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Posts tagged ‘iPhone’

8
Dec

Apple’s AI Team Working on LiDAR, Smaller Neural Networks, Image Processing and More


At an exclusive invitation-only lunch at an AI conference in Barcelona, Spain that took place on December 6, Apple head of machine learning Russ Salakhutdinov and other Apple employees talked about their work on artificial intelligence.

Quartz has obtained some of the slides that Salakhutdinov used during the presentation, giving us a glimpse at the advancements Apple is making in AI and machine learning.

Based on one of the slides, topics at the lunch were wide-ranging, including health and vital signs, volumetric detection of LiDAR, prediction with structured outputs, image processing and colorization, intelligent assistant and language modeling, and activity recognition.

One of the slides, related to Apple’s LiDAR work, featured a picture of two cars, but Apple engineers did not mention cars or any automotive research, such as self-driving vehicles. Another slide focused on Apple’s image recognition algorithms, which are able to process 3,000 images per second, twice as fast as Google’s capabilities. Apple’s work on smaller neural networks that can run directly on devices was also covered.

Another slide focused on Apple’s ability to build neural networks that are 4.5 times smaller than the originals with no loss in accuracy, and twice the speed. The technique, not unknown in AI research, uses a larger, more robust neural network to teach another network the decisions it would make in a variety of situations. The “student” network then has a streamlined version of the “teacher” network’s knowledge. In essence, it predicts the larger network’s predictions about a given photo or audio sample.

The discussion also covered some of Apple’s research focus areas:

– Deep generative models
– Model compression
– Holistic scene understanding
– Model reliability
– Deep reinforcement learning
– Unsupervised learning, transfer learning, one-shot learning
– Reasoning, attention & memory
– Efficient training on distributed computing

Going forward, Apple plans to allow its AI and machine learning researchers to start publishing papers, marking its willingness to contribute to the research community. Apple has always been notoriously secretive, but allowing researchers to publish could attract top talent that would not otherwise want to join the company.

A full rundown of the slides from Apple’s presentation can be seen over at Quartz.
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7
Dec

An app update turns this smart pen into a 3D scanner


A smartpen that could already digitally measure pretty much anything will soon also be able to scan objects in 3D. Developed by Instrumments, a company made up of former Misfit creators, the impressive 01 pen will be getting a new app, adding the 3D functionality next Spring. This Pro App will enable users to roll the 01 pen over 3D objects, capturing contours and wirelessly logging and sharing the 3D data.

The update will come as a welcome relief for 3D artists, as it looks to make the long and painful process of modeling 3D objects significantly easier.

Alongside this new technology, the company has announced a variation on its 01 pen scanner, the 01Go. $50 cheaper than the 01, the 01Go works in the same way but does away with the pen functionality, making it a noticeably smaller and more portable scanner. Releasing on March 1st 2017, the 01Go is normally priced at $99, but is now available on their Indiegogo for $79 for a limited time.

The 01 launched in November for $149, thanks to Instrumments’ successful Indiegogo campaign, and is shipping now to early backers. While you can just purchase the 01 and 01Go from Instrumments website, backing the device on Indiegogo is the better option, granting you five-year free access to the Pro app. The Lite app will be available to everyone for free starting December 10 on both the Google Play store and the App Store. If you make the plunge, however, you can expect to part with extra cash for accessories like sleeves, ink, lead refills, and batteries, which are also available from Instrumments website.

Source: InstruMMents

7
Dec

Nearly half of Flickr’s photo uploads come from smartphones


It’s no secret that Flickr is popular with phone-toting photographers, but it’s now reaching a tipping point. The Yahoo-owned image service has posted its year in review, and it notes that 48 percent of photo uploads now come from smartphones. That’s a big jump over the 39 percent from 2015 — it’s now clear that you’re in the minority if you uploaded shots from a dedicated camera. The numbers for conventional cams aren’t exactly pretty.

