Архив метки: Ronald Wayne

Siri And The iPhone’s Physical Keyboard

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The backlash was inevitable.

Siri has had a bit of an image problem this past week. Just like all technology propelled by the tailwinds of hype, it hit the inevitable wall of tech punditry. This magically turned the stream of largely positive stories into a river of negative stories under the guise of things like: “the voice of reason” or the “wake up call”. It’s the oldest trick in the book and it never fails to generates massive pageview energy. It happens 100 percent of the time. But it’s important not to lose sight of the bigger picture.

First of all, the downtime issue is a total red herring. Yes, Siri has been wonky on and off for the past few days. God forbid that a service explicitly labeled as “beta” behave like a service still in beta. I understand that this is a bit of a tough concept to understand since companies like Google leave software in beta for the better part of a decade, thus castrating the term. But look no further than how rarely Apple actually labels something as “beta”. They basically never do it. They only do it when they expect a service to be less than spectacular 100 percent of the time.

That’s why stories demanding an explanation for Siri’s downtime are comical. Siri is behaving exactly as Apple has said that it would. Perhaps their only mistake was using the “beta” tag, which again, apparently means nothing anymore. And running a commercial touting the beta feature may not have been the best play right now either.

The more interesting angle of the backlash goes after what Siri is and what Siri is not. A few days ago, Jordan wrote a post entitled “Siri, Why Are You So Underwhelming?” In it, she brings up a few key points that I think are reflective of some frustrations many are having in this post-hype phase. While the broader notion is a bit silly: No, Siri cannot be a full replacement for a human assistant — nor do you have to pay Siri tens of thousands of dollars a year, provide it with health insurance, etc. Some of the smaller points definitely ring true. Siri can’t add contacts. Siri can’t open apps. Siri can’t play TV shows. Etc. But there’s a keyword missing in each of these:

Yet.

Again, see: beta. All of that is coming, I have no doubt.

They key is when Jordan also complains that she can often type faster than Siri can think. That’s undoubtedly true. But the thinking here has to extend beyond the present and your own self. It reminds me a bit of the people who used to say that they needed a physical keyboard on their phone. And that Apple would eventually have to add one to the iPhone. It was a certainty. BlackBerry FTW.

Now all of those people seem to happily be using iPhones (or Android phones) without physical keyboards without problems. BlackBerry? Yeah…

What Siri represents is an extension of computing by utilizing something that (most) everyone has: voice. It’s the same thing with the touchscreens on the iPhone and iPad. They also utilize something that (most) everyone has: fingers. “If you see a stylus, they blew it,” Steve Jobs once famously said. And he was right. Why create something to distance yourself and the machine? In the past, these crutches were needed. We’re getting to the point where they aren’t anymore. Forget the mouse and keyboards, it’s touch and voice.

Everyone is amazed now when they see children interact with the iPad in such a natural way. And they’re even more amazed when they see a child with a physical magazine and it’s extremely foreign to them. The same thing will one day be true with Siri (or any comparable voice technology). What’s easier, teaching a child to type on a keyboard or letting them speak to a computer? There’s a reason why basically every science fiction author in the last century envisioned a future in which we speak to our computers. And there’s a reason why every major technology company has been working on speech technology for the past few decades. It’s a natural thing to do. And it makes sense that eventually it becomes a computing norm. Again, just like touch.

But we’re not there yet. And that’s why we’re seeing some of this backlash. Is Siri perfect? Of course not. It’s probably 1 percent of where it should be if we’re to use it as a regular computing input. But I’m always amazed when people seem to completely discount the fact that the technology will get better over time — and quickly.

But maybe it’s hard to blame them. Again, these are the people who wanted iPhones with physical keyboards. We want what we know. We don’t know voice as a primary method of computing. It’s awkward. It’s foreign. But it won’t be forever. And it especially won’t be for children who grow up learning to speak to computers. Our hesitance to speak to our machines will seem awkward to them.

Does that mean speech replaces text input entirely? Of course not. There are some times where typing is better — when you’re in a noisy room, for example. Or in a place you need to be quiet. Or if you’re saying something private. But there’s also a reason why humans don’t stand with one another and quietly pass notes back and forth.

My point is simply that you should take the Siri backlash with a grain of salt. We’ve seen such backlash before, we’ll see it again. Everything is “stupid” and “useless” until it’s everywhere.

[image: CBS]


Company:
Apple
Website:
apple.com
Launch Date:
January 4, 1976
IPO:

November 5, 1980, NASDAQ:AAPL

Started by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, Apple has expanded from computers to consumer electronics over the last 30 years, officially changing their name from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc. in January 2007.

