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15
May

Google Rumored to Launch Standalone ‘Google Assistant’ App on iOS With Chat and Voice Controls


Google is planning to launch its smart AI helper Google Assistant on iOS sometime “soon” as its own standalone app, according to sources speaking to Android Police. The rumor is swirling ahead of Google’s annual I/O Conference, which will run this week from May 17 to May 19 in California.

According to the sources, the specifics of Google’s plans for Assistant on iOS remain unclear as of now, but the app is predicted to combine the chatbot-like features of Google Allo with voice controls found on Android smartphones.

More solid details about the Google Assistant iOS app point towards a United States-only launch, and an official announcement coming “in fairly short order.”

According to a trusted source, Google plans to announce that the Google Assistant will be launching on iOS soon as a standalone app. The announcement could come as soon as Google’s I/O conference this week, but it’s unclear exactly what Google’s plans are at this time. The app would likely feature a blend of the “chat” style functionality in the Google Allo version of Assistant and the voice-controlled version found on Android, but again, details are scant.

We do know that the Assistant for iOS will only be available in the US at launch, and that Google plans to make the announcement in fairly short order. I/O would be a pretty ideal venue for such a launch, as Assistant’s SDK was just made available to developers late last month. Bringing the Assistant to the world’s second-largest mobile OS would likely encourage more developers to integrate with the app’s functionality.

Microsoft has launched its own smart assistant Cortana on iOS in the past, allowing more users to gain access to the assistant than if it remained exclusive to the company’s own devices. If Google Assistant does come to iPhone and iPad, it’ll mark a continued expansion of the AI, after Google first launched Assistant on Pixel devices, Google Home, the Google Allo app, and then expanded to Android smartphones.

Tags: Google, Google Assistant
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15
May

Audio Editing Software Sound Forge Pro Mac Gets First Update in 3 Years


Magix today announced a re-release and update for the Mac version of its popular audio editing software Sound Forge Pro, marking the first update to the software in the last three years.

Magix bought Sound Forge Pro, which was previously owned by Sony, in May of 2016 alongside much of Sony’s creative software suite. Since then, Magix has been working on an update for the Mac version of the software, and it’s finally ready to debut.

Sound Forge Pro Mac is designed to allow users to record and edit high-quality audio, with support for recording 32 simultaneous channels of 64-bit 192kHz audio. It features one-touch recording tools, pro-level editing workflows, and support for a range of plug-ins, all bundled into a polished interface.

The newest version of the software, Sound Forge Pro Mac 3, offers support for new iZotope plug-ins, industry-standard metering, and added signal and effect processing with Noise Gate, Reverb, Delay, Chorus, Flange, and more.

It also includes improved audio restoration, dynamic rendering for project files, preview for Mastered for iTunes versions, and support for a wider range of video formats.

Going forward, Magix also plans to introduce Sound Forge Audio Studio 12, which will debut during the third quarter of 2017.

Sound Forge Pro Mac 3 can be purchased from the Magix website for $299.99.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Magix.

Tags: Magix, Sound Forge Pro
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15
May

Lyft and Waymo Announce Partnership That Will Bring Autonomous Vehicle Program to Mainstream


After opening up a self-driving car program to the public in Phoenix, Arizona last month, Alphabet-owned Waymo has now officially partnered with ride-hailing app Lyft (via The New York Times). The two will work together in order “to bring autonomous vehicle technology into the mainstream” by launching various pilot projects and helping one another to develop products for the mass market.

Like its rival Uber, Lyft has been looking into autonomous vehicle technology recently, but the company lacked extensive research and development it needed to launch a self-driving car program on a wide scale. Waymo has that tech, but doesn’t have the reach of Lyft, which currently operates in approximately 300 cities in the United States. In a statement, Lyft said that the partnership will help forward a “shared vision” that each company has of a self-driving future.

As The New York Times pointed out, it also suggests that Waymo thinks its self-driving-car technology “has moved past the research stage and is ready to be applied commercially.”

“Waymo holds today’s best self-driving technology, and collaborating with them will accelerate our shared vision of improving lives with the world’s best transportation,” a Lyft spokeswoman said in a statement.

