computer has a pretty easy time understanding ... with Siri, there are a hundred different ways to say the same thing."

When you say something to Siri, some of the message is processed locally on the iPhone and some of it is beamed to Apple's servers hundreds or thousands of miles from where the user is standing. Then a response is sent back to the phone -- you'll notice there's a delay in response time for some questions. If it were all processed on your phone, Briddle said, it would probably be slower.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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