Siri Creators Debuting New AI Assistant ‘Viv’ Next Week

Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer, co-founders of Siri, the virtual assistant now built into all of Apple’s iOS devices, are set to demonstrate their newest artificial intelligence project on Monday, reports The Washington Post. Viv, the name of the AI bot,…

Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer, co-founders of Siri, the virtual assistant now built into all of Apple’s iOS devices, are set to demonstrate their newest artificial intelligence project on Monday, reports The Washington Post. Viv, the name of the AI bot, is more advanced than Siri and is able to carry out complex tasks by mimicking the “spontaneity and knowledge base” of a human assistant.

Viv can, for example, set up a dinner reservation and purchase movie tickets all based on one query, parsing ticket prices to find deals and offering suggestions if a movie is sold out or a restaurant has no seating available. Completing the same task with Siri would require multiple commands and human interaction. In an example given by The Washington Post, the Viv team uses it to order pizzas from a nearby restaurant, with Viv parsing numerous voice-based topping and side dish orders without ever needing to open an app.

viv

Image via The Washington Post


Much of Viv’s functionality is enabled through integration with third-party apps like Uber, Florist One, SeatGuru, ZocDoc, and Grubhub, similar to Amazon’s Alexa. The team behind Viv is in talks to bring on more partners and plans bring the Viv technology to a variety of Internet-connected devices like cars and TVs.

Grubhub chief executive Matt Maloney said he rushed to sign up with Viv two years ago, impressed with the idea of allowing consumers to perform different activities without having to toggle between services. “No one has been able to say, ‘I want the movie ticket, and the bottle of wine, and some flowers on the side’ — all in one breath,” he said.

The goal with Viv, according to Kittlaus, is to offer a way for humans to interact naturally with services through complex human-to-human style conversations, a project Kittlaus and Cheyer have been pursuing since before the development of Siri.

Siri was built around the same premise, but underwent changes under Apple’s leadership. “Steve [Jobs] had some ideas about the first version, and it wasn’t necessarily aligned with all the things that we were doing,” Kittlaus told The Washington Post.

Google and Facebook have already made offers to purchase Viv, but it is not clear if Kittlaus and Cheyer have plans to sell the technology. The Viv Labs team wants to see the technology built into a wide range of devices, and Kittlaus says the company will “pick the path that gets us there.”

Tags: Siri, Viv

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YouTube Working on ‘Unplugged’ TV Subscription Service for 2017 as Hulu Confirms Live TV Plans

Internet-based subscription television plans are growing in popularity, and YouTube is the latest company rumored to be working on a standalone television service. According to Bloomberg, YouTube is developing a paid subscription service called “Unplugged,” offering a bundle of channels for a set price.

YouTube has already built the infrastructure necessary for the service and is prioritizing its development for a 2017 debut. YouTube has been in talks with major media companies like NBCUniversal, Viacom, Fox, and CBS, but has not yet been able to secure rights for the service.

youtubehulu
YouTube is said to be aiming to build a streaming service similar to the service Apple hoped to offer before putting its streaming TV plans on hold. It would include a “skinny bundle” of channels from the four major U.S. networks along with a few popular cable channels priced at around $35 per month.

YouTube is also considering plans offering a collection of less-watched television channels or smaller groups of channels built around different themes, such as comedy or lifestyle.

YouTube would charge one subscription for the main bundle, and extra, smaller monthly fees for these theme-based groups, one of the people said.

Using this approach, YouTube could show it is capable of bringing new viewers to many of these second-tier channels, a major concern for large media companies that depend on TV for most of their profits.

If YouTube can make it work, media companies may be more open to including more-successful channels later, one of the people familiar said.

Along with YouTube, Hulu is also building its own competing streaming television service. News of Hulu’s plan surfaced earlier this week and was confirmed this morning by Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins.

Hulu’s subscription model will offer customers cable-style access to popular broadcast television networks and cable channels to complement its existing streaming service, plus it will include a cloud-based DVR feature. Hulu is also aiming to launch its live TV subscription plan in 2017 and is close to signing deals with partners like Disney and Fox. Pricing for the service has not yet been announced, but rumors suggest it will be available for around $40.

“This means our viewers will be able to enjoy live sports, news and events all in real-time without a traditional cable or satellite subscription,” said Hopkins. “We’re going to fuse the best of linear television and on-demand in a deeply personalized experience optimized for the contemporary, always-connected television fan.”

As network executives grow accustomed to establishing deals for streaming television services, Apple may be able to revisit its television plans. Apple has been working on some kind of subscription TV service for several years, but executives have not been able to establish deals with content owners. Apple’s latest streaming plans reportedly fell apart because media companies demanded more money than Apple wanted to charge for its TV service and were reluctant to unbundle channels.

