Next AppleTV will include Siri

I’ve wanted to write this for a long time:

Sources familiar with the matter…

have confirmed that the upcoming AppleTV will include Siri.

My sources have been able to confirm that Siri will be a part of the next AppleTV release. It will likely be announced alongside the new iPad this Wednesday. With a lesser degree of certainty, I do not believe the iPad will include Siri at this time, but possibly in the next major iOS release.

::UPDATE:: Oh well.

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re: Speculation on the Microsoft Office for iPad Rumor

MG Siegler says:

But what if we all missed something obvious going on here? What if Microsoft was being so cagey — and maybe even disingenuous — for a very real reason? What if they don’t want to spoil a very big surprise set for a certain Apple event taking place in a couple weeks? […]

It’s very clear at this point that Apple and Microsoft both hate Google far more than they hate one another. And both sides seem willing to do whatever it takes to destroy Android. What if Microsoft is planning to do Office for tablets as an exclusive for the iPad (until the Windows 8 tablets come out, of course), while totally shafting Android?

And then Gruber says:

I agree that would be a pretty big deal. And I can see why Microsoft would agree to it. If they’re going to do Office for iPad, and they’re near completion, why not accept a spot in Apple’s iPad 3 announcement keynote to promote it?

But what would be in it for Apple to offer such a spot to Microsoft? You can argue that the iPad with Office available is an even more attractive platform/device than the iPad as it stands today, sans Office. But why share the spotlight with Microsoft? Apple doesn’t need to. The only other tablet computer with any traction in the market is the Kindle Fire — and the Fire is not competing at all in the business productivity market that Office for iPad would target. Android tablets don’t need to be shot down — they still haven’t gotten off the ground. Why give credence and attention to Microsoft in a market where so far Microsoft has had no success?

I’m not saying it’s impossible, but if Microsoft does get a demo slot on stage during the iPad 3 keynote, Microsoft would be getting much more out of it than Apple.

The benefit to Apple would not be to sell more iPads than Android tablets, but to sell more iPads. iPad sales are doing spectacularly, but how many businesses are going to buy a new fleet of iPad 3s or renew their commitment to the iPad as a business platform after seeing a demo of Office for iPad? Apple will continue to make iOS an enterprise-friendly platform and mobile device management tools like Lion Server and the Casper Suite by JAMF are making it easier and easier to centrally manage hundred or thousands of iOS devices and Macs.

MS Office on iOS would catapult Apple even further into the lead and allow iOS to become deeply embedded in the corporate world before Google can hope to catch up on features. Why share the spotlight with Microsoft? Because in an enterprise environment, the name Microsoft still carries a lot of weight. A partnership between Apple and Microsoft in this area will allow iOS (and hopefully OS X as a consequence) to succeed while holding a secure place for Microsoft’s flagship product.

BrightBus for Champaign Mass Transit updated to v2.0

When I was in undergrad at the University of Illinois, there really wasn’t a good way to check on bus schedules while away from your computer. You could text for updates if you knew the numeric code for the stop you wanted (assuming you know which stop you wanted in the first place) and the mobile site loaded incredibly slowly if at all. When BrightBus came out I was extremely excited and after a long wait, the folks at TwoCentStudios have released a major update for the app.

The major features seem to stem from CUMTD’s new STOPwatch API. STOPwatch is the excellent service that for the last several years has let you track you bus from the CUMTD website. In general, the app makes it incredibly simple to find a stop based on your current location or by searching for an intersection and to track the wait times for each bus.

If you had BrightBus 1 installed, the first thing you’ll need to do after launching your app is to transfer your favorite stops. You will be shown a list of your old favorites and asked to select, based on the save intersection, which exact stop you want to track (i.e. from which corner you’ll be boarding the bus). Once you’ve selected your stop, just tap the star to save it.

IMG 0831

Next you’ll come to the main page where you see a list of your favorite stops and the option to search for new ones. Tapping the saved stop will show you a list of the buses expected to arrive in the next hour and their wait times. Careful, the wait times don’t update live, so you’ll need to back out and tap the stop again to refresh the list.

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To search for a new stop, tap the Stop Search tab at the bottom of your screen and enter an intersection or a stop name (like Transit Plaza). Find your stop in the list or tap the map icon in the upper-right corner to select it from a map view. You’ll be shown a list of pickup locations for that stop and a map showing their relative location. Pick where you want to board and you’ll see the incoming bus list. If you want to save that stop for later, just tap the star.

