Apple Business Chat has the enterprise talking about iMessage Apps

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Ten years ago, Steve Jobs announced the App Store. While its first titles were mostly games and novelties, soon major businesses began to recognize the power of mobile apps, shifting major investment from desktop PCs and web apps into iOS. This year, Apple is inciting new enterprise investment in iMessage Apps with Apple Business Chat–billed as an interactive, personal way to connect with customers while respecting their privacy.
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5 awesome new iPhone features in iOS 11.3 that no one is talking about

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iOS 11 Features

It seems like it took forever, but Apple finally released its hotly anticipated iOS 11.3 update on Thursday afternoon. Why would a software update other than iOS 12 be hotly anticipated, you ask? Despite merely being a “dot” update, this iOS 11.3 release includes a feature that iPhone users have been dying for: a way to disable Apple’s automatic iPhone throttling on devices with older batteries.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, it was revealed earlier this year that Apple had been secretly limiting performance on older iPhone models with batteries that had degraded to a certain point. This mechanism had been added to iOS last year in an effort to prevent inadvertent shutdowns (remember the “30% bug”?), but the fact that Apple did it without telling customers played right into the planned obsolescence conspiracy theories. You know, the people who say Apple secretly slows down older devices to get people to buy new ones. We’ve all laughed at those theories for years… and then it actually happened — though according to statements from Apple, its goal was to stop phones from shutting down rather than force upgrades.

Whatever the case, new battery health features and the ability to disable throttling are definitely the most talked about additions to Apple’s mobile software in iOS 11.3. There are some other things that have Apple fans buzzing as well, such as four new Animoji characters — lion, bear, dragon, and skull — and notifications when iOS wants your personal data. There’s much more to the iOS 11.3 update, though, and in this post we’ll discuss five cool new features that you might not know about.

Speed and performance improvements

If you have an older iPhone and you disable Apple’s throttling feature, you’re obviously going to notice huge improvements where UI speed and overall performance are concerned. As a quick recap, Lithium-Ion batteries lose capacity over time as they endure more and more charge cycles. Once the remaining capacity reaches a certain point, earlier versions of iOS automatically throttle performance as a workaround for the shutdown bug that was driving users crazy. Phones would remain throttled until the battery was replaced, which is why Apple slashed the price of its battery swap program as a mea culpa. Now, in iOS 11.3, users can disable throttling so their older iPhones are no longer slowed down.

Yes, we all know that feature has been added to iOS 11.3. What far fewer people are discussing, however, is that RAM management appears to have been improved in iOS 11.3, which is also a huge deal.

iOS 11 has been plagued by serious RAM management issues ever since it was released. You know those real-life speed tests YouTubers love, where iPhones would always crush the latest Android phone? Well iPhones have been losing those races lately because they don’t use RAM efficiently. Apps that should remain “frozen” in the background were being close completely when new apps were opened because there wasn’t enough available RAM to store their statuses.

It’s still early, but my own initial testing suggests that Apple has made some improvements to RAM management. A number of other iPhone users have emailed me to report the same, and I’ve seen discussions start to pop up online. I have found that apps often remain frozen in the background in instances where they would have previously been force closed. As a result, switching around from app to app is far quicker than it was in earlier versions of iOS 11. Needless to say, this is a big deal.

Augmented Reality enhancements

ARKit is still relatively new and buzzy, but no one is really talking about the nifty enhancements Apple introduced in iOS 11.3. Here are the relevant notes from the iOS 11.3 change log:

  • ARKit 1.5 allows developers to place virtual objects on vertical surfaces, such as walls and doors, as well as on horizontal surfaces.
  • Supports the detection and integration of images, such as movie posters or works, into augmented reality experiences.
  • The real-world view perceived through the camera has a higher resolution as part of the augmented reality experience.

There are countless things that developers can do with these enhancements. As someone with a horrible eye for visualizing decor, I personally can’t wait for good apps that let me see what different paintings and prints will look like on my walls.

App review sorting

This might not seem like a big deal at first glance, but it is:

  • Four options now allow you to sort the customer reviews on the product pages: the most useful, the most favorable, the most critical or the most recent.

In general, customer reviews in the App Store are really, really, really bad. People get frustrated over silly things or they don’t understand something that should be obvious, so they hop on the App Store and leave a 1-star review. In iOS 11.3, people can finally sort app reviews to weed out the junk and more easily find reviews that are actually useful.