Tags: YouTube, Hulu

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Internet-based subscription television plans are growing in popularity, and YouTube is the latest company rumored to be working on a standalone television service. According to Bloomberg, YouTube is developing a paid subscription service called “Unplugged,” offering a bundle of channels for a set price.

YouTube has already built the infrastructure necessary for the service and is prioritizing its development for a 2017 debut. YouTube has been in talks with major media companies like NBCUniversal, Viacom, Fox, and CBS, but has not yet been able to secure rights for the service.

youtubehulu

YouTube is said to be aiming to build a streaming service similar to the service Apple hoped to offer before putting its streaming TV plans on hold. It would include a “skinny bundle” of channels from the four major U.S. networks along with a few popular cable channels priced at around $35 per month.

YouTube is also considering plans offering a collection of less-watched television channels or smaller groups of channels built around different themes, such as comedy or lifestyle.

YouTube would charge one subscription for the main bundle, and extra, smaller monthly fees for these theme-based groups, one of the people said.

Using this approach, YouTube could show it is capable of bringing new viewers to many of these second-tier channels, a major concern for large media companies that depend on TV for most of their profits.

If YouTube can make it work, media companies may be more open to including more-successful channels later, one of the people familiar said.

Along with YouTube, Hulu is also building its own competing streaming television service. News of Hulu’s plan surfaced earlier this week and was confirmed this morning by Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins.

Hulu’s subscription model will offer customers cable-style access to popular broadcast television networks and cable channels to complement its existing streaming service, plus it will include a cloud-based DVR feature. Hulu is also aiming to launch its live TV subscription plan in 2017 and is close to signing deals with partners like Disney and Fox. Pricing for the service has not yet been announced, but rumors suggest it will be available for around $40.

“This means our viewers will be able to enjoy live sports, news and events all in real-time without a traditional cable or satellite subscription,” said Hopkins. “We’re going to fuse the best of linear television and on-demand in a deeply personalized experience optimized for the contemporary, always-connected television fan.”

As network executives grow accustomed to establishing deals for streaming television services, Apple may be able to revisit its television plans. Apple has been working on some kind of subscription TV service for several years, but executives have not been able to establish deals with content owners. Apple’s latest streaming plans reportedly fell apart because media companies demanded more money than Apple wanted to charge for its TV service and were reluctant to unbundle channels.

Tags: YouTube, Hulu

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Twitter for Mac Gains Support for Moments and Polls

Twitter today updated its dedicated Mac app with support for several Twitter features that have previously been available to Twitter users on iOS and the web, including Moments and Polls.

Introduced in October, Moments is a new Twitter tab that’s de…

Twitter today updated its dedicated Mac app with support for several Twitter features that have previously been available to Twitter users on iOS and the web, including Moments and Polls.

Introduced in October, Moments is a new Twitter tab that’s designed to help users discover popular news stories, events, and trending topics, aggregating interesting content into categories like News, Sports, Entertainment, and Fun.

twitterformac

The ability to create custom polls embedded within Tweets was also added in a separate October update, allowing Twitter users to query their followers through multiple choice 24-hour polls.

Along with support for Moments and Polls, Twitter for Mac users can now share GIFs in tweets and Direct Messages through a new GIF search feature.

What’s New

– Find the best of Twitter in an instant with Moments. Follow top stories through immersive pics, clips, and conversations. Get insights and perspectives you won’t find anywhere else.

– Create polls on Twitter and with just a couple of taps, people can weigh in on all the topics they care about.

– Sharing GIFs in Tweets and Direct Messages is even easier with our new GIF search.

Today’s Twitter for Mac update comes five months after a major app overhaul that was introduced in December. The Twitter for Mac 4.0 update introduced a slew of features like inline video playback, group direct messages, mute, a dark theme, and Notification Center widget.

Twitter for Mac can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tag: Twitter

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Apple Forced to Share ‘iPhone’ Trademark in China With Leather Accessory Maker [Updated]

Apple no longer has the exclusive rights to the “iPhone” trademark in China after the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court ruled in favor of leather goods manufacturer Xintong Tiandi Technology earlier in March. As reported by Legal Daily [Google Translate], the decision will let the Beijing company continue to sell leather bags and cases with the brand name “IPHONE” on each cover without fear of legal blowback from Apple (via Quartz).