Among the key offerings from Apple’s product line are: Pro line laptops (MacBook Pro) and desktops (Mac Pro), consumer line laptops (MacBook) and desktops (iMac), servers (Xserve), Apple TV, the Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server operating systems, the iPod (offered with…

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Siri And The iPhone’s Physical Keyboard

Apple Promises iOS 5 Update In A Few Weeks To Suck Less Battery Life

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For the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard the same thing over and over again. “The iPhone 4S is awesome, but…” And it’s a big “but”. The battery life. It sucks.

Well, to be clear, it sucks for some users, but not all. For example, I’m not noticing anything out of the ordinary on my device. It’s essentially the same battery life I got with the iPhone 4 running iOS 4, as far as I can tell. But today Apple has acknowledged that some bugs are causing some issues with the battery life. But they say it’s not an iPhone 4S issue, but rather an iOS 5 issue. In other words, it’s software, not hardware. More importantly, a fix is coming.

“A small number of customers have reported lower than expected battery life on iOS 5 devices. We have found a few bugs that are affecting battery life and we will release a software update to address those in a few weeks,” an Apple spokesperson told us today over the phone.

“In a few weeks” sounds a bit vague, but it may actually be a bit sooner than that. This afternoon, Apple issued the first iOS 5.0.1 builds to developers. Guess what’s included? Yep — “Fixes bugs affecting battery life “. They’ll need to test this build with developers for a bit to ensure there are no other bugs, but assuming that goes well, this should be out soon.

In the meantime, we published some tips yesterday to help with battery issues if you’re having them. Again, the good news here is that this is a software issue in iOS 5, nothing fundamentally wrong with the iPhone 4S.


Company:
Apple
Website:
apple.com
Launch Date:
January 4, 1976
IPO:

November 3, 1980, NASDAQ:AAPL

Started by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, Apple has expanded from computers to consumer electronics over the last 30 years, officially changing their name from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc. in January 2007.

Among the key offerings from Apple’s product line are: Pro line laptops (MacBook Pro) and desktops (Mac Pro), consumer line laptops (MacBook) and desktops (iMac), servers (Xserve), Apple TV, the Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server operating systems, the iPod (offered with…

Learn more


Apple Promises iOS 5 Update In A Few Weeks To Suck Less Battery Life

Siri, Why Are You So Underwhelming?

underwhelming

When Apple first unveiled the iPhone 4S, there was one feature that left every jaw in the room on the floor. Her name is Siri. Scott Forstall demoed the personal assistant at Apple’s media event, and the entire presentation went off without a hitch. Then, as expected, Apple released their commercials, which were equally impressive. In short, everyone and their brother was amped for Siri.

Then the iPhone 4S was released. Save for some battery life issues and my own mini-rant on Siri’s gender and humility, there really weren’t many complaints. Now, however, I find myself more bothered by my own expectations than anything else.

Why? Because Siri isn’t perfect, and perfect is what I expected.

Let me pause right here to say a few things: First, I realize that my complaining about Siri’s limitations is a strictly “first world” problem. Secondly, this post shouldn’t be taken as a poor review of Siri. Sure, she has shortcomings, and like just about any app or software feature, she makes mistakes. But I love her, and I can safely say that won’t change. In fact, I use Siri as much as possible, which is kind of the problem.

The disappointment can all be traced back to the hype, which began with Apple’s demo. I don’t blame Apple for this — I guess it’s just a product of success — but with each new capability introduced, hope grew. If she can create reminders, she can edit them, right? Wrong. If she has access to the weather app, calendar app, clock, text, music, and the list goes on, she should have no trouble adding a contact to my phone, right? Wrong. If she can tell me the weather, she should be able to add a new location to my weather app, right? Wrong. What about playing TV shows? She’s already hooked up to iTunes, so she’ll surely play an episode of Friends for me, right? Nope, still wrong. OK fine, but Yelp… Yelp is baked right into Siri, so she has to at least be able to launch the app on my phone… right?

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

But Apple never said she’d be able to do that. And Siri is still in beta, technically, so there’s a good chance that she’ll be able to do much more in the coming months. But that doesn’t change my disappointment. Siri gave me hope — a feeling that we were truly jumping into the future, where a voice on a mobile computer could help me in almost any way. Not that it’s Siri’s fault, but this just isn’t the case.