Username and passwords autofill in apps

This change is also a huge deal that people are going to love. In earlier versions of iOS 11, Safari could store usernames and passwords to autofill them on websites where users need to log in. Now, this functionality is finally available in apps, as per the following note from the iOS 11.3 change log:

  • Automatic filling of usernames and passwords is now available in apps’ web views.

So, for example, when you click through a link to The Wall Street Journal in your Twitter app, you can auto-fill your login info rather than having to leave the app and dig your username and password out of a third-party password manager like 1Password.

Death of the auto-correct capitalization bug

This last one is my personal favorite, because this is a bug that has bothered me forever. In fact, this bug might have been in iOS since the very beginning. Here’s the item of interest from Apple’s iOS 11 release notes:

  • Fixes a problem that could cause the capitalization of the first letter of some words by the automatic correction feature.

I’ll describe it a bit better, and iPhone users will know exactly what I’m talking about.

Sometimes as you’re typing messages, you would make a spelling mistake or some other mistake that auto-correct didn’t catch. So, you would hit the backspace button a bunch of times until the word in question was deleted. Because of this bug, when you finished deleting the first letter of the word in question, iOS would automatically engage the caps button even though the word you deleted didn’t start with a capital letter. Then, when you began to type again, the first letter would be capitalized even though it shouldn’t be.

For example, you might delete “teh”in the middle of a sentence and then replace it with “The,” which shouldn’t have been capitalized. It was beyond annoying, but now it’s finally fixed.

Apple – BGR

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CNN’s Christiane Amanpour needed a break — so she traveled the world, talking about sex

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Amanpour got the idea for “Sex and Love Around the World” while brushing her teeth.

Celebrated international TV journalist Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s Chief International Correspondent, knows where she was when she decided to make a show about sex: Brushing her teeth, listening to a radio story about the Syrian refugee crisis.

“What I thought was, ‘Self, you have done all this extreme reporting in the most extreme parts of the world,’” Amanpour recalled on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. “‘You’ve watched and reported individuals cope with sniping and shelling and genocide and disease and famine and natural disasters. You’ve told that story.’”

“As I was listening to this radio thing, I thought, ‘What about women and girls?’” she added. “What about how you live, how you maintain your dignity, how you maintain your intimate relations, how do you keep your partnership going? How does a mother keep her daughter safe and not off to some forced marriage? Do they talk about sex, mothers and girls in villages in Afghanistan?”

The resulting series, which premieres tonight on CNN, pointedly avoided the TV-ready world of sex workers and adult film stars, focusing on regular people in places like Berlin, Delhi and Japan. Speaking with Recode’s Kara Swisher in front of a live audience at South By Southwest 2018, Amanpour said the experience of filming it convinced her that men are “liberated to respect us as human beings.”

“We cannot do this without the support of our male relatives, our male bosses, our male friends, whoever it might be,” she said. “This is not women against men, men against women. This has to be the beginning of a real joining at the hip, to win this struggle once and for all.”

On the new podcast, Amanpour also talked about the era of “false news,” which she stressed did not begin with Donald Trump. However, the American president has weaponized falsehoods to the detriment of journalism, she said.

“[He] has therefore lowered the bar of what’s acceptable, in terms of treating journalists and fact, and has also empowered the worst kinds of leaders around the world, who have no respect for independent journalism or the truth,” Amanpour said, “That’s all a problem. Now we understand that, we just have to keep up the good fight. We all need to be implicated in this, we all need to be involved in this.”

When Swisher noted that the leading social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have resisted calling themselves media companies, Amanpour was surprised.

“Well, it’s just bullshit, isn’t it?” she said of YouTube’s aversion to the label. “And it’s just lies. When you’re under attack, you have to figure out how to get out the whole and fortify your boundaries. I don’t understand why they keep saying that and why they keep letting stuff happen to them. How much bad publicity can they take? How many devastating consequences in society do they want to be blamed for?”

If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:

  • Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Lauren Goode, answers the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • And Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, including the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on Apple Podcasts — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara.