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I think my favorite features of BrightBus 2 is the location-based search. While in the Stop Search tab, tap the location icon in the top left and you’ll be presented with a map that shows all the stops in your general area.

If you live in Urbana-Champaign and use the bus system, this app is definitely worth having as it will undoubtably save you some worry and hassle. There’s a special introductory price of $1.99 so I recommend picking it up now in case the developers raise the price later. The one major missing feature is the ability to enter a starting and stopping point and plot out a route. This may be a limitation of the STOPwatch API, but you’ll still need to use cumtd.com if you’re not sure which bus you’ll need to get your where you’re going.

::EDIT:: If you’re at Ohio State, there’s a BrightBus app for your school that is probably worth checking out also.

The Unprecedented Audacity of the iBooks Author EULA

That’s going to be a problem…

Dan Wineman:

IMPORTANT NOTE:
If you charge a fee for any book or other work you generate using this software (a “Work”), you may only sell or distribute such Work through Apple (e.g., through the iBookstore) and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple.

And in section 2:

B. Distribution of your Work. As a condition of this License and provided you are in compliance with its terms, your Work may be distributed as follows:
(i) if your Work is provided for free (at no charge), you may distribute the Work by any available means;
(ii) if your Work is provided for a fee (including as part of any subscription-based product or service), you may only distribute the Work through Apple and such distribution is subject to the following limitations and conditions: (a) you will be required to enter into a separate written agreement with Apple (or an Apple affiliate or subsidiary) before any commercial distribution of your Work may take place; and (b) Apple may determine for any reason and in its sole discretion not to select your Work for distribution.

2012 Predictions

After a conversation with my coworkers about the future of the Mac Pro and after reading Macworld’s predictions for the coming year, I’m going to throw my own hat into the ring.

I don’t have any sources at Apple, I haven’t done any research, and I’m not terribly good at predicting the future, but let’s see how this goes:

Mac OS X : Lion was just released in July so I don’t think we’ll see a major point release this year, but iCloud is a new and evolving product and iWork is past due for an update. I think we’ll see iWork for the Mac gain better iCloud document organization like it’s iOS companion. No more signing into the website to download your documents. Perhaps iWork.com will also reappear and allow easier collaboration. We’ll also see some smaller enhancements to iCloud in general making it easier for you to manage and delete your data (specifically in Photo Stream and Address Book). I think we’ll also see iMessage integrated with iChat and iBooks for the Mac.

iOS : We’ll see iOS 6 this year with an enhanced notification center including third-party widget support and easier-to-hit clear buttons. Siri will start to open up to more services and apps and we’ll see Apple introduce its own navigation app that doesn’t depend on Google. iTunes Match will be updated to allow you to sync music to your devices through iTunes in addition to downloading it so you can save time and bandwidth. iBooks will get a performance boost and new textbook features which will allow communication between students and teachers via iCloud. There will also be a notation feature which will sync nicely with iBooks for Mac. You’ll also be able to restore backed-up iCloud data for specific apps rather than an all-or-nothing deal. Oh, and AppleTV will get Hulu Plus.

Hardware : I think we’ll see a new Mac Pro with two or three Thunderbolt ports and fast, new processors. I’m not sure if the design will change and I wouldn’t be surprised either way, but they might have to do something funky with the Thunderbolt ports and the video card here. I think the MacBook Pro line will drop the optical drive this year and slim down a bit. What will they do with that extra space? Optional SSD blade in addition to the tradition 2.5″ drive. Spec bumps all around and the MacBook Air will get a new look to bring it closer to the new MacBook Pro. The iPhone 6 gets a rounded back, a better camera, faster processor, and LTE. NFC? Yeah, maybe. The iPad 3 gets that 2x res retina display that everyone has been talking about in addition to the iPhone’s improvements.

Pie-in-the-sky wish : Lose the skeuomorphic design. Ditch the leather and wood. iCal and Address Book feel like children’s toys, the iBooks bookshelf has lost its novelty and Find My Friends is… well I don’t even know what that is yet. I’d also like a cheap Mac with the expandability of the Mac Pro (I know, Thunderbolt, etc, etc). More than anything, I think it would be cool to use an AppleID to log-in to any Mac that allows it. It would have to be a limited-access guest account, but imagine how nice it would be to sit down at a friend’s house, log in, and have your bookmarks, contacts, settings, and music (if you’re an iTunes Match subscriber) all right there for you.