Then, the commercials aired. Seeing that guy send and receive texts while he jogs and plays his music hands-free… Sold. I mean if he’s outside (near the waterfront, no less), on a jog, on his headphones, and Siri can understand everything he’s saying, then the voice recognition must be top-notch, right? Well, not wrong, but not right either.

Siri misunderstands me all the time. Maybe I mumble, or maybe it’s because I’m talking to her like I would talk to any human personal assistant. (That is, if I were ever powerful enough to have one.) But that’s what Apple promised right? Forstall said in the demo that it’s not about the words, it’s about the meaning. I should be able to ask about the weather in whatever way I’d like, but the more creative I get, the less intuitive Siri becomes. When asked, “Should an umbrella be a part of my outfit today?” Siri responded by saying, “Call Amanda Algiere paramountcy today.”

In a way, this is still an intuitive response. She couldn’t understand me, so she took to problem solving. I have a Brittany Algiere and an Amanda Boyd in my phone, so Siri pulled from that in her answer. Then again, she thought she heard me say “paramountcy,” too. In any case, I didn’t get the answer I was looking for. Whatever happened to “it just works?”

Then, there’s the issue of efficiency. One of the big capabilities of Siri is her ability to read and transcribe texts and emails. It sounds basic, but messaging is one of the primary uses of any phone, so getting these things done hands-free is a huge deal. But I noticed two things about her text transcription.

The first is that I can type faster than Siri transcribes in almost any case. I can also read faster than I can be read to — by Siri or a human makes no difference. Maybe I’m just totally awesome and text-obsessed, but I’m thinking this holds true for most people. The second thing I noticed loops back to miscommunication and misunderstanding. The whole point of using Siri to send a text is because either my hands are full, or I’m in a rush and need to get that text on its way now. If Siri misunderstands me the first time around — even if she gets it right on the second try — it’s slower than if I had typed the message myself. More than once, I’ve stood outside a train station while I was late waiting for Siri to get it right. It’s a total bummer to say the least.

Past that, we then have to account for Siri’s use of the network. Siri doesn’t work without a connection, plain and simple. But when do I need her most? When I’m out and about, on the move, and need my hands for what I’m doing. It’s on the move that your network connection, in general, is roughest. In other words, Siri fails most when you need her the most. Which sucks.

These are Siri’s shortcomings, but I can accept them. In fact, I welcome them, as long as Siri keeps setting reminders for me. As I’ve tried to state numerous times throughout the post, I love Siri, and she’s only going to get better and better. If you really think about it, the possibilities with Siri are endless. GigaOm’s John Wilson wrote a great piece on just that, outlining the advancements that could be made to the 911 system and health care in general courtesy of Siri.

No doubt Apple will push Siri as far as she can possibly go, tapping into a ton of popular apps, and eventually being able to do just about anything. But our current Siri is just a piece of that — incomplete.

That’s the thing about the disappointment Siri brings with her — in the end it’s my fault. She’s a direct step into the future, and any one step into the future leads to a thousand more. Just look at Joseph Marie Jacquard’s punched-card power loom. In 1801, way before any form of a computer existed, his system of reading punched cards to perform certain actions laid part of the ground work for binary code, the foundation of computing as we know it today. But no one expected the loom to transcribe texts for them.

Siri is a massive step into the future, and so our hopes and dreams for her are equally larger than life. That said, disappointment is sure to follow. She’s like a birthday party — not quite what you’d hoped for.

Feel free to cry if you want to.


Company:
Apple
Website:
apple.com
Launch Date:
January 4, 1976
IPO:

November 3, 1980, NASDAQ:AAPL

Started by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, Apple has expanded from computers to consumer electronics over the last 30 years, officially changing their name from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc. in January 2007.

Among the key offerings from Apple’s product line are: Pro line laptops (MacBook Pro) and desktops (Mac Pro), consumer line laptops (MacBook) and desktops (iMac), servers (Xserve), Apple TV, the Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server operating systems, the iPod (offered with…

Learn more


Siri, Why Are You So Underwhelming?

The iPhone 4S Has Been Jailbroken

jailbroken4S

Listen up, fanboys, because this is one you won’t want to miss. The iPhone 4S has been officially jailbroken.

iClarified reports that the iPhone Dev-Team found a way to get Cydia running on both the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2, though the jailbreak is “VERY preliminary.” There are still big pieces missing and plenty of work left to do, so unfortunately the jailbreak won’t be released to the public. Luckily, we can at least get a peek from this video.

For the uninitiated, Cydia lets users browse and install unofficial apps on their iDevice. MuscelNerd, the lead developer of the iPhone Dev-Team, says this is a userland exploit that occurs after iBoot is out of the picture.

