Okay, we confess: We’ve never owned an iPhone and are head-over-heels in love with our Galaxy Nexus. But even the most hardcore of Apple fanboys have to concede that Google’s new Android update, Jelly Bean, looks pretty sweet. Google Now seems like an easy way to seamlessly integrate your phone’s functionality into your every day schedule. Plus, the UI tweaks make the whole Android experience much sleeker and prettier.
Oh, but that’s not all. Jean-Louis Nguyen, a director of biz dev at GOOG, posted a video (to Google+, of course) of the beta version of Jelly Bean responding to over 40 voice commands. The phone gets it right every damn time. Even obscure requests like, “Where is that museum with Egyptian stuff in San Jose?” It’s pretty impressive.
Apple in Your Eye
Zooey Deschanel’s girlish wiles have been used to hawk everything from cotton to cosmetics in the past. But now Apple is employing the hipster darling to sell you on the notion of upgrading to a robotic assistant on that computer in your pocket. So what if the iPhone 4S doesn’t have 4G, did you see those lashes??
While we refuse to believe Ms. Deschanel’s apartment is anything but the paragon of DIY domesticity (she uses Siri to remind her to clean), rest of the spot goes for the obvious signifiers of the star’s retrograde appeal (i.e. Elvis and all-American comfort food).
“Siri, find me a lawyer in Cupertino.” Over 100 enterprising and quite jaded iPhone 4s users are suing Apple for advertising campaigns that include “misleading and deceptive message.”
Represented by law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, Brooklynite Frank M. Fazio is part of a class action suit seeking $5m in damages from the Silicon Valley behemoth. “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,” Mr. Fazio alleges in the lawsuit, filed in California federal court last week.
Apples and Androids
The merits of Apple’s Siri have been philosophized and considered and critiqued. And now, they will (basically) be dramatized.
IN WHICH APPLE FIXES SOMETHING
This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder & CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can follow him at @garysguide and reach him at gary [at] garysguide.com.
Unless you’re living under a rock, you know that Apple last week announced its quarterly earnings and the entire tech industry let out a collective gasp and then promptly went into a swoon. Apple’s now overtaken Exxon as the world’s most valuable company and has almost $100 billion in cash reserves. Thats higher than the market cap of 474 of the S&P 500 companies. Apple’s been very careful when it comes to spending its cash. Expect it to continue the trend of locking in a better deal on components in its supply chain boosting its own profit margins and increasing prices (and scarcity) for competitors. Also expect it to snap up important IP that can provide a generational leap to advance core features of its hardware (camera, screen, battery, memory, CPU). Beyond that (‘n all the cool wearable computing rumors), one of the things thats imperative for Apple to do (if its not doing it already) is to finally build its own search engine. Here’s why.
On Tuesday, we noted that while iPhone voice-activated assistant Siri can’t help you find an abortion clinic in New York City—once called The Abortion Capital of America by New York magazine—it can help you find a gun store downtown, in a city with some of the most restrictive gun controls in the country. Apple didn’t respond to our query of why this was, but Apple CEO Tim Cook has finally spoken on the matter.
AI Phone Home
Megan Carpentier of Raw Story recently noted that Siri is having trouble telling users where to find abortion clinics, and not about abortion clinics in the middle of the Bible Belt, or in the frozen tundra of Alaska. We’re talking about places like New York City and Washington D.C. which, as you can imagine, might have a few of these places. We wanted to test this theory out. Maybe Siri just isn’t a fan of Megan’s? Or maybe Siri is being moody.
Know what we found?
The Tao of Steve
Jordan Mechner, creator of the wildly-popular Prince of Persia video game, had a rather genius idea this week.
“Since I got my iPhone 4S, I’ve been intrigued, fascinated and alarmed by Siri’s fast-growing capabilities. I thought it would make sense to introduce her to my psychotherapist, Eliza,” Mr. Mechner blogged.
AI historians know Eliza better as a computer program, written by MIT’s Joseph Weizenbaum in the mid-60’s, that was one of the first examples of natural language processing. True obsessives would also note that Eliza failed the Turing Test, which means it isn’t actually artificially intelligent. Rather it uses pattern-recognition to processes users responses to scripts, most famously DOCTOR, which simulates a Rogerian pyschotherapist. (Guess Freud fell out of favor in the 60s?)
Apple in Your Eye
Business Insider put up a post today introducing folks to Wolfram Alpha, the “mind-blowing intelligence service that powers Siri.” How quickly the kids forget!
Wolfram Alpha actually went live back in 2009, and roughly oh about 98.7 percent of the press at the time had some version of WOLFRAM ALPHA: GOOGLE KILLER WHA??!!!. That’s because Wolfram Alpha bypassed scanning keywords for natural language search.This was before Ashton Kutcher invested in Blekko, before Steve Ballmer even previewed Bing online.
Artist and programmer Andy Baio wrote a post today that is kind of blowing our minds. It’s a promo video for Apple’s Knowledge Navigator. The striking thing? It presages almost all the developments Apple has brought to mobile computing in the last few years.
In fact, according to Mr. Baio, the video predicted that a mobile computing product (much-like the one released today)–a touch-enabled computer with a voice assistant and Facetime–would become a reality in September 16 of 2011, just one month off from today’s announcement.
Just how far ahead is Apple really planning things…