A Waymo spokesman said, “Lyft’s vision and commitment to improving the way cities move will help Waymo’s self-driving technology reach more people, in more places.”

The specifics of what type of vehicles and products that drivers and riders might see from the collaboration were left unconfirmed, as was a launch window for any related self-driving program. Waymo said that its early, closed test of self-driving cars in Phoenix was a success, which led to the company’s decision to expand the test to 600 self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans.

Uber has tested and faced trouble in the autonomous vehicle space in the past, resulting in the removal of its self-driving cars from the roads in California as well as a lawsuit aimed at the company, filed by Waymo. U.S. federal prosecutors are investigating Waymo’s claim that former Google employee Anthony Levandowski stole 14,000 confidential files, including data on Waymo’s LiDAR system, which the company called “one of the most powerful parts” of its self-driving technology.

Levandowski left Google’s self-driving project for Otto, a self-driving trucking company that Uber acquired for more than $680 million last year. U.S. district judge William Alsup partially granted Waymo’s bid for an injunction as the case remains ongoing, and could ultimately roadblock any further progress Uber attempts to make in its autonomous vehicle efforts.

Apple is believed to be working on an autonomous driving system as well, with an end-of-2017 deadline for the team to “prove the feasibility” of the tech, so the company can then decide what direction it wants to take in the self-driving market.

Tags: Lyft, Waymo
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15
May

Apple Releases iOS 10.3.2 With Multiple Bug Fixes and Security Updates


Apple today released iOS 10.3.2 to the public, following several weeks of testing and four betas. iOS 10.3.2 comes six weeks after the release of iOS 10.3, a major update that introduced a new Find My AirPods feature and Apple File System. It also comes more than a month after iOS 10.3.1, a security update.

iOS 10.3.2 is a free over-the-air update available to all users with a compatible device. It can also be downloaded and installed on iOS devices using iTunes on a Mac or PC.

There were no outward-facing changes or new features discovered during the beta testing process, aside from a small fix for SiriKit car commands, which are now working as intended.

It appears iOS 10.3.2 focuses primarily on bug fixes, security enhancements, and other minor operating system improvements.

iOS 10 will soon be followed by iOS 11, which we will see introduced at Apple’s June Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California. We still have several months to go until iOS 11 is released to the public, so there are likely to be continued iOS 10 updates.

Related Roundup: iOS 10
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15
May

Apple Releases tvOS 10.2.1 for Fourth-Generation Apple TV


Apple today released a new update for tvOS, the operating system designed to run on the fourth-generation Apple TV. tvOS 10.2.1 over one month after the release of tvOS 10.2, an update that introduced scrolling improvements.

The tvOS 10.2.1 update can be downloaded on the fourth-generation Apple TV using the Settings app. Go to System –> Software Update to install. For those who have automatic software updates turned on, the Apple TV will be upgraded to tvOS 10.2.1 automatically.

No new features or design changes were discovered during the tvOS 10.2.1 beta testing period, but as a 10.2.x update, it’s likely to focus on bug fixes and other under-the-hood performance improvements.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Don’t Buy)
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15
May

Apple Releases Minor watchOS 3.2.2 Update


Apple today released a new software update for the Apple Watch, upgrading watchOS 3.2 to watchOS 3.2.2. The watchOS 3.2.2 update comes more than one month after the release of watchOS 3.2, an update that introduced Theater Mode.

watchOS 3.2.2 can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General -> Software Update. To install the update, the Apple Watch must have 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the charger, and it must be in range of the iPhone.

An iPhone running iOS 10 or later is required to download the new software, but it is available for all Apple Watch models.