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[Bonus Round] Encompassed, Heroes Inc. 2, Will Hero, Space War, Pocket Knights 2, Heir of Light, and Talking Tom Camp

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

bonusroundWelcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn’t get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can’t wait for our weekly roundups, and don’t want to wade through a whole day’s worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we’ve got a thought-provoking VR puzzle game, a superhero management game, a roguelike platformer, a top-down space shooter, a 3D action RPG, a hero collection game, and a strategic fighting battle builder.

Read More

[Bonus Round] Encompassed, Heroes Inc. 2, Will Hero, Space War, Pocket Knights 2, Heir of Light, and Talking Tom Camp was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Android Police – Android news, reviews, apps, games, phones, tablets

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Comcast wants you to enjoy your TV by talking to your remote

Voice-Remote-Customer-600x400

As the largest cable and Internet TV service company around the nation, Comcast hopes to provide a more convenient and seamless TV experience for its users after the releasing of the X1 TV entertainment platform in 2014 and the X1 voice remote in the next year. According to Comcast, they have been receiving and analyzing over 3.4 billion voice commands in 2016, and hope to notch up the data to over 4 billion within this year. The company by far has distributed voice-control remotes to about 12 million homes. More than half of its residential Xfinity TV users are getting benefits from the new way to interact with their TV.

Just because how Comcast has massively changed the way people enjoy TV and shows, the National Academy of Television Arts & Science announced that Comcast has won an Emmy Award for Technology and Engineering, and this award specifically honors the work of the technology teams focusing on the Xfinity X1 Voice Remote and the innovative platform that powers it. The Emmy Award for “Contextual Voice Navigation for Discovering and Interacting with TV Content” will be given to the team at the Technology and Engineering Emmy Awards in Las Vegas on April 8, 2018.

Seamless experience makes TV access to all

The X1 voice-control remote consists of two modes: XR11 and XR15. Its major features and benefits include voice control, automatic pairing, aim anywhere feature, TV input control, and easy access to accessibility features such as Closed Captioning, video description, and voice guidance. Users are able to speak to a remote to change channels, search content, or record; then the voice signal will be transmitted to the Comcast cloud system via the set-top box.

Thanks to the enormous user base of Comcast, they created this cloud system that contains 50,000 computers to analyze countless voice commands from millions of users. Your voice command will be compiled and analyzed by artificial intelligence into text information. The interpreted text will send back to your set-top box and present on your television to finish the task. Though the whole process can seem very complicated, it is done in seconds with a real seamless experience. Moreover, because of this function of the remote, you will be able to hide your cable box from sight once it has been paired with the remote so your entertainment system will look cleaner and visually more enjoyable.

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Users could also enable the Talking Guide and Video Description feature so that the platform could cooperate with the remote to provide voice guidance that gives users with visual disabilities the freedom to independently explore and enjoy thousands of TV shows and movies. The talking guide will speak what is on the screen and include details to help users decide what to watch.

The X1 voice remote also has a lot of user-friendly details for general users as well. One of these details is the backlit keypad. When we pick up the remote, the keypad will light up automatically with a soft glow. This little detail will work especially perfect in a dark environment for the user.

Huge market with intense competition

Voice control and recognition technology first became popular in the 1990s. Nuance, as one of the most famous voice recognition companies around the world, released the first commercial product: DragonDictate. However, due to the limitation of the technology, most of the products back then couldn’t provide stable and reliable results to costumers. Though there were several companies focusing on this field afterward, the field did not get much attention until Apple released Siri for iPhone 4S. The positive user community response of iPhone makes voice control once again become the most exciting function for normal consumers. Thanks to the rapid development of machine learning, AI, and IoT in recent years, the technology and market competition of voice recognition becomes more and more intense.

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Before Apple released Siri, it had acquired the voice recognition company, Siri.Inc and the British start-up VocalIQ to keep optimizing its product. When Apple made the first step, Google also started to develop its own voice team by purchasing more companies and start-ups that specialized in related fields such as SayNow, Phonetic Arts and so on. Many tech giants have shown their interests in voice recognition technology and kept presenting competitive products. Alexa from Amazon, Siri from Apple, Google Now, and Microsoft’s Cortana are some of the representatives on the market. Most of these companies, however, are based on the software development under the larger-scale concept as IoT to update their service or provide hardware products like smart speakers.