The DSLR crowd was the hardest hit, as its representation tumbled from 31 percent in 2015 to 21 percent this year. Point-and-shoot use was down, too, to 21 percent from 25. About the only dedicated camera category left untouched was mirrorless, although its 3 percent is nothing to crow about.

When it comes to whose devices are at the top, it’s a familiar story. Of all photos with camera data attached, 47 percent were uploaded from Apple hardware — 8 out of the top 10 devices were iPhones. Canon was a distant second at 24 percent, and it accounted for the two other devices in the top ranks (the EOS 5D Mark II and Mark III). Nikon was third at 18 percent, leaving everyone else to fight for just 11 percent of the pie.

Flickr doesn’t usually elaborate on these stats, although you can point to a few factors behind the mobile shift. For one, smartphone image quality is quickly reducing the pressure to use dedicated cameras. DSLRs and mirrorless cams still take better photos overall, but a well-made smartphone shooter is frequently good enough for pleasing street shots and flower macros. The convenience of posting from your phone (especially with improving cellular data speeds) is hard to top even when a camera has WiFi, too. As for Apple’s dominance of the charts? Some of it comes through the Flickr integration that iOS has had for years, but it’s also helped by the iPhone’s popularity in the US and reputation for good (though not always best) photo quality.

Source: Flickr Blog

7
Dec

Chinese Consumer Group Complains of Spontaneous iPhone 6 Fires, but Apple Blames ‘Physical Damage’


As Apple’s iPhone 6s is facing scrutiny in China over a battery issue that causes unexpected shutdowns, a Chinese consumer group has complained of a separate problem with the iPhone 6 – spontaneous battery fires.

According to the The Wall Street Journal, the Shanghai Consumer Council says it received eight reports from Chinese users claiming their smartphones spontaneously caught on fire, but Apple inspected the devices and says “external physical damage” is to blame.

Apple said it analyzed the affected phones and found that the fires followed “external physical damage.” The company encouraged customers with issues to visit an Apple store or contact company support.

“We appreciate that customers are more concerned than ever about the performance and safety of batteries in their mobile devices,” Apple said in a statement.

Given that the iPhone 6 has been available since 2014 and there have been no notable reports of device fires, Apple’s physical damage explanation rings true. With the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which had a true faulty part leading to fires, reports from around the world started flooding in just weeks after the device was released.

Complaints from Chinese consumer groups over iPhone 6s battery problems led Apple to introduce a repair program for iPhone 6s devices that unexpectedly shut down, and Apple has gone out of its way in China to explain the issue and assure customers that it is not safety related.

Apple’s repair program will see it providing new batteries to customers with iPhone 6s devices primarily manufactured between September and October of 2015. Just today, Apple expanded the repair program to encompass a small number of customers “outside of the affected range” who are also experiencing shutdowns.

On its Chinese site, Apple explained that the iPhone 6s shutdown issue was caused by exposure to “controlled ambient air” during the manufacturing process, which caused the battery to degrade faster than a normal battery.

Next week, Apple plans to introduce a diagnostic tool that will allow it to gather information and better manage battery performance levels to prevent shutdowns. With iOS 10.2 nearly ready to launch, it’s likely the diagnostic capability will be included in that update.

As Apple’s third largest market after the United States and Europe, China has become increasingly important to Apple over the last several years. Apple has made an effort to introduce a number of retail stores in the country, and it has made a $1 billion investment in Chinese ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing.

Despite its efforts, Apple has struggled in China. In Apple’s third quarter earnings report, revenue in China was down 33 percent year over year, dropping from $13 billion in 3Q 2015 to $8.9 billion in 3Q 2016.

Chinese officials have said Apple is “too deeply established in the country’s core industries,” and along with recent trouble over its iPhones, Apple has also struggled with its iTunes Movie and iBooks Store in China, which were shut down by Chinese administrators in April.

