Friday Morning News
A story from Reuters tells us how Siri learns new languages. Siri has the lead on other personal assistants when it comes to being multi-lingual, with Apple’s personal assistant capable of speaking 21 languages localised for 36 countries, which Reuters notes is important feature to have when most of your iPhone sales are outside the US. The story of how Siri will learn Shanghainese, a dialect of Chinese originating from Shanghai, is an interesting read that involves human translation to boost Siri’s accuracy.
Sources say Apple has stopped sending new Genius hires to Cupertino for up to three weeks of training, with all future training being the “in-store, self-guided type using company-provided reference material”, according to MacRumors. While Genius training used to include hardware to take apart and perform tests on, virtual disassembly will be the new norm.
Stephen Hackett writes about his Genius training, which was in Cupertino and right around from Apple’s current Infinite Loop campus. To give you an idea of how long ago it was, Hackett writes about the first time he discharged a CRT and learned how to take apart, arranging the screws in a logical manner to make re-assembly easier.
A new change to the App Store means that developers cannot change App Store descriptions without uploading a new version of the app and having it go through the App Store approval process. It’s a regression from what was previously allowed, where developers could edit descriptions without having a new version approved, and even though most App Store approvals are now processed within 24 hours, that’s still a day’s delay where there was none previously.
Bumpr is a new Mac app that lets you choose where hyperlinks open. The idea is that it replaces your default web browser, which allows it to get in the way every time you click a link, letting you choose which web browser you want to open that link in. It seems obtrusive, but that’s kind of the point; you can optionally only get the choice when you shift-click on links.
Continuing his iPad Diaries series, Federico Viticci at MacStories talks about making Apple Notes better as a pro iPad app. The relaunch of notes with iOS 9 brought a much-needed refresh to what was previously a lacklustre note-taking application, but while you can create nested folders in the iCloud version of Notes, that isn’t possible from the native Notes application on iOS. Perhaps it’s the straightforward dependability of Notes that makes it a winner.
On the other side of the fence, Google Keep lacks the same ideology, instead being a smorgasbord of features but lacking any real purpose. AppleInsider says that Keep is supposed to bridge the gap between a clipping service like Evernote and something designed for text note storage, even though what it actually ends up doing is being an everything box where you can chuck stuff into in the hopes that you’ll come back to it later.
Brett Terpstra has a list of his favourite iOS apps from 2016, which is a decently-sized list of apps for pretty much every purpose you care to think of.
9to5Mac says sleep tracking on the Apple Watch is an unsolved problem. There are some great third-party alternatives available, so I’m not sure what the delay is. Perhaps Apple is just waiting for watchOS 4 to release the feature, or maybe they think that Apple Watch battery life still isn’t good enough to support consistent sleep tracking without having to resort to convoluted charging schemes.
Rounding out the news for the week is the story from Ken Segall, who tells us about the time Steve Jobs left him a voicemail filled with expletives because something was wrong with Steve’s upcoming presentation of the coloured iMacs.