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Distinct from these Silicon Valley giants, Comcast is relying on its own cable and Internet TV technologies, as well as the foundation of their long-developing business. The company is actually causing a deeper impact regarding voice control and recognition market. Reportedly, under the new 25Mbps broadband definition, Comcast now has more than half of all US broadband customers (56% of market share). Data from Statista also shows that Comcast shares almost one quarter (24.1%) of the paid-TV market of the US in 2017. Just because of these broader supports from the general user community, Comcast has been able to build that rich database in only two years and to offer better interaction and connection service between users and TV.

Though Amazon holds almost 70% of the voice-controlled speaker market, compared with Comcast’s voice-controlled cable and Internet TV service, those more or less geek style speakers are relatively less interesting to the normal users.

Another different aspect between Comcast and these tech giants is, depending on the development of smart television, Comcast will be able to share API to developers and cooperate with other service providers to make the X1 voice controlling system more Internet-based. Television, as one of the most crucial home appliances, is being used every day for every family around the world, so it is very likely to become the core of other smart appliances.

As the tool of interacting and controlling TV and services, X1 voice remote will be the most important factor in the entire smart home system. Maybe now, we are not able to check the weather, ask traffic condition, or order food via the X1 voice remote, but Comcast has been gradually getting prepared for the broader development of voice control technology. According to some reports, we did notice the efforts of Comcast’s ambitious plan.

This September, Comcast quietly introduced the Xfinity instant TV streaming beta service to its Internet customers that will allow subscribers to enjoy TV content across devices on multiple platforms seamlessly through the Xfinity App. The service begins at $ 18 per month. This new launching service obviously shows Comcast’s hope to build an entire entertainment system based on Internet-connected smart devices. No doubt, the voice then, would be the best way to link and operate all these smart devices.

Based on our official database, the total funding amount of the voice recognition market has achieved to over $ 86 million and has been valued at $ 6.19 billion in total revenue for this year. Research conducted by MarketsandMarkets shows that by 2023, the entire market is likely to reach over $ 18 billion at a growing speed of 19.8% between 2017 and 2023. When facing such a huge potential market, whoever has the bigger user communities, and also takes prompt action will mostly seize the advantages of the market. With benefits from the broader consumer base in cable and Internet TV field, Comcast is definitely the most guarded and competitive opponent that is very likely to succeed in the intense voice control and recognition market competition.

The post Comcast wants you to enjoy your TV by talking to your remote appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Recode Daily: Drugstore chain CVS will buy health insurer Aetna; Disney is talking again about buying 21st Century Fox assets

Plus: Lyft wants all its corporate employees to experience life as a driver, meet the man who will take over for Meg Whitman, and a secret Nintendo bar in Japan.

Drugstore giant CVS will buy Aetna, one of the biggest U.S. health insurers, for about $ 69 billion — one of the largest M&A transactions of the year. One of the biggest drivers of the deal is Amazon, which has been rumored to be preparing for an entry into the U.S. pharmacy business. The merger could transform CVS’s 9,700 pharmacy storefronts into community medical hubs for primary care and basic procedures. [The New York Times]

Disney is back in talks about buying some of 21st Century Fox’s assets, and Comcast is looking at the same stuff. The negotiations center on the 20th Century Fox movie and TV studio, international assets such as Fox’s 39 percent holding in U.K. satellite TV provider Sky PLC and India’s Star TV, along with some U.S. cable networks; Fox News and the Fox broadcast network are not included. [The Wall Street Journal]

Venture capitalist Fred Wilson warns of a slump in early-stage investing, which he says has slowed down substantially in the past few years. There are going to be fewer deals, Wilson says, but those are going to be bigger deals. [Fred Wilson / A VC]

Meet the man who is about to take the reins as CEO of HPE when Meg Whitman resigns in January. Antonio Neri, who has been with HP for 22 years, brings tech chops to a company in need of hit products. [Rachael King / The Wall Street Journal]

Top stories from Recode

Video will make up 75 percent of mobile traffic in five years.

That’s up from just over half of all traffic now.

Cristiano Ronaldo had nine out of the 10 most-liked sports-related Instagrams in 2017.

Beyonce took the No. 1 spot for the most liked-photo overall.

Saturday Night Livesexual harassment song showcases women’s daily nightmare.

“Welcome to Hell.”