The Cupertino company filed for a trademark of the iPhone name in China back in 2002, specifically centering around computer software and hardware, but Xintong Tiandi didn’t do the same for leather goods until 2007, the year the iPhone launched in the United States. The leather case maker was granted that trademark in 2010. Following a few years of growing iPhone success, Apple decided to take the case to the Chinese trademark authority in 2012, subsequently filing a lawsuit in a lower Beijing court, and eventually losing both.

IPHONE case trademarkXintong Tiandi’s trademarked IPHONE case

The Chinese trademark authority’s decision stemmed from its belief that “the general public will not link the trademark in dispute with Apple to harm its [Apple’s] interests,” stating that Apple could not prove “iPhone” was a well-known brand in China before Xintong Tiandi trademarked it in 2007.

Apple continued to appeal, all the way to the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court, but the final decision has come and echoes the trademark authority’s conclusion that the company can’t prove it was a known trademark before 2007, since Apple’s iPhone didn’t launch in China until 2009. The court’s judgement also made no distinction between the two stylizations of Apple’s “iPhone” and Xintong Tiandi’s “IPHONE” moniker.

Apple retains the computer software and hardware rights to the iPhone trademark, but with the new ruling, Xintong Tiandi can continue to manufacture and sell its “IPHONE” branded cases to the Chinese public. The accessory maker hopes that Apple will work with it moving forward to create a market that is beneficial to both definitions of “iPhone” consumers.

Xintong Tiandi wrote on its website that the court’s decision is a reflection of a “free market.” “We will also make full achievement of the ‘iphone’ trademark, and work together [with Apple] to benefit more iphone consumers!,” it said on the site.

China is Apple’s second largest market in total revenue following the United States, and the company has been following a steadfast strategy of expanding its presence in the country with numerous retail shops opening frequently over the past few months. Still, unease and concern with China’s strict internet policies have led to a few mishaps with Apple products. Most recently, that included the unexpected closure of the iTunes and iBooks stores when a dystopian film depicting Hong Kong in an unfavorable light launched on Apple’s digital platform in the country.

Update: In a new statement, Apple confirmed it intends to keep fighting the trademark battle with Xintong Tiandi, all the way up to China’s highest court. “We intend to request a retrial with the Supreme People’s Court and will continue to vigorously protect our trademark rights,” the company said in a statement to the South China Morning Post.

Tag: China

Discuss this article in our forums

Apple no longer has the exclusive rights to the “iPhone” trademark in China after the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court ruled in favor of leather goods manufacturer Xintong Tiandi Technology earlier in March. As reported by Legal Daily [Google Translate], the decision will let the Beijing company continue to sell leather bags and cases with the brand name “IPHONE” on each cover without fear of legal blowback from Apple (via Quartz).

The Cupertino company filed for a trademark of the iPhone name in China back in 2002, specifically centering around computer software and hardware, but Xintong Tiandi didn’t do the same for leather goods until 2007, the year the iPhone launched in the United States. The leather case maker was granted that trademark in 2010. Following a few years of growing iPhone success, Apple decided to take the case to the Chinese trademark authority in 2012, subsequently filing a lawsuit in a lower Beijing court, and eventually losing both.

IPHONE case trademark

Xintong Tiandi’s trademarked IPHONE case


The Chinese trademark authority’s decision stemmed from its belief that “the general public will not link the trademark in dispute with Apple to harm its [Apple’s] interests,” stating that Apple could not prove “iPhone” was a well-known brand in China before Xintong Tiandi trademarked it in 2007.

Apple continued to appeal, all the way to the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court, but the final decision has come and echoes the trademark authority’s conclusion that the company can’t prove it was a known trademark before 2007, since Apple’s iPhone didn’t launch in China until 2009. The court’s judgement also made no distinction between the two stylizations of Apple’s “iPhone” and Xintong Tiandi’s “IPHONE” moniker.

Apple retains the computer software and hardware rights to the iPhone trademark, but with the new ruling, Xintong Tiandi can continue to manufacture and sell its “IPHONE” branded cases to the Chinese public. The accessory maker hopes that Apple will work with it moving forward to create a market that is beneficial to both definitions of “iPhone” consumers.

Xintong Tiandi wrote on its website that the court’s decision is a reflection of a “free market.” “We will also make full achievement of the ‘iphone’ trademark, and work together [with Apple] to benefit more iphone consumers!,” it said on the site.

China is Apple’s second largest market in total revenue following the United States, and the company has been following a steadfast strategy of expanding its presence in the country with numerous retail shops opening frequently over the past few months. Still, unease and concern with China’s strict internet policies have led to a few mishaps with Apple products. Most recently, that included the unexpected closure of the iTunes and iBooks stores when a dystopian film depicting Hong Kong in an unfavorable light launched on Apple’s digital platform in the country.

