Microsoft Launches Official ‘Cortana’ App for iOS and Android Devices

Microsoft today officially launched its virtual assistant Cortana as a downloadable app for iOS and Android platforms (via Business Insider). Similar to Apple’s Siri personal assistant, Cortana allows Windows users to set reminders, preview the weather, and answer basic questions thanks to integrated internet search abilities. Other Cortana for iOS and Android features include the following:

•Set and get location and time reminders across your PC and phone.

•Track packages, flights, scores, stocks, and other important info across your PC and phone.

•Use Cortana’s Notebook to view, edit and manage your interests

•Get information and answers to all kinds of questions. If you’re looking for it, Cortana can help find it.

•Have a little fun in your down time — ask anything, get jokes, and much more.

Microsoft detailed a few features for Cortana at Business Insider‘s Ignition Conference in New York City, including abilities like asking Cortana for help with your voice without having to open up the app. Unfortunately, most of those features won’t be available to iOS users due to certain developer restrictions that fence off Cortana from becoming fully integrated into iOS.

On the other hand, a few Android smartphones will gain a leg up on the iOS version of Cortana thanks to a partnership between Microsoft and start-up company Cyanogen, which runs a custom version of the OS on select Android devices. With Cyanogen software, Android users will have essentially all of the abilities Windows Phone users have over Cortana, including being able to speak to the personal assistant without opening up the separate app.

After some rumors and speculation earlier in the year, in May Microsoft confirmed that Cortana would be heading to non-Windows Phone platforms later this year. In November, the company opened up beta sign-ups for users to test out Cortana for iOS in a pre-release state.

Cortana for iOS is available to download now for free from the App Store [Direct Link].

Tags: Microsoft, Cortana
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Thinner MacBook Air in 13" and 15" Sizes Coming at WWDC 2016?

Apple may be preparing to introduce a revamped MacBook Air at next year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, according to Taiwan’s Economic Daily News [Google Translate]. If Apple holds true to recent history, WWDC 2016 would be held in June, and the today’s report claims the new MacBook Air will launch in the third quarter, which corresponds to the July–September timeframe.

The new MacBook Air is said to take on a slimmer design and arrive in 13-inch and 15-inch sizes, but it is unclear whether an 11-inch model will also be included. The slimmer design will be enabled by „fully redesigned“ internal components across the board, and Apple is reportedly currently working with its suppliers to develop these new components.

Apple’s notebook lineup expanded earlier this year with the addition of the new MacBook, an ultrathin machine carrying a 12-inch Retina display and utilizing ultra low voltage Intel chips for a fanless design.

Many have assumed the MacBook Air will be discontinued at some point as declining costs allow the MacBook to become Apple’s mainstream notebook offering, so a redesigned MacBook Air giving the line a new lease on life could be considered a bit of a surprise.

The addition of a 15-inch MacBook Air could hint at Apple’s vision for its future lineup, with the 12-inch MacBook occupying the ultraportable spot, the MacBook Air serving mainstream customers at 13 and 15 inches, and the MacBook Pro offering more power at those same sizes.

Economic Daily News has a hit-or-miss track record with Apple rumors, so caution should be observed with today’s claims until or unless other supporting rumors surface in the coming months.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Tag: udn.com
Buyer’s Guide: MacBook Air (Caution)
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Apple Raises TestFlight Beta Tester Limit to 2,000, Extends Build Expiration to 60 Days

Apple today announced it is now allowing developers to invite up to 2,000 individuals to beta test iOS and tvOS apps using the TestFlight beta testing platform, an increase from the former 1,000 participant limit.

Since its 2014 launch, Apple has capped TestFlight beta testers at 1,000, but announced plans to expand that number at the June Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple has now made good on that promise, boosting the number of people who can install a beta app.

Apple has also increased the period of time before a TestFlight beta expires from 30 days to 60 days, another change that was first announced at WWDC.
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Apple says ‘screw you’ to Europe’s largest hacker conference

The Chaos Computer Club, Europe’s largest collective of hackers, claims that Apple rejected the group’s streaming video app — which would allow users to watch talks from its Chaos Communications Congress event. Why? Because members of the conference had previously hacked iOS, and Apple doesn’t want to help spread the hacking word. The Congress event has run […]

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


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Apple Shares Humorous New iPhone 6s Ad Starring Bill Hader

Apple today shared yet another new ad for the iPhone 6s, this time focusing on the Siri personal assistant and the wireless „Hey Siri“ feature built into the new device. The humorous ad stars Bill Hader, who also played a part in the funny „Backstage“ video that Apple debuted during the Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

In the video, Hader asks Siri to read his email, which turns out to be a spam email message from „Prince Oseph“ who has a „once in a lifetime opportunity for the making millions of currency.“ Siri asks if Hader would like to reply and he does so enthusiastically while eating a sandwich.

The iPhone 6s is here, and the only thing that’s changed with Siri is everything. Because now you just say „Hey Siri“ and Siri’s there, hands-free. Which can come in handy.

The „Prince Oseph“ ad is the fifth iPhone 6s advertisement that Apple has released this week, with each ad focusing on different aspects of the iPhone 6s, like 3D Touch, Live Photos, and the improved photo taking capabilities of the devices. Other ads have starred well-known personalities like Jamie Foxx and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry.

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Apple encouraged by growing revenues in China

China’s rising middle class has been good for Apple and the iPhone. CEO Tim Cook said iPhone sales in the world’s largest smartphone market has risen 112 percent over the last year. Cook reported the China earnings during Apple’s third-quarter conference call as the company gets to set to release an earnings report Tuesday afternoon […]

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


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