Apple’s acquired a startup with a keen focus on developing artificial intelligence systems that run locally on your device rather than at an offsite server farm. In Perceptio’s case (why does every start-up sound like Aviato now?), it’s using deep learning for photo classification rather than other mundane tasks, according to both Bloomberg and ReCode. The latter notes that Facebook and the like do this with cloud processing but Apple is incredibly big on not storing user-data offsite. So it makes sense that the company would be interested in bringing this sort of imaging tech to its handsets and computers — especially considering that new camera the iPhone 6s series is sporting.
This purchase could point toward a smarter Photos app, or it could be nothing at all. Giant tech companies buy smaller ones all the time and Apple’s no stranger to that. But if Tim Cook and Co. can make using the imaging program less frustrating as a whole, we’ll really be in business.
[Image credit: Shutterstock]
Apple debuted a new series of Apple Watch ads aimed at simply showing off specific features. The new ads, which are all set against bright backgrounds and feature people using their Watches for specific purposes, show off the device’s fitness and messaging capabilities in addition to Apple Pay and Maps.
The first two ads, “Sing” and “Date” feature people using Apple Watch’s messaging capabilities to live their lives. In “Sing”, the user sends someone an audio message of a song he’s singing.
In “Date”, actress Lake Bell, who is the narrator of the iPhone 6s commercial, enjoys a night out and is updated on her child via Messages.
The second two ads, “Train” and “Cycle”, showcase the Apple Watch’s fitness capabilities. In “Train”, a user can be seen checking his heart rate as he air boxes.
In “Cycle,” a user is completing their indoor cycling exercise and watching it get recorded by the Apple Watch.
In “Ride”, a user is shown driving around until they stop to ask Siri for directions. The Apple Watch then provides directions to her destination and she departs.
Finally, in “Sprinkle”, a mother carrying a child is shown using her Apple Watch to pay for more ice cream after one of her daughters drops her ice cream.
The new ads come nearly 2 weeks after the Cupertino company released watchOS 2 for the device, which adds native app support, new watch faces and third-party complications. Earlier today, Apple and Hermes launched the Apple Watch Hermes Collection in select Apple Stores and Hermes retail stores.
With certain exceptions, most iOS-focused malware targets jailbroken devices whose compromised security makes them easy prey. However, there’s been concerns that a recent strain of malware, YiSpecter, can attack even ‘pure’ devices running stock iOS. Do you have to worry about catching a bug online and losing control over your device? Probably not, if you ask Apple. In a statement to The Loop, the company notes that it not only fixed the vulnerability with iOS 8.4, but blocked the apps handing out the offending code. The victims downloaded apps from “untrusted sources” (that is, outside of the App Store) Cupertino adds. In short, Apple believes this is a non-issue as long as you install updates and stay cautious — and given that more than half of its users are already running iOS 9, it might be right.
Source: The Loop
Apple has purchased Perceptio, a small startup focused on artificial intelligence, reports Bloomberg. Founded by Nicolas Pinto and Zak Stone, Perceptio was developing technology that would let smartphone companies create advanced artificial intelligence systems “without needing to share as much user data” in the cloud.
Perceptio’s goals were to develop techniques to run AI image-classification systems on smartphones, without having to draw from large external repositories of data. That fits Apple’s strategy of trying to minimize its usage of customer data and do as much processing as possible on the device.
According to Bloomberg, both Stone and Pinto are established artificial intelligence researchers who specialize in creating image-recognition systems using deep learning. There’s little information available about Perceptio, but Re/code profiled the company last year.
The duo were working on privacy-based artificial intelligence, figuring out how to run complex neural network algorithms on smartphones. Before being acquired by Apple, they were working on facial recognition technology and had released an unrelated video sharing app called Smoothie.
Apple confirmed the purchase with its standard acquisition statement: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
Apple’s Siri personal assistant has lagged behind competing services like Google Now and Microsoft Cortana because of Apple’s strict privacy policies and its reluctance to collect and utilize user data. It’s possible the purchase of Perceptio will allow Apple to improve Siri without compromising on its dedication to user privacy.
Perceptio is the second Siri-related purchase Apple has made within the last few weeks. Apple also recently acquired VocalIQ, a UK-based startup that created a natural language API to allow computers and people to have a more natural dialogue.
After several months of testing and tweaking, YouTube has finally released the redesigned version of its iOS app, taking cues from its Material Design-inspired Android counterpart. The updated app also comes with in-app video editing tools to make videos.
The redesigned YouTube app makes it easier to find what you love. Now your recommended videos, favorite channels, and subscriptions can be accessed by tapping each icon or swiping your screen. You can also create fun videos on the fly with new in-app editing tools.
The new app is divided into three sections: Home, Subscriptions and Account. Home, like the YouTube web homepage, delivers suggestions and features videos from YouTube accounts that a user may have viewed recently. Subscriptions is a stream of videos from YouTube accounts a user may subscribe to and Account allows you to access History, Likes, the Watch later feature and Playlists.
While the app was updated today, it’s slowly propagating through the App Store.
In late September, Apple announced that app slicing, an App Thinning feature of iOS 9, was unavailable to developers because of an iCloud backup issue. Apple today updated developers on the status of app slicing, noting that it’s once again available for use following the iOS 9.0.2 update and the recent Xcode 7.0.1 update.
The issue affecting app slicing has been fixed, and device-specific versions of apps will be delivered when downloaded by users running iOS 9.0.2 or later.
App slicing is one facet of App Thinning, an iOS 9 feature designed to decrease the size of iOS apps to save valuable space on devices without a lot of storage space. With app slicing, users only download the app assets created for their particular device rather than a full set of assets for multiple devices. For example, on an iPhone 6s, a user will only need to download iPhone 6s specific files, ignoring both larger iPad artwork and lower quality resources for earlier iOS devices.
