Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has given a sneak peek into Jarvis, the Iron Man inspired artificial intelligence personal assistant he has been building this year. He called the efforts a personal challenge he had undertaken in 2016 to help him “to learn about the state of artificial intelligence — where we’re further along than people realise and where we’re still a long ways off”.
Giving details, Zuckerberg said he was able to build a simple AI that “I can talk to on my phone and computer, that can control my home, including lights, temperature, appliances, music and security, that learns my tastes and patterns, that can learn new words and concepts, and that can even entertain Max (his daughter)”. He said his concept uses several artificial intelligence techniques like natural language processing, speech recognition, face recognition and reinforcement learning. It has been written in Python, PHP and Objective C.
He said his first task was to write code to connect systems that speak different languages and protocols. “We use a Crestron system with our lights, thermostat and doors, a Sonos system with Spotify for music, a Samsung TV, a Nest cam for Max, and of course my work is connected to Facebook’s systems,” he wrote in the Facebook Note, adding how he had to reverse engineer APIs “for some of these to even get to the point where I could issue a command from my computer”.
The challenge Zuckerberg said was that most appliances aren’t even connected to the internet yet. “For assistants like Jarvis to be able to control everything in homes for more people, we need more devices to be connected and the industry needs to develop common APIs and standards for the devices to talk to each other.”
Zuckerberg has written about how he made the system recognises faces and how we he used bots. “I built the first version of the Jarvis app for iOS and I plan to build an Android version soon too. I hadn’t built an iOS app since 2012 and one of my main observations is that the toolchain we’ve built at Facebook since then for developing these apps and for doing speech recognition is very impressive.” There is a suggestion here that an AI-based bot could end up in Facebook Messenger soon.
Zuckerberg concluded that he has previously predicted that within 5-10 years we’ll have AI systems that are more accurate than people for each of our senses — vision, hearing, touch, etc, as well as things like language.
“It’s impressive how powerful the state of the art for these tools is becoming, and this year makes me more confident in my prediction.” But he adds that we are still far off from understanding how learning works.
“In a way, AI is both closer and farther off than we imagine. AI is closer to being able to do more powerful things than most people expect — driving cars, curing diseases, discovering planets, understanding media. Those will each have a great impact on the world, but we’re still figuring out what real intelligence is,” he signed off, adding that he would be taking up a new challenge in the coming year.
Apple has released iOS 9.2 as a Public Beta, and one of the features alongside the bug fixes and installed extensions for safari tabs in third party apps, is that Siri now understands the Arabic Language and it replies in Arabic too!
Here’s a video that demonstrate this feature:
The final version of iOS 9.1 was only sent out to the public last week, so you should probably expect a few more betas before iOS 9.2 is finished.
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference has kicked off in San Francisco this morning with a keynote talk at 10am PST. Surprisingly, Apple has skipped the usual round of business updates and went right for the big news.
Following months of speculation and rumor mongering, the California firm has formally unveiled the next major version of the Mac operating system. It’s called OS X 10.11 El Capitan.
Yup, you read that right.
OS X 10.11 has new gestures like the shaking gesture to show the mouse pointer and more.
Safari Pin Tabs
In Safari, you can pin a website.
Pin Tabs have a dedicated icon left to the tab bar. If a tab plays audio, there’s a new option to see what website is playing and can mute it with a click of the mouse button.
Spotlight Search Improvements
The improved Spotlight has better natural language processing so you can search for stuff like “Mail I ignored from Phil,” “Documents I worked on last June” and more.
Improved Mission Control
You can now snap windows to either side of the screen directly in Mission Control, similar to Windows 7, which provides a great way to work split-screen. If you drag a window past the top of the screen, it takes it immediately full screen. And if you drag another window on top of it, you’ve just created a split-screen environment. Super handy.
And if you drag a window past the top of the screen, it takes it immediately full screen. And if you drag another window on top of it, you’ve just created a split-screen environment.
OS X El Capitan features some serious plumbing work to accelerate your daily computing. You’ll experience 1.4 times acceleration in app launching, 2x faster in snappiness, four times faster opening PDF in Preview and more.
Metal, an iOS 8 framework for close-to-the-metal access to the GPU is now available to Mac developers.
Metal in OS X El Capitan delivers 50 percent increase in graphics performance and 40 percent greater rendering efficiency, leading to better battery life.
Metal will do wonders for all kinds of Mac applications.
Apple is working with Adobe, which will update its creative apps for the Mac with support for Metal technology. Epic Games showed off an updated Unreal Engine with Metal support.