Update: In a new statement, Apple confirmed it intends to keep fighting the trademark battle with Xintong Tiandi, all the way up to China’s highest court. “We intend to request a retrial with the Supreme People’s Court and will continue to vigorously protect our trademark rights,” the company said in a statement to the South China Morning Post.

Tag: China

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Kohl’s Becomes First Retailer to Support Store Payments and Rewards With One Tap in Apple Pay

Kohls-Apple-Pay-One-TapKohl’s has announced that customers can now pay for their purchases with Kohl’s Charge Cards or other credit or debit cards and simultaneously earn Yes2You Rewards loyalty points with a single tap using Apple Pay.

The combined functionality is currently available in approximately 250 Kohl’s stores in the United States, and the department store chain expects one-tap checkout to be available in all stores nationwide later this month.

Kohl’s is the first retailer to offer a one-tap solution for payments and rewards using Apple Pay. Customers can simply add both their Kohl’s Charge Card or other payment method and Yes2You Rewards card to Apple Pay and simultaneously pay and collect loyalty points upon checkout with one Touch ID tap for verification.

Kohl’s has supported Apple Pay since June 2015, and last October it became the first retailer to allow store-branded cards to be used with the iPhone-based contactless payments service. JCPenney is also rolling out store card support.

Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Apple Pay is “growing at a tremendous rate,” with transaction volume up five times compared to a year ago and the service gaining one million new users per week. Apple Pay is currently available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, China, and Singapore.

Cook noted that Apple Pay will launch in additional regions “soon,” including Hong Kong and Spain through a partnership with American Express later this year. Visa and/or MasterCard support may also be coming soon in countries such as Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: Kohl’s

Discuss this article in our forums

Kohls-Apple-Pay-One-TapKohl’s has announced that customers can now pay for their purchases with Kohl’s Charge Cards or other credit or debit cards and simultaneously earn Yes2You Rewards loyalty points with a single tap using Apple Pay.

The combined functionality is currently available in approximately 250 Kohl’s stores in the United States, and the department store chain expects one-tap checkout to be available in all stores nationwide later this month.

Kohl’s is the first retailer to offer a one-tap solution for payments and rewards using Apple Pay. Customers can simply add both their Kohl’s Charge Card or other payment method and Yes2You Rewards card to Apple Pay and simultaneously pay and collect loyalty points upon checkout with one Touch ID tap for verification.

Kohl’s has supported Apple Pay since June 2015, and last October it became the first retailer to allow store-branded cards to be used with the iPhone-based contactless payments service. JCPenney is also rolling out store card support.

Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Apple Pay is “growing at a tremendous rate,” with transaction volume up five times compared to a year ago and the service gaining one million new users per week. Apple Pay is currently available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, China, and Singapore.

Cook noted that Apple Pay will launch in additional regions “soon,” including Hong Kong and Spain through a partnership with American Express later this year. Visa and/or MasterCard support may also be coming soon in countries such as Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: Kohl’s

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Spotify Replaces Hamburger Menu With Navigation Bar on iPhone

As a few users have noticed over the past day, Spotify has begun rolling out a small but significant design change to its iOS app that does away with the hamburger menu and replaces it with an easier-to-understand navigation bar across the bottom of th…

As a few users have noticed over the past day, Spotify has begun rolling out a small but significant design change to its iOS app that does away with the hamburger menu and replaces it with an easier-to-understand navigation bar across the bottom of the experience. The new bar more closely resembles the rest of the apps in Apple’s ecosystem, particularly the navigation menu on its own streaming music service, Apple Music, which is now rumored for a design overhaul announcement at WWDC.

Before the update, Spotify users had to tap on the three-line hamburger button in the top-left corner of the app to open up a launch pad menu that would bring them to other sections of the service like its radio and music library. Hiding much-needed areas of Spotify from the immediate view of its users made it somewhat of a hassle, especially for newcomers, so the introduction of the straightforward traversal cues presented by the navigation bar should help everyone out.

spotify nav bar 3

Specifically, the new bar houses tabs for Spotify’s Home launching pad, an area to browse new music, a search function, access to radio, and your own library of music. Understandably, some in-house testing by Spotify discovered that with the tab bar, user interactivity with these menu options jumped up 30 percent over the hamburger UI, while also encouraging new music and artist discovery and keeping users inside the service instead of seeking alternative solutions in other music streaming apps.

iPhone users in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, and Sweden will begin seeing the navigation bar update as the rollout continues today, with the company promising additional markets and platforms in the coming months. Spotify Music is available to download from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tag: Spotify

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Angry Birds Action! – Rovio Entertainment Ltd

Pull, aim, action! Send the birds of the Angry Birds Movie crashing through obstacles and bouncing from wall to wall like a wrecking ball – all in the name of saving some eggs.

