Rumor: Apple looking to expand on voice commands in iOS 5.0

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Date: Tuesday, March 29th, 2011, 08:49
Category: iPhone, Rumor, Software

Because you don’t spend enough time talking to your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Per TechCrunch, Apple is rumored to be working on a means of vastly improving voice commands on devices like the iPhone and iPad with the anticipated release of iOS 5 later this year.

Apple’s “deeply integrated” voice control feature in iOS 5 is expected to be demoed at this year’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference. The voice control will reportedly be a combination of artificial intelligence and assistance technology, and Apple’s team is said to be putting the “finishing touches” on elements that will be demonstrated at WWDC.

The new features are said to stem from technology and personnel Apple obtained through its acquisition of Siri in 2010. Siri is the developer of a personal assistant application for the iPhone, and it allows users to speak to the device in plain conversational English to find information and automatically accomplish tasks, like booking a reservation at a restaurant.

The advanced voice control technology owned by Apple and said to be coming in iOS 5 may even be opened up to developers for use in third-party applications. However, author MG Siegler cautioned that information “isn’t quite as concrete.”

The latest rumor corroborates a report filed that went public earlier this year which claimed that Apple is working on “voice navigation” features in iOS 5. It also builds on rumors that circulated in February that Apple hopes to improve operation of the iPhone through voice commands due to some users’ dislike of using a virtual keyboard.

Apple announced on Monday that WWDC will kick off on June 6 at San Francisco’s Moscone West, where the company plans to “unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS.” The annual developers conference sold out in a record 10 hours.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple looking to add alternate payment methods for MobileMe services

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Date: Tuesday, March 29th, 2011, 04:44
Category: MobileMe, Rumor, Software

You like your MobileMe account.

And there may be new ways to pay for it.

Per MacNews.de, Apple may be coming up with plans to implement alternative payment methods for MobileMe in the near future. Currently, users without credit cards are caught in a dilemma — they can’t renew their subscriptions electronically, but neither can they buy a retail “box” with the MobileMe activation or renewal code from a retail store (Apple has removed the MobileMe box from its retail stores, though some dealers may still have older stock available).

Rumors have swirled for months that the service is due to undergo a major revamp, spurred by an e-mail from Apple CEO Steve Jobs to a customer promising the service “will get better in 2011.”

The rumors have taken various forms, from making at least some version of the service available for free to adding a cloud-based “media locker” for a small fee — or changing, dropping or revamping existing services (which include website hosting, photo and video galleries, ad-free IMAP e-mail, account syncing, limited backup, equipment tracking, personal storage space and other features).

Last month, Apple made MobileMe only available as a free online trial offer, and the only way to buy or renew a subscription required a credit card — leading to speculation that the revamp could come soon (now currently believed to be in April).

The report that Apple is working on alternate payment methods would indicate that the company is still planning on charging for at least some of the services in an overhauled MobileMe offering.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on this, please let us know in the comments.

iPad 2 to arrive at 500 RadioShack locations today

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Date: Tuesday, March 29th, 2011, 04:44
Category: iPad, News

I have a love-hate relationship with RadioShack.

Still, this gives me another reason to like it.

Starting Tuesday, some of the most heavily trafficked RadioShack stores in the U.S. will begin selling the iPad 2, as Apple continues to expand the retail availability of its hot-selling touchscreen tablet.

Per AppleInsider+, the iPad 2 will be available at 500 RadioShack stores Tuesday. A corporate memo scarce on details only reveals that the chosen stores have already been informed they will receive the device for sale.

Sources close to the story have stated that the deal to sell the iPad 2 at RadioShack was only finalized within the last few days.

The continued retail expansion comes only a few days after Apple launched the iPad 2 overseas in 25 countries. The second-generation iPad first went on sale in the U.S. earlier this month.

Signs of improving iPad 2 inventory came last week, when estimated shipping times from Apple’s online store improved to three to four weeks. Previously, new orders were estimated to wait at least a month before shipment.

The iPad 2 has seen strong demand and regular sellouts at stores since it first became available. Apple’s launch strategy has also been significantly more aggressive than with the first-generation iPad, which debuted only at Apple’s stores and select Best Buy locations.

RadioShack’s partnership with Apple expanded last March, when the company began selling the iPhone. The retailer also made waves late last year when it offered discounts on the iPhone, something rarely seen with Apple’s rigidly priced handset.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you run across an iPad 2 at a RadioShack in your area today, let us know.