A demo shown off on stage included 64 layers of shading, with all the effects done completely in real-time. Epic said Metal on OS X El Capitan delivers a 70 percent reduction in CPU use compared to OpenGL.
Apple has taken the stage this morning inside San Francisco’s Moscone West to deliver the latest advancements to its three crucial platforms: iOS, OS X and watchOS.
According to Apple, registered Mac developers will have their chance to download the first beta of OS X 10.11 El Capitan later today, which just got officially announced, after the event has wrapped up (currently, Apple’s portal for developers is down).
Members of Apple’s OS X Public Beta Program will be able to try out El Capitan next month, and we’ll update you on that as soon as it becomes available.
For everyone else, OS X 10.11 El Capitan will roll out this fall as a free update.
OS X 10.11 includes an improved Mission Control with great window snapping features, an enhanced Safari browser with the Pin Tabs feature, Spotlight Search improvements and a number of performance optimizations revolving around Metal for Mac and more.
Finishing up with OS X El Capitan, Apple’s Craig Federighi moves on to talk about Siri. Apple has been working on a number of improvements to the digital assistant, which has been criticized over the years for lagging behind the efforts of Google and others.
In line with run-up event rumors, Siri is getting more intelligent in iOS 9 thanks to ‘Proactive,’ which makes your device more contextually aware.
For some examples, saying “Show me photos from Utah from last August” will now return all of your photos that have been geo-tagged in Utah. “Remind me to grab coffee off the roof of my car when I get in” will also work, because Siri knows when you’re in the car.
Spotlight search has been completely redesigned for iOS 9, and it brings with it a new interface, a new search API, deep linking to search results, and more. With an interface that harkens back to the pre-iOS 7 days, search is now a powerful new tool in iOS.
To access the new search interface, you’ll need to swipe right on the Home screen to reveal the search panel. Not only do you get the standard search input box, but you’re provided with Siri suggestions, nearby information based on your location, news, Netflix movies, sports schedules, and more.
One of the most impressive things about the new search interface is its ability to deep link into the apps that you have installed on your phone. When tapping on one of the app links provided in the search interface, you’ll be taken directly into the respective apps, and not just to the app’s main interface, but deep into the location in the app that relates to the specific search result.
Apple Pay, Apple’s wireless payment system, will be coming to the United Kingdom next mont with 250,000 UK merchant locations. Commuters using London transportation system will be able to use Apple Pay, too. Furthermore, the system will be available to Discover’s 50 million card members this fall, said Apple during the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote today.
Trader Joe’s, J.C. Penneys and many other retailers will be joining Apple Pay soon. Small business will be supported on Apple Pay through Square via a brand new reader that will be available on Apple Stores.
Apple will enable loyalty and rewards in-store cards through Apple Pay this fall, it’s been confirmed.
Developers are seeing more than 2x checkout conversion rate with Apple Pay, noted the firm, saying that Pinterest will roll out support for Apple Pay next month.
It’s transit time! Apple just announced that its Apple Maps service now provides transit lines, bus stations, ferry lines and more.
Available across Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod devices, the improved Apple Maps also sports departure times, multi-modal routing with step-by-step directions and estimated times for walking directions.
You can now find locations by type with just a tap, with a new icon telling you if a business location accepts Apple Pay.
Noting that Apple is seeing 3.5 times higher Maps usage compared to the “next leading mapping app,” the firm has said that you’ll be able to ask Siri for transit directions, too.
Apple Maps will be rolling out to a select number of major cities throughout the world, including more than a hundred cities in China.
During its WWDC conference today, Apple announced that it has decided to change the name of its stock iOS app Passbook to Wallet. The move makes sense, considering that last fall it took over Apple Pay duties, and soon it will be getting store and reward cards.
That’s right, you can now add store and rewards cards from retailers and restaurants. Kohl’s, Walgreens, Dunkin Donuts are all apparently on board for the launch of this initiative, and it sounds like Apple is talking to a number of other high profile partners.
Apple says that many iPhone users use the Notes app regularly to do things like create lists, capture ideas, and more. As a big proponent of the Notes app, I completely concur.
Notes on iOS 9 brings some significant new improvements to the Notes app to help those users, including the ability to create lists, rich text, and hand-drawn notes, and more.
The new Notes app will also allow you to add content directly from Safari, Apple Maps, and other apps. This is done via the share sheet, which is accessible via the share button on supported apps.
Lastly, you’ll be able to use your camera directly from the Notes app to add photos. As someone who often captures images for documentation, the ability to do this right from within the Notes app is a great feature.
Apple has said that people using iOS 9 on their iPads will be more productive thanks to an improved QuickType virtual keyboard. The suggestion bar introduced in iOS 8 now has handy shortcuts to format your content, move between apps, position the cursor and even multitask like a pro.