Indian ride-hail player Ola just launched its own dockless bike-sharing service.

Using the same app as they would to hail a ride, Ola users can find the nearest dockless bike.

Learning about Silicon Valley in the 1970s is “like watching the Big Bang,” historian Leslie Berlin says.

On the latest episode of Recode Decode, Berlin talks about her book “Troublemakers,” which tells the stories of seven men and women who made the tech industry what it is today.

This is cool

Inside a secret, members-only Nintendo bar in an undisclosed location in Japan.


Recode – All

Rob Goldstone, the music publicist who connected Russians to the Trump campaign, is talking again

Remember him?

Rob Goldstone is back.

The British music publicist who brokered a meeting between the Trump campaign and four Russians in the summer of 2016, then became famous last summer for doing so, is talking again.

Goldstone went quiet once emails between him and Donald Trump Jr surfaced in July. Now he given his first interview since the story broke. It’s with the The Times of London, and in it Goldstone explains how and why he arranged the meeting, while downplaying its significance.

Goldstone now says his outreach to Donald Trump’s son, where he said there was “very high level and sensitive information” about Hillary Clinton available as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump,” was full of “puffery”.

His intent, Goldstone says, was to arrange a meeting with the Trump family and his client Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop star whose father is oligarch Aras Agalarov. He says he didn’t think much about the language he used to approach the Trump campaign, or the content of the meeting, which he attended.

I’ll leave it to professional Trump followers — including Robert Mueller, whom Goldstone says he plans to talk to — to interpret Goldstone’s commentary. Though it seems to me the key part of the incident is the Trump campaign’s willingness to meet Russians who said they had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

As I read it, that includes Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who in Goldstone’s telling was “furious” during the meeting — because Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya didn’t provide information about Clinton. Goldstone: “I believe that she practised a classic bait-and-switch. She got in there on one pretext and really wanted to discuss something else.”

Back to Goldstone: He tells the Times he’s been hanging out in Asia, as part of a previously planned year-long trip around the world. He says he’s as surprised as anyone that he has a featured role in the ongoing Trump/Russia story: “Look, I’m quite loud, I’m quite brash and openly gay on social media,” he says. “I don’t exactly fit the mould.”

About that social media part: Until today, Goldstone seems to have clammed up on Facebook, where he used to post lots of selfies of himself in ridiculous hats. But his account is still up and running, and occasionally his friends tag him in posts: There is a series of posts from this fall featuring restaurants in Thailand. (I’m Facebook friends with Goldstone, and when I saw them I assumed the tags were jokes, because why would Goldstone want people to know where he was if he wasn’t talking in public? But now it looks like they were real, after all.)

Now Goldstone is using the account again — to promote himself. Today’s post is a video of someone flipping through a print edition of Goldstone’s profile, with this caption: “Today — after many months — I got my voice back and told my story exclusively to the U.K. Sunday Times Magazine.”

Presumably Goldstone will have more Facebook posts to come, when he publishes a book he says he’s writing. Working title: “Useful Idiot: How an Email Trumped My Life.”


Recode – All

Hacker pieces together Alexa-powered talking skull


Some people see Amazon’s Alexa as a helpful assistant who exists to make dimming the lights, listening to jazz, and getting a weather report as simple as speaking a command. Other people see the AI as part of an ongoing experiment involving the creation of a monster made from a Raspberry Pi computer, an Echo speaker, and the skull of a witch who was burned at the stake for heresy. Just kidding, the skull looks like it’s made of plastic. The fact that it isn’t real doesn’t stop it from being legitimately scary, starting from the 25 second mark, in…

This story continues at The Next Web
The Next Web

Jaguar thinks people will be talking to steering wheels in 30 years

Maybe we won’t own cars in the future, but we may still own parts of them. And British automaker Jaguar Land Rover hopes it’s able to keep some hands on steering wheels.

While Daimler’s Smart Vision EQ concept gets rid of the steering wheel, Jaguar Land Rover imagines a future where the steering wheel is the only part of a car people own. The company announced a concept for a standalone steering wheel, called Sayer, that will be revealed on Thursday in London.

Unlike the dumb wheel in your current car, Jaguar Land Rover wants Sayer to be a “trusted companion” in your home, like a butler or a corgi. The company imagines you will talk to your AI-powered steering wheel, and that…

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