Apple

Apple iPhone 4S Siri demo

Today Apple released the new iPhone 4S which looks similar to the iPhone 4 on the outside but has a new processor, antennae, and more. It will be running the new iOS 5 which will also run on iPhone 4s and 3GS models.

I didn’t see or track today’s big announcement from Tim Cook at Apple but it seems to me that the new iPhone 4S’s power will be essential for running the Siri Assistant. I can’t wait to use Siri, it looks fantastic.

Here’s Apple’s page for Siri.

Note that Siri isn’t just about control, it also does dictation. This is extremely meaningful to the disabilities community as well as those of us who find the iPhone’s on screen keyboard tough. I can’t wait for Siri to move onto the iPad and Mac OSX.

Assistant

Apple’s ‘Assistant’ Seen as Key Feature for New iPhone Hardware

Apple has been thinking about virtual assistants for years. Some of you may remember their mock up called Knowledge Navigator that included a visual person in the form of a guy with a bow tie. That bow tie guy is an assistant who understands natural language and figures stuff out.

We’re starting down that path with this new assistant.

Apple is using speech to text technology from Nuance Siri to power Assistant. Here’s Siri’s demo I posted about earlier. Apple’s assistant technology will be built into iOS 5.

My guess is this kind of assistant will be part of all Apple products at some point.

More iPads Take to the Sky With Qantas In-Flight Trial

More iPads Take to the Sky With Qantas In-Flight Trial

A new Qantas trial pilot program will see one of the airline’s Boeing 767-300 jets outfitted with one iPad 2 for each passenger, according to the Australian Business Traveller. Each of the aircraft’s 254 seats will have its own iPad 2, and there will also be several spares kept on hand just in case. All seats pockets will carry an iPad 2, but business-class travelers will also get a flexible stand to use with their fold-out meal tray.

The pilot program is about testing Qantas’ in-flight Wi-Fi streaming capabilities, Qantas Executive Manager for Customer Experience Alison Webster told the ABT. The ultimate goal is to be able to provide passengers with access to the Q Streaming service through their own devices, be they Apple’s iPads and iPhones or Android tablets and handsets.

I love using my iPad on United PS flights cross country but I must say, gogo inflight internet isn’t the greatest (yet). I buy and use it to keep up with email and RSS and comments at this site but for anything serious like a video download it’s useless. I don’t know where the bottleneck is but no doubt this kind of deal is the beginning of working it out.

Made in the USA

Core77 has a nice post on a new Tumbler blog: Expletive-Titled Homage to American Made Goods. The new blog is FUCK YEAH MADE IN USA and it’s a brilliant idea.

More of us Americans need to attempt to do our small part by supporting and buying from companies that make products in the USA or who have decent working conditions for their workers. Good ran a piece on Best Practices: King Arthur Flour, Where Workers Are Owners and while King Arthur is a bit more expensive than Stop and Shop brand, we’ll be buying it from now on to support an American company that’s doing good by its workers.

In the early days of the Macintosh (1984), Steve Jobs built a plant in Fremont, California (east bay) that assembled Macintosh computers by robot. He did the same thing with NeXT computers. No doubt one of the reasons Apple products can be sold as cheaply as they are is the low cost of foreign production and Tim Cook’s sourcing genius, but how many of us iPhone users would pay a bit more for an iPhone that was made (maybe by robot, maybe by American workers) in the USA. I know I would.

Now that Apple is over the hump so to speak and doing very well, maybe its time to do an experiment to see how many Americans would be willing to support “made in the USA” vs low price.