Located right at the top of the QuickType keyboard, a new bar provides access to handy shortcuts to cut, copy and paste text. You also get shortcuts for rich text formatting, accessing attachments and your photos and much more.
Probably the coolest feature of the improved QuickType keyboard is the ability to move a cursor by dragging: just put two fingers on the keyboard and it essentially turns it into a virtual trackpad of sorts, allowing you to position the cursor more precisely and easily than before, no need to use the copy-paste loupe whatsoever.
Among the many new features Apple announced today in iOS 9, is a new Low Power battery mode. Much like the feature of the same name on Apple Watch, the new iOS feature will help save precious battery life on your iPhone or iPad.
True multitasking is now a reality on the iPad! With iOS 9, you can view two apps at the same time and interact with them using multitouch at the same time.
You can also adjust the Split View between the two apps on the fly, and access additional apps by means of a brand new App Switcher. You’ll even be able to watch videos via a brand new Picture in Picture mode.
The new multitasking interface works using four main components:
App Switcher – The App Switcher has been completely redesigned in iOS 9.
Slide Over – Lets you open a second app from the side of the screen without leaving the app that you’re currently using. Slide over is available for the following iPad models:
iPad Air 2
iPad mini 2
iPad Mini 3
Split View is available only on the iPad Air 2, and allows two apps to be open and active on screen at the same time. You can then use multitouch gestures with both apps simultaneously.
Picture in Picture – Will scale down a video so that you can enjoy the video while doing things like web browsing and checking email.
Multitasking on the iPad is a complete game-changer, and one of the biggest changes to the iPad since the original device launched in 2010. Seriously, it looks incredible, and I’m going out to buy a new iPad Air 2 asap.
HomeKit, Apple’s platform for the connected home that was unveiled last summer, is beginning to pick up support from some well-established names in smart home appliances.
Last week, several vendors brought out some compelling HomeKit-certified home automation devices ahead of the Worldwide Developers Conference. And now, HomeKit is going to get a lot smarter with support for new types of home automation systems and improved remote management of your home.
In addition to the existing crop of device types for the connected home, HomeKit in iOS 9 will support many more types of sensors to make your connect home smarter, including windows shades, carbon monoxide sensors, motion sensors and dedicated security systems as well.
Additionally, you will be able to access and manage your home via iCloud.
It should be noted that the current crop of devices can be managed remotely through the Apple TV acting as a HomeKit hub, or a dedicated HomeKit hub device.
In wrapping up its iOS 9 preview at WWDC, Apple announced availability for the upcoming software update. As usual, it looks like a beta will be available to developers sometime after the keynote today, but there’s a bit of a new twist this year.
As with previous versions of OS X, Apple says that non-developers will be able to get in on the beta festivities this year. You can sign up here for Apple’s public beta testing program, and it will be released in the vague timeframe of “July.”
For those who don’t care about pre-release betas, Apple says iOS 9 will be available to the public “this fall.”
Framed as a “giant moment” that feels like “opening the App Store” back in 2008, Apple CEO Tim Cook today at Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco said that apps for the Apple Watch, which launched just six weeks ago, will soon run natively on the device through the new watchOS.
The forthcoming Apple Watch operating system update, among other things, brings out a pair of additional watch faces with custom Complications.
watchOS 2 (yes, that’s what they’re calling it) also includes a plethora of other enhancements such as improvements in communications, health and fitness, Maps, Siri and more.
Now that it’s done talking about OS X El Capitan and iOS 9, Apple has moved on to watchOS. In previewing the Apple Watch’s first major software update, the company has announced several new features including support for third party complications.
Apple Music is official
“The next chapter in music,” the rumored Apple-branded subscription streaming-music service, is now official. Apple CEO Tim Cook brought Jimmy Iovine today on stage in San Francisco to deliver what Apple’s been doing in the music space.
Apple Music is all your playlists, recommendations, radio stations with celebrity DJs, streaming music, the Connect feature that’s basically artists pages with information about their songs, behind-the-scenes videos, news updates and more, all available through one app.
Here’s what else Apple Music is all about.
Apple Music is “All the ways you love music, all in one place.”
It’s three things:
Revolutionary music service
24/7 global radio
Connecting fans with artists
Revolutionary music service
Apple Music is curated by hand-picked experts to help create the magic of what app comes up next, depending on your activity, mood and a number of other criteria.
All your purchase music and playlists created on Macs and iOS devices are included in the My Music section of Apple Music. Another new tab is For You, a personalized playlists of artists and songs that Apple’s team of experts thinks you’ll love, with a little help of the iTunes recommendation engine.
