How to choose the right running app for you

There are so many iPhone apps for runners, it’s hard to decide which one to use. Should you go for a familiar brand like Nike, or a specialist like Runkeeper? Ultimately, all running apps do pretty much the same thing: They use GPS to track how far and how fast you run. But when you […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Pay what you want for a full-course education in JavaScript [Deals]

JavaScript is one of the most essential languages underpinning the modern internet. It’s an invaluable entry on anyone’s resume, and with this bundle of 10 JavaScript development courses you’ll be able to claim that knowledge with confidence. What’s more, you can pay whatever you want for the whole thing, and 10 % of anything you […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Apple’s Culture of Secrecy Slowing its Artificial Intelligence Development

Apple’s strict adherence to an environment of secrecy and privacy in regards to its software and hardware development has been suggested as a major blow to the company’s potential for growth in the field of artificial intelligence. In a new article by Bloomberg, Apple was noted as a non-attendee at the Neural Information Processing Systems conference, an annual confluence of companies including Google and Microsoft where researches get together to discuss the progress and development of AI technologies.

In years past, Apple has attended the conference, but its emissaries were known to keep „a low profile“ during the proceedings. In the midst of a mass sharing and celebration of discoveries and findings in the world of AI, many remain unsure of the Cupertino company’s continued success in such departments if it remains attached to such strict secrecy rules. “They’re completely out of the loop,“ said Richard Zemel, a professor in the computer science department at the University of Toronto.

The biggest threat posed to Apple due to this level of secrecy, according to Trevor Darrell, managing director of a machine-learning research center at the University of California at Berkeley, is the barrier to entry it creates for graduate students fresh out of college. The stagnant environment and closed-off atmosphere inhibits the company’s employees from interacting with the rest of the scientific community, an issue that most potential hires may not be entirely comfortable with.

“There’s no way they can just observe and not be part of the community and take advantage of what is going on,” says Yoshua Bengio, a professor of computer science at the University of Montreal. “I believe if they don’t change their attitude, they will stay behind.”

“The really strong people don’t want to go into a closed environment where it’s all secret,” Bengio says. “The differentiating factors are, ‘Who are you going to be working with?’ ‘Am I going to stay a part of the scientific community?’ ‘How much freedom will I have?’”

Earlier in the month, Apple acquired two artificial intelligence-related start-ups: VocalIQ and Perceptio. VocalIQ’s natural language API hints at a more naturalistic version of Siri in the future, and even possible integration into the rumored Apple car project. Perceptio suggests the possibility of a more expansive and robust AI system for Apple, without the compromise of the company’s in-depth privacy policies that pull Siri back from services like Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana.

All the same, Bloomberg‘s story suggests that despite Apple’s enthusiasm to innovate in the artificial intelligence sector, the company could continue to lag behind in certain departments – Apple Maps, for example – due to its stances on secrecy and privacy.

Tag: Siri
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Apple Releases Documentation to Help Publishers Prepare for Apple News Format

Apple has released an Apple News Format Reference in the iOS Developer Library that provides developers with technical details on how to prepare for the upcoming release of Apple News Format, which allows news publishers to create customized layouts with iOS fonts, rich photo galleries, videos and animations optimized for iPhone and iPad.

Apple News Format will allow for all news publishers to have customized layouts with rich graphics and other content, rather than basic articles being pulled straight from an RSS feed, as initial selected partners have had since iOS 9 was released. Apple has shared a direct download of example articles as a guideline.

Apple has also released an Apple News API Reference that explains how publishers can use the Apple News API to integrate Apple News with their existing content management system to access a rich suite of tools for measuring user engagement with published content. Apple also updated its News Publishing Guide with new Delivering Content and Managing Content sections.

Apple News Format is still listed as „coming soon“ on Apple’s website.

(Thanks, Eric!)

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Apple Rejects Weight Measuring 3D Touch App ‘Gravity’

App developer Ryan McLeod and a few of his friends have been working on a new application for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus since the devices were announced in early September. Their app, dubbed Gravity, would harness the power of 3D Touch, letting users place a spoon onto the face of the iPhone and weigh the measurement of items like powders, drink mixes, and small fruit.

Once they got the new iPhones in their hands, the team working with McLeod began calibrating the sensitivity of the weight measurements with a few coins placed on a spoon. Following the launch of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, McLeod and his partners had the app finished in under four days, along with some basic marketing materials, and submitted it to Apple. They were rejected about a week later due to „having a misleading description,“ which they took to be confused with a handful of fake scale apps on the App Store (via The Verge).

Gravity unfortunately got rejected for having a misleading description and we immediately knew why: There are a couple dozen “scale” apps on the app store. The thing is that 80% of them are joke apps, “for entertainment purposes only” and the other 20% try to weigh things using the tilt of your iPhone once it’s been balanced on top of an inflated bag and calibrated using a single coin. Gravity was most likely confused with the prank apps and rejected for claiming it was a real working scale.

Setting out to clear any confusion, McLeod made a demonstration video of Gravity in action and filed an appeal to ensure Apple that the app was legitimate and not one of a handful of „joke“ apps found on the App Store. In the end, McLeod was told over the phone by Apple that „the concept of a scale app was not appropriate for the App Store.“

The developer weighed a few options for the possibility of Apple’s rejection of the app. The first was the possibility of damage to the iPhone, which would be difficult for the average person since the API for Gravity (and 3D Touch) limits the weight accepted onto the iPhone to ~385g (0.85lbs), the app flashing a bright red light when exceeding that force. McLeod also suggests the app’s advantageous use of 3D Touch is simply too early to be widely accepted, not to mention the possible negative connotation with drug use and measurement that could be associated with the app.

McLeod and his team said they have a „strong respect“ for Apple’s selection and rejection process on the App Store, but still remain positive that one day when 3D Touch apps become a bit more widespread, Gravity could be revisited as a potential candidate to „be one of the hand-picked, who-knew-a-phone-could-do-that-apps anyone can download on the App Store and have in their pocket.“ For now, he’s back to working on the iOS puzzle game Blackbox.

Check out McLeod’s entire post on the creation and rejection of Gravity on Medium.

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