Check out the video below, where you can see the iPad 2 running Cydia:



Company:
Apple
Website:
apple.com
Launch Date:
January 4, 1976
IPO:

October 28, 1980, NASDAQ:AAPL

Started by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, Apple has expanded from computers to consumer electronics over the last 30 years, officially changing their name from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc. in January 2007.

Among the key offerings from Apple’s product line are: Pro line laptops (MacBook Pro) and desktops (Mac Pro), consumer line laptops (MacBook) and desktops (iMac), servers (Xserve), Apple TV, the Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server operating systems, the iPod (offered with…

Learn more


The iPhone 4S Has Been Jailbroken

After A Rare Miss, Apple Predicts Record iPhone, iPad Sales And Hints At A $40 Billion Quarter

Nemoi-Memo

Yes, Apple missed with their earnings today. It’s the first time in a long time that has happened. Some are suggesting that hasn’t happened since 2002. That’s big news. But it’s also masking even bigger news: Apple’s expectations for next quarter.

In a press release, it can be hard to tell what numbers on a page signify. But those who follow Apple closely must have taken one look at Apple’s guidance for next quarter and had their jaws drop. I know mine did. Apple is projecting to make $37 billion in revenue next quarter, their holiday quarter. They’re projecting an EPS of $9.30. Both are insane (in a good way).

To put this in some perspective, Apple has never had a quarter over $30 billion in revenue. The closest they’ve come was last quarter, when revenue hit $28.57 billion (this past quarter was their second best ever). A year ago during the holiday quarter, Apple did $26.7 billion in revenue. They’re projecting these numbers to be $10 billion higher.

But that’s not the craziest part.

Where this really gets insane is when you realize that Apple always lowballs their projections. For example, this past quarter, they estimated they would bring in $25 billion in revenue, which they easily beat (it was the Street projections that they missed). So if Apple says they’re going to make $37 billion next quarter, it’s entirely possible — hell, maybe even likely — that they still will never have had a $30 billion quarter — because next quarter may be a $40 billion quarter.

Obviously, to get there, they would need to hit an absolute homerun. But again, it’s the holiday quarter for the top consumer electronics company in the world. And it’s the quarter that will see the initial sales of the iPhone 4S, which just launched last weekend to the tune of 4 million units sold in 3 days — the best sales for any phone ever. The iPhone is the key to Apple’s revenue, and it’s the reason why they missed expectations this past quarter. If the iPhone 4S sells well, $40 billion is not out of the question.

For a bit more context, while Apple has held the profit title among tech companies for a little while, they’re still behind HP when it comes to revenue. HP announced revenues of $31.2 billion in their last reported quarter. A few months ago, I predicted that Apple would soon zoom past HP in this regard as well. Now it’s looking like they won’t just squeeze past, they’ll demolish them next quarter. HP’s all-time high for revenue in a quarter is around $33 billion.

It gets even crazier.

Apple is so confident that next quarter is going to be a blow-out quarter that twice on their earnings call today, Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer went out of their way to predict that Apple would see record iPhone and iPad sales next quarter. That’s something Apple never does. Their guidance is always very general (and again, low) and they stick to talking about things at a high level. Not today. This is two Apple executives going out on a limb to predict records for their two key products next quarter.

I think it’s pretty obvious that they would only do that if they felt like they weren’t going out on a limb. That is to say, Cook and Oppenheimer must be extremely confident that Apple is going to sell well north of 20 million iPhones (the previous record, set last quarter) and 11 million iPads (the record set this quarter). And a lot more.

So while Wall Street is panicking right now — Apple’s stock is currently down over 27 points (6.5 percent) in after-hours trading after the miss — Apple seems more confident than ever.

Sure, a part of it may be that Apple had to throw investors some bone in a period of relative volatility (a rare miss and just weeks after co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs passed away). But no matter which way you look at it, it’s one hell of a bone.


Company:
Apple
Website:
apple.com
Launch Date:
January 4, 1976
IPO:

October 18, 1980, NASDAQ:AAPL

Started by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, Apple has expanded from computers to consumer electronics over the last 30 years, officially changing their name from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc. in January 2007.

Among the key offerings from Apple’s product line are: Pro line laptops (MacBook Pro) and desktops (Mac Pro), consumer line laptops (MacBook) and desktops (iMac), servers (Xserve), Apple TV, the Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server operating systems, the iPod (offered with…

Learn more


After A Rare Miss, Apple Predicts Record iPhone, iPad Sales And Hints At A $40 Billion Quarter