During the beta testing period for watchOS 3.2.2, no major changes or feature tweaks were discovered, so watchOS 3.2.2 appears to focus mainly on performance improvements and bug fixes.

watchOS 3 will soon be succeeded by a new version of watchOS, which we expect to see introduced at the June Worldwide Developers Conference.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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15
May

Apple Releases macOS Sierra 10.12.5 With Headphones Audio Fix and Enhanced Mac App Store Compatibility


Apple today released macOS Sierra 10.12.5, the fifth update to the macOS Sierra operating system that first launched in September of 2016. macOS Sierra 10.12.5 comes more than one month after the release of macOS Sierra 10.12.4, an update that introduced Night Shift for Mac. Five betas of macOS Sierra 10.12.5 were seeded to developers and public beta testers ahead of the update’s release.

macOS Sierra 10.12.5 is a free update for all customers who have a compatible machine. The update can be downloaded using the Software Update function in the Mac App Store.

No feature additions, bug fixes, or other changes were found in macOS Sierra 10.12.5 during the beta testing process, and developers and public beta testers were only told that the update “improves the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac.” According to Apple’s release notes, the following bug fixes and enhancements are included:

– Fixes an issue where audio may stutter when played through USB headphones
– Enhances compatibility of the Mac App Store with future software updates
– Adds support for media-free installation of Windows 10 Creators Update using Boot Camp

macOS Sierra 10.12.5 will soon be followed by a new version of macOS, which we expect to see introduced at Apple’s June Worldwide Developers Conference. The new version of macOS will be in testing for several months, however, so Apple is likely to continue updating macOS Sierra.

Related Roundup: macOS Sierra
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15
May

Samsung Z4: Everything you need to know


Why it matters to you

Samsung is proving Tizen extends beyond TVs and smartwatches, and is driving down the cost of smartphones for first-time buyers as well.

Samsung has announced the Z4, its latest smartphone with the Tizen operating system onboard, rather than Google Android software it uses on the Galaxy S8 and most of its other phones. Tizen is its in-house, open-source operating system, and version 3.0 was released at the beginning of the year. The Samsung Z4 is the first phone to use it. Don’t expect the Z4 to challenge the Galaxy S8 though. It’s described as a device for, “first time smartphone users,” by Samsung’s mobile president DJ Koh, due to its ease of use and low cost.

Here’s everything you need to know about it.

Samsung Z4

Sure enough, the Z4 isn’t a massive powerhouse. The screen — which is covered in a curved 2.5D glass panel, an unusual feature at this price — measures 4.5 inches and has a 480 x 800 pixel resolution, smaller and lower resolution than early rumors predicted, while the processor is an unnamed 1.5GHz quad-core chip. It’s accompanied by 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage space, and a MicroSD card slot for cards up to 128GB capacity.

It has a pair of cameras, both of which have 5 megapixels and an f/2.2 aperture, plus a collection of fun camera modes. Interestingly, both have flash units — a dual LED flash on the back, and a single LED flash on the selfie camera around the front. There’s good news on the connectivity front, as the Z4 has 4G LTE, VoLTE, and even VoWiFi if it’s available on the chosen network.

The 143-gram device has a 2,050mAh battery inside, and will come in either single-SIM or dual-SIM configurations, depending on where it’s released. Samsung will sell the Z4 in black, gold, and silver color schemes.

Tizen 3.0

What about Tizen 3.0 — what’s new inside? The bulk of Tizen 3.0’s new features focus on performance. According to early developer notes, the update packs Khronos’ Vulkan graphics API, which minimizes overhead and reduces CPU load, and the speedy open-source web runtime Crosswalk. There’s support for 64-bit Intel and ARM CPUs, too, which Samsung says should boost CPU-intensive apps like video editors and games.

That’s not all that’s new in Tizen 3.0. It supports multiple users on a single device, and voice commands via S Voice. And new recognition APIs support facial detection and image recognition. Samsung’s also improved Tizen’s security features. It introduces a “new security model” that simplifies “policy management,” an “anti-virus framework” and “privacy guard” that aim to ensure rogue applications don’t gain access to personal information.

That’s encouraging news in light of an April report that said Tizen contains as many as 40 unknown bugs, or zero-days, that could allow a cyber criminal to hack devices without needing to physically access them. One vulnerability involving TizenStore, Tizen’s app store, could let a hacker pack malicious code in a software update. In response to the report, Samsung said it was working on addressing the exploits. And based on what we’ve seen of Tizen 3.0, that certainly seems to be the case.