To take advantage of the space saving features in app slicing, all iOS 9 users should upgrade to iOS 9.0.2. App slicing is not available in earlier versions of iOS 9 or in iOS 8.
Over the weekend, security site Palo Alto Networks detailed a new iOS malware that’s able to infect non-jailbroken Apple devices using enterprise certificates and private APIs. It originated in Taiwan and China and was installed through several methods, including hijacking traffic from ISPs, an SNS worm on Windows, and offline app installation.
Called YiSpecter, the malware is able to download, install, and launch apps, doing things like replacing existing apps, displaying advertisements in legitimate apps, changing Safari’s default engine, and uploading user information to remote servers.
A popup ad that was able to install YiSpecter on iOS devices
In response to the detailing of YiSpecter, Apple has released an official statement to The Loop explaining that YiSpecter is only able to target iOS users who are running an older version of iOS that have also downloaded content from untrusted sources.
“This issue only impacts users on older versions of iOS who have also downloaded malware from untrusted sources. We addressed this specific issue in iOS 8.4 and we have also blocked the identified apps that distribute this malware. We encourage customers to stay current with the latest version of iOS for the latest security updates. We also encourage them to only download from trusted sources like the App Store and pay attention to any warnings as they download apps.”
Apple implemented fixes for YiSpecter in iOS 8.4, so iOS 8.4.1 and iOS 9 are immune to the malware. Users who want to avoid being targeted by YiSpecter should make sure to upgrade to the latest version of iOS and as always, should avoid downloading apps from unverified sources.
Apple today updated its iOS 9 features page to highlight two new cities where transit directions in the Maps app are now available: Sydney, Australia and Boston, Massachusetts. Sydney and Boston are the first two cities to gain transit information beyond the first wave launch cities.
Transit directions within Maps became available alongside the launch of iOS 9. The first areas that incorporated public transit information into Maps included Baltimore, Maryland; Berlin, Germany; Chicago, Illinois; London, England; Mexico City, Mexico, New York City, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Washington, DC; and Toronto, Canada. Transit directions are also available within hundreds of cities in China.
Apple is planning to expand the availability of transit directions to other cities going forward, with major metropolitan areas being a priority for the company. It appears transit information in Sydney and Boston may still be rolling out as it is not yet accessible to all users in Apple Maps.
Today’s transit update follows recent news that Apple will soon shut down HopStop, the mapping company that it purchased in 2013. The HopStop service offered detailed subway, bus, train, taxi, walking and biking directions in more than 600 countries throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and has likely played a major part in the development of the long-awaited transit feature within Apple Maps.
In case you haven’t been paying attention for the last seven months or so, it’s very, very easy to spend a lot of money on an Apple Watch. But if Apple’s own lineup of bands and crazy expensive solid-gold cases aren’t exactly working with your own personal aesthetic, fear not: today, the newly-announced set of Hermès leather bands are now available in selected Apple Stores and Hermès locations around the world.
As a refresher, Hermès is an iconic Paris-based fashion designer and manufacture that has a particular focus on high-quality leather products. As such, they’ve created three different leather bands for the Apple Watch: a fairly traditional leather band called the Single Tour, a longer, double-wrapping strap called the Double Tour, and a wider, chunkier band called the Cuff. The Single Tour model starts at $1,110, comes in both 38mm and 42mm sizing options and is available in three different colors (depending on which size you choose). The Double Tour is for the 38mm Watch only and comes in four different colors, while the Cuff is for 42mm Watches only and is available in one single leather finish.
Fortunately, your hard-earned cash doesn’t just go towards these fancy new straps — you’ll also get an exclusive Hermes-designed watch face and the Hermès logo engraved on the back of your Watch’s body. On the one hand, it’s easy to laugh at these prices, but a partnership with an internationally-recognized fashion designer like Hermès could go a long way towards positioning the Apple Watch as the fashionable timepiece the company wants it to be viewed as. And to keep things properly exclusive, the Apple Watch Hermès is only available in retail stores — no utilitarian online orders will be accepted for this
Via: Apple Insider
Apple has begun selling official Apple Watch lugs through authorized distributor Avnet that may only be used in third-party bands that adhere to the company’s Band Design Guidelines for Apple Watch. Apple-designed stainless steel lugs are each marked with “Made for Apple Watch” laser etching to verify their authenticity.
The stainless steel lugs are available in 38mm and 42mm sizes and are compatible with all Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition models. However, at the time of publication, Space Gray, Space Black, Yellow Gold and Rose Gold lugs are not listed for sale.
Apple has published Apple Watch Lug Assembly Guidelines that provide accessory makers with step-by-step instructions and a list of required tools for assembly, including a Pentalobe 1.1 screwdriver bit and clamping device. The document also outlines proper screw installation for the lugs.
Avnet is selling Apple Watch lugs in sets of 25 or 200 in both 38mm and 42mm, with prices ranging between $278.75 and $1,866.00 per package and between $9.18 and $11.33 per individual set. The distributor is also selling the Pentalobe 1.1 screwdriver bit required for lug assembly for $12.65. All prices are listed in U.S. dollars.
Apple Watch Lugs – 38mm (25 sets)
Apple Watch Lugs – 38mm (200 sets)
Apple Watch Lugs – 42mm (25 sets)
Apple Watch Lugs – 42mm (200 sets)
Avnet currently estimates a shipping lead time of 2 weeks for all lug sets and pentalobe screwdriver bits. Opening a commercial account with Avnet is required to complete the ordering process. Avnet’s customer service team will contact customers within 24-48 business hours to complete the ordering process.