These recommendations can be explored by genre and activity.
“Algorithms alone can’t do that emotional taks,” said Iovine.
24/7 global radio
They’re calling it Beats One.
As for the global radio, they’re using celebrity DJs in three major cities—New York, Los Angeles and London—that provides great music “without any restriction.”
Connecting fans with artists
Noting that the streaming music and video space is “a fragmented mess,“ Iovine said that Apple Music delivers the art of music, with the sense of respect and discovery, giving artists a place to engage with their audiences.
Artists can post, publish and update anything, and fans can like and comment on those posts.
We’ve been waiting for months to hear how long the Apple Watch’s battery will last, and luckily the Cupertino-based company has appeased us during its “Spring Forward” media event on Monday. Apple says the Apple Watch will have an 18-hour battery life, or what Apple calls “all day battery life”.
“During a typical day you can expect 18 hours. This works for most people I think,” Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, told attendees at the event.
The magnetic charger will click to the back of the Watch to charge at the end of the day, Cook told attendees.
We’ve always known that Apple Watch will have Siri integration, but some new developments were revealed at Today’s Apple Watch event. While on stage, Kevin Lynch demonstrated Hey Siri functionality, which allows you to invoke Siri by simply raising your wrist and using only your voice.
As you’re likely aware of, the iPhone features Hey Siri functionality as well, but on the iPhone, you must have you device plugged in to do so. Having Hey Siri available on your wrist makes it much easier to interact with Siri hands-free, and will usher in a a much more convenient way of communicating with the Siri voice assistant software.
Hey Siri on the iPhone is a big battery drainer, because it means that the device is actively listening for the “Hey Siri” command. On the Apple Watch, the device won’t listen unless you raise your wrist. This means that there will be a lot less battery drain while using Hey Siri on the Apple Watch.
Apple has announced the Apple Watch Edition will be available in select retail stores, priced from $10,000.
Pre-orders begin April 10.
On stage at Apple’s media event on Monday, Tim Cook announced that iOS 8.2 will launch to the public today. The software update, which has been in beta for several weeks now, will bring about the Apple Watch companion app that will allow your iPhone to talk to the upcoming wearable.
We saw a preview of the app back in January, when it was unearthed from a developer beta. It will allow users to customize a wide range of things on their Apple Watch including the Clock app with personalized monograms and alerts for notifications, people in your Contacts list, and more.
Additionally, the Companion app will offer up details on the device itself. Users will be able to view the storage capacity of their Apple Watch, the number of songs, photos and apps onboard, and other info like serial number and connection status. We’ll let you know as soon as iOS 8.2 hits today.
It’s been nearly three years since Apple unveiled Siri on its iPhone 4s, and Microsoft finally has its answer to the digital assistant: Cortana. Named after a virtual character in the company’s popular Halo gaming franchise, the feature is powered by Bing and offers a mix of Google Now-ish and Siri-like characteristics.
We first got a glimpse of Cortana earlier this year courtesy of a developer leak, but Microsoft officially unveiled her this morning at its Build Developer Conference in San Francisco. The assistant will ship alongside several other new features in the Windows Phone 8.1 update, expected to launch in the next few months…
How does it work? Cortana can be triggered either by an assigned Live Tile on your Windows Phone home screen, or via your device’s built-in search button. From there, it works pretty much like any other digital assistant, capable of setting alarms, searching the web, finding nearby restaurants and other standard affair.
Cortana also has a few unique traits as well, such as contextual reminders that will remind you of something when you’re talking to a designated person, and the ability to add shows to your queue on Hulu Plus. Microsoft has provided an API for third-party apps to interface with—but to what degree, we don’t know yet.
Here’s a video overview of Windows Phone 8.1 (Cortana comes in at 1:50 mark):
Other 8.1 improvements include a new Action Center, similar to iOS 7′s Control and Notification Centers, a refreshed start screen and an updated Windows Phone Store. Skype has also been integrated in new ways this time around, and the WP keyboard has been revamped with support for ‘wordflow’ gesture-based typing.
Microsoft says the update will be rolling out to Windows Phone users in the “next few months” and will start shipping on new devices later this month. On that front, 3 new Nokia Lumia phones were also unveiled today, including the Lumia 930 which features a 1080p display, a 2.2Ghz CPU, 2GB of RAM and a 20MP camera.
Overall, Windows Phone 8.1 seems like a solid update and early reviews of Cortana have been glowing. It would seem that Apple and Google have their work cut out for them. Apple is up first, with its World Wide Developer Conference to likely take place in early June, and Google will follow with its I/O Conference later that month.