What makes the Z4 and Tizen 3.0 easy to use? Samsung says it’s easy to add shortcuts to frequently used features, which can be activated without returning to the home screen. These include call features, the torch app, and music functions. A battery manager helps stretch out standby time by letting you tailor power consumption needs to your expected use. Additionally, gesture recognition and voice control features for the camera.

Where to buy the Samsung Z4

Samsung’s Tizen phones are primarily aimed at developing markets, where its Galaxy Android phones are often prohibitively expensive. The Z4 has been announced for India, where it will go on sale May 19, at an equivalent local cost of around $90. Additional markets will be confirmed in the future, but don’t expect the U.S. to be among them.

Article originally published May 1. Updated on May 15 by Andy Boxall: Added in official news of the Z4, its price, and specifications.




15
May

Best app deals of the day! 6 paid iPhone apps for free for a limited time


Everyone likes apps, but sometimes the best ones are a bit expensive. Now and then, developers make paid apps free for a limited time, but you have to snatch them up while you have the chance. Here are the latest and greatest apps on sale in the iOS App Store.

These apps normally cost money, and this sale lasts for a limited time only. If you go to the App Store and it says the app costs money, that means the deal has expired and you will be charged. 

More: 200 Awesome iPhone Apps | The best Android apps for almost any occasion

Phraseaholic

Phraseaholic makes expanding your vocabulary in French, Spanish, and Russian convenient and fun. Every day, a new, interesting phrase will be available for you to learn with phonetics and audio.

Available on:

iOS

Multi Translate

Multi Translate is a professional translator and interpreter app able to translate any language into three others at the same time.

Available on:

iOS

Weather Now

Beautiful 3D images of our planet may draw your attention for so long that you forget that the application has other useful features, allowing you easy access to precise, global weather information.

Available on:

iOS

Noizio

Noizio is an app that will drown out the noise of the street and allow you to concentrate on the work at hand, increasing your productivity. It’s an ambient sound equalizer app for creating a mixture of ambient sounds available for iOS.

Available on:

iOS

Expenses OK

Expenses OK is the fastest way to track your expenses. Just enter data in the widget of the app and see how you’re spending your money.

Available on:

iOS

Time Manager

Time Manager is an easy way to keep track of your daily activities. With one touch you can access all your common tasks and edit them at any time.

Available on:

iOS




15
May

Volvos will soon get an Android infotainment system (but it’s not Android Auto)


Why it matters to you

You may be aware of Android Auto, Google’s in-car infotainment system, but soon you might see a different Android-based system in Volvo’s cars.

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Google is looking to get its Android offerings into as many devices as possible, and today made an announcement that should help it achieve that. The company has announced a partnership with Volvo at Google I/O 2017 that will see the two developing a new in-car infotainment system to be implemented into Volvo’s cars within the next two years.

It’s important to note that Volvo cars are not getting Android Auto — rather, they’ll eventually be getting a Volvo-specific infotainment system simply based on Android and that works with Android phones.

“We are making an important strategic step with the Google partnership. Google’s platform and services will enhance the user experience by enabling more personalization possibilities, while Android will offer increased flexibility from a development perspective,” said Henrik Green, Volvo’s senior vice president for research and development, in a statement.

While it’s not yet known exactly what apps will be able to run on the new operating system, Volvo promises that the large catalog of apps found on the Google Play Store, by Google, Volvo, and third-party developers, will help offer a more connected in-car experience.

The infotainment system isn’t the only product of the partnership between Google and Volvo — Volvo also announced that newer Volvo models will be getting Google Local Search, which will help users find local businesses and locations straight from their infotainment systems. Local Search will be rolling out to existing Volvo cars through an update to Volvo’s Sensus Navigation.

More details about Google and Volvo’s new infotainment system will be announced at Google I/O, and it will be interesting to see how it evolves. It also raises the question about what this means for Android Auto. It would be surprising to see Google ditch its own self-developed infotainment system, but it’s clear the company is very comfortable exploring other ways to bring its services to cars.




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