Related Roundup: iPhone 6s
Tag: China
Buyer’s Guide: iPhone (Buy Now)
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7
Dec

Apple’s Single Sign-On Service Now Live


Apple today officially launched Single Sign-on, the service designed to allow cable subscribers to sign in once with their cable credentials to gain access to all cable-restricted content in iOS and tvOS apps.

Single Sign-on is limited to the United States, and according to a support document, is available for the following providers: CenturyLink Prism, DirecTV, Dish, GVTC, GTA, Hawaiian Telecom, Hotwire, MetroCast, and Sling.

While Single Sign-on was introduced and tested in the tvOS 10.1 and iOS 10.2 betas, the feature was remotely released today to all iOS 10 and tvOS 10 devices. Using Single Sign-on does not require one of the betas, and is instead immediately available to all iPhone and Apple TV users running iOS 10 or tvOS 10.

With Single Sign-on, customers with a supported provider will use the Settings options in iOS or tvOS to sign in with their cable credentials. From then on, when accessing a supported app that requires a cable subscription, the app will ask to use the saved sign-on credentials.

To get to Single Sign-on on iOS devices, open the Settings app and scroll down to “TV Providers.” The process is the same on the Apple TV – open the Settings app and choose the TV Providers option to sign in.

Most cable channels and content providers offer individual apps on the Apple TV and iOS devices, but still require cable authentication before users can access content. Prior to Single Sign-on, customers were required to enter their credentials in each individual app, a frustrating and time-consuming process.

Single Sign-on will play a key part in the upcoming “TV” app that’s set to debut in iOS 10.2 and tvOS 10.1. The TV app serves as sort of an Apple-designed television guide that lets customers find new content and keep track of what they were watching across multiple devices.

At the current time, Single Sign-on is available to a limited number of customers, but its availability will expand as Apple signs the necessary deals with cable providers. Single Sign-on also requires apps to implement support for the feature, and many apps have not yet introduced Single Sign-on support.
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7
Dec

Apple’s Support Site Now Lets Customers Schedule Repairs at Apple Authorized Providers


Apple recently made a quiet update to its Apple Support site, introducing a new feature that allows customers to find and schedule repairs for iPhones, Macs, and iPads from Apple Authorized Service Providers.

When troubleshooting a product, choosing “Bring in for Repair” after going through Apple’s support prompts now brings up all repair centers near a customer, including Apple’s own retail stores and retail locations where customers can get repairs from Apple Authorized Service Providers.

In addition to including all nearby Apple Authorized Service Providers, the new repair site also lists availability, so customers can find the fastest repairs and get same-day service in many locations. There’s even an option to book a repair right from the site.

applerepairsappointment
Most of the time, getting a repair appointment at an Apple Store’s Genius Bar requires a wait of several days to a week, while Apple Authorized Service Providers have much more open availability.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, local Apple Stores do not have repair appointments until next week, but third-party repair shops like Best Buy, Clickaway, Mobile Kangaroo, and Computercare have appointments today or tomorrow.

Apple Authorized Service Providers have been officially authorized by Apple to perform repairs on Apple devices. Both AppleCare repairs and out-of-warranty repair services are available, but many customers may not be aware of local options outside of an Apple Store.

Apple’s new focus on third-party service providers may provide some much-needed relief for Apple retail stores that are unable to keep up with repair requests and it will ensure customers are able to get faster service.
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6
Dec

Supreme Court sides with Samsung over Apple patent penalty


The Supreme Court ruled that Samsung’s violation of design patents made by Apple can only involve components, not entire products. This could mean a severely reduced penalty that the Korean company will have to pay… and a rare bit of good news for the troubled company.

Samsung was facing a penalty of $548 million for imitating elements of the iPhone’s design — this itself was reduced from an initial charge of nearly $1 billion. However, during the company’s most recent appeal, the justices said that the patent infringement could affect just a component of the phones, like its design or appearance, rather than the sum total of the device. The Justices voted unanimously 8-0 in Samsung’s favor. Chief Justice John Roberts noted Samsung did not infringe on “all the chips and wires” during the case in October.

