Monday Morning News

siri-primary-hero-100647384-largeIn order to combat the naysayers (or just to provide the next evolution of their product), Business Insider claims Apple’s digital assistant is about to get a big upgrade, thanks to Apple’s acquisition of VocalIQ last year. VocalIQ is a voice-powered search assistant that can handle long and complicated queries, and in tests against Siri, Google Now, and Microsoft’s Cortana, VocalIQ proved more accurate and boasted a higher success rate for searches.

Meanwhile, rumours about an Amazon Echo-like product from Apple are heating up, with CNET claiming that Apple’s Echo equivalent could recognise faces thanks to built-in cameras and facial recognition technology. The report is sketchy at best, with CNET’s sources saying that Apple could release hardware by the end of the year or more likely push it back towards next year.

A separate rumour claims the Apple TV could be the home for an Amazon Echo-like product, further spreading rumours about the Apple TV as the central hub for Apple services in the home. Either people just want to get more out of their Apple TVs, or they don’t think Apple is capable of building another Apple-TV sized box that performs Siri speaker duties, even though such a box already exists in the form of the AirPort Express.

Over at Macworld, Dan Moren argues that Apple should be doing something other than going headlong into battle with Google and Amazon over personal assistant tech. Instead of releasing their own version of the Echo, Moren writes that opening up Siri with APIs for developers to plug into would be a better solution, and may even force Google and Amazon to do the same.

It’s also important to keep in mind that Amazon’s Echo isn’t available outside of the US, while Siri is available in umpteen different countries, and in a number of different languages. IMore’s Rene Ritchie says that for most of the world, Alexa just isn’t an option, so the entire debate about which personal assistant is better is kind of moot when one isn’t even available in your country.

Patent troll VirnetX wants to permanently turn off FaceTime and iMessage, after it won a $626 million patent victory over Apple in the courts. Apple argues that VirnetX is attempting to seek an overly broad injunction so it can extract the maximum possible licensing fee, and at the moment, Apple are pushing for a retrial on the grounds of misrepresented evidence.

The latest set of iPhone schematics shows similarities to the current iPhone design, with repositioned and larger camera holes, redesigned camera lines, and very minor dimension changes.

Apple’s AirPort Extreme and Express devices are out of stock at US Apple Stores, which may relate to an FCC deadline relating to router software security rules. Presumably, Apple’s just fixing things up and needs a little extra time to do so.

MacStories covers the latest Pixelmator release, which adds selection tools and an editing extension for Apple’s Photos app on the Mac.

Twitter’s latest iOS app update brings 3D Touch gestures to the app, letting users preview individual tweets and media with the Peek and Pop actions that come with a pressure-sensitive display.

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