Explore the world of The Angry Birds Movie for the first time ever in Angry Birds Action!

– Pinball meets anger!
Pull back and send Red and his flock of friends careening into obstacles to save the eggs and collect valuable items.

– Play as the heroic trio from The Angry Birds Movie! (and Terence)
Blast obstacles to pieces with Red, speed through challenges with Chuck, or blow stuff up with Bomb. And then there’s Terence. He just destroys everything.

– BirdCodes. BirdCodes everywhere!
Scan these round badges in Angry Birds Action to access loads of new content, mini-games, power-ups for the game, and more! BirdCodes can be found all over the place – on Angry Birds toys, at your local theater, and in many more locations. Keep your eyes peeled for BirdCodes everywhere!

– Movie Magic is in the air.
Take Angry Birds Action to the Angry Birds Movie to unlock special content. How does it work? Just wait until the end of the Angry Birds Movie and launch Angry Birds Action when the end credits roll, and you can unlock a whole new area to explore in the game, as well as a special movie clip!*

– Saving the day one level at a time.
Rescue eggs from their precarious perches, pick up precious items, and protect the hatchlings in 90 levels.

–––

*Movie Magic requires that Angry Birds Action have access to your device’s microphone.

This game may include:
– Direct links to social networking websites that are intended for an audience over the age of 13.
– Direct links to the internet that can take players away from the game with the potential to browse any web page.
– Advertising of Rovio products and also products from select partners.
– The option to make in-app purchases. The bill payer should always be consulted beforehand.
– This application may require internet connectivity and subsequent data transfer charges may apply. After the initial download, additional content will be downloaded and this may include data charges.

Rovio Entertainment Ltd - Angry Birds Action!  artwork

Angry Birds Action!

Rovio Entertainment Ltd

Genre: Games

Release Date: April 28, 2016


Pull, aim, action! Send the birds of the Angry Birds Movie crashing through obstacles and bouncing from wall to wall like a wrecking ball – all in the name of saving some eggs.

Explore the world of The Angry Birds Movie for the first time ever in Angry Birds Action!

– Pinball meets anger!
Pull back and send Red and his flock of friends careening into obstacles to save the eggs and collect valuable items.

– Play as the heroic trio from The Angry Birds Movie! (and Terence)
Blast obstacles to pieces with Red, speed through challenges with Chuck, or blow stuff up with Bomb. And then there’s Terence. He just destroys everything.

– BirdCodes. BirdCodes everywhere!
Scan these round badges in Angry Birds Action to access loads of new content, mini-games, power-ups for the game, and more! BirdCodes can be found all over the place – on Angry Birds toys, at your local theater, and in many more locations. Keep your eyes peeled for BirdCodes everywhere!

– Movie Magic is in the air.
Take Angry Birds Action to the Angry Birds Movie to unlock special content. How does it work? Just wait until the end of the Angry Birds Movie and launch Angry Birds Action when the end credits roll, and you can unlock a whole new area to explore in the game, as well as a special movie clip!*

– Saving the day one level at a time.
Rescue eggs from their precarious perches, pick up precious items, and protect the hatchlings in 90 levels.

–––

*Movie Magic requires that Angry Birds Action have access to your device’s microphone.

This game may include:
– Direct links to social networking websites that are intended for an audience over the age of 13.
– Direct links to the internet that can take players away from the game with the potential to browse any web page.
– Advertising of Rovio products and also products from select partners.
– The option to make in-app purchases. The bill payer should always be consulted beforehand.
– This application may require internet connectivity and subsequent data transfer charges may apply. After the initial download, additional content will be downloaded and this may include data charges.

© © Rovio Entertainment Ltd

Risky Road – Ketchapp

Drive as far as you can and keep the egg safe.

Get the right speed to pass obstacles.

Just tap the screen to accelerate and pass obstacles, keep the egg safe !

Collect coins and bonus letters to unlock new cars and egg colors.

How far will you go ?

Ketchapp - Risky Road  artwork

Risky Road

Ketchapp

Genre: Games

Release Date: April 27, 2016


Drive as far as you can and keep the egg safe.

Get the right speed to pass obstacles.

Just tap the screen to accelerate and pass obstacles, keep the egg safe !

Collect coins and bonus letters to unlock new cars and egg colors.

How far will you go ?

© © Ketchapp