The case (still) isn’t over. Now it will return to a lower court to determine a recalculated portion of profits that Samsung will have to pay to Apple — something that part of the Supreme Court noted wouldn’t be easy. “The term ‘article of manufacture’ is broad enough to embrace both a product sold to a consumer and a component of that product whether sold separately or not,” Justice Sotomayor wrote.

Source: Reuters, USA Today

6
Dec

Apple Preparing Diagnostic Tool in New iOS Update as iPhone 6s Battery Issue Expands


A few days after issuing a message on its Chinese website regarding the battery shutdown issue plaguing some iPhone 6s users, Apple today added a new message onto the site. The update reiterates on the cause of the issue — some batteries were exposed to “controlled ambient air” during manufacturing — while also expanding the scope of the affected range of customers facing the problem.

In the original message, Apple noted that “a small number” of iPhone 6s smartphones made in September and October of 2015 were facing unexpected shutdowns due to their prolonged exposure to controlled ambient air. Now, Apple said that it’s discovered a few customers “outside of the affected range” who have also been facing unexpected shutdowns of their iPhone 6s devices.

A small number of customers outside of the affected range have also reported an unexpected shutdown. Some of these shutdowns can occur under normal conditions in order for the iPhone to protect its electronics. In an effort to gather more information, we are including additional diagnostic capability in an iOS software update which will be available next week. This will allow us to gather information over the coming weeks which may potentially help us improve the algorithms used to manage battery performance and shutdown. If such improvements can be made, they will be delivered in future software updates.

As it continues to face new issues with the “small number” of affected customers, Apple is preparing an iOS update that it said will introduce an “additional diagnostic capability” so the company can gather information and improve its ability to manage the battery performance levels and untimely shutdowns. The update, presumably iOS 10.2, will be made available sometime next week, and Apple mentioned that if any improvements and solutions are discovered thanks to the diagnostic tool, “they will be delivered in future software updates.”

For those who think their iPhone 6s is affected, Apple launched a repair program last month offering free battery replacements for any iPhone 6s manufactured between September and October 2015 which are experiencing shutdowns. There’s also a new tool so customers can enter their iPhone’s serial number to see if it’s eligible for the replacement program.

Related Roundup: iPhone 6s
Buyer’s Guide: iPhone (Buy Now)
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3
Dec

Foxconn exec faces 10 years for stealing 5,700 iPhones


A senior manager at Foxconn, the company that makes Apple’s iPhone handsets, is facing 10 years incarceration after being charged with the theft of 5,700 iPhones valued at nearly $1.5 million. According to AsiaOne, the Taiwanese testing department manager, identified only by his family name Tsai, coerced eight of his subordinates to smuggle iPhone 5 and 5Ses out of the Foxconn Shenzhen plant between 2013 and 2014.

Apparently, these phones were designated for testing, rather than sale, which could explain how the gang managed to take so many without tipping off security. However, an internal audit conducted earlier this year outed the group.

Via: Business Insider

Source: AsiaOne

3
Dec

Apple Store App for iOS Updated With Rich Notifications, One-Tap Apple Watch Purchases


Apple today updated its Apple Store app for iOS to version 4.1, adding support for rich notifications and expanding the functionality of the Apple Store app on the Apple Watch.

Rich notifications, available in iOS 10, deliver more information than a standard notification and in many cases, are interactive, so you can do more without having to unlock your phone.

In addition to supporting iOS 10’s new notification system, the Apple Store app for Apple Watch has been updated with a new feature that allows customers to make one-tap purchases from their “Favorites” list.

Items added to the Favorites list on iOS or the web will be visible on the Apple Watch and can be purchased by tapping on them on the Apple Watch. Apple Pay is used to make the purchase, so a device with Apple Pay and an available credit or debit card is required.

According to Apple’s release notes, today’s update also includes unspecified improvements and performance enhancements.

The Apple Store app can be downloaded from the iOS App Store for free. [Direct Link]
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