‘Steve Jobs’ Earns $2.6 Million in Limited Release, Opens Wide Today

Steve Jobs has been out in limited release for two weeks now, meaning fans in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and select other locations in the U.S. and Canada have been able to see the Danny Boyle-directed film about the former Apple CEO ahead of today’s official wide release. Since its debut on October 9, the movie has grossed $2,601,320 as of Wednesday, October 21.

With the wide release, Universal Pictures has uploaded a handful of new videos to its YouTube channel. Throughout its limited release, the company posted unique content surrounding the launch of the movie, including a video where Steve Wozniak discusses his relationship with the real Steve Jobs and new clips from the movie. Yesterday, a roundtable discussion video was posted showcasing the film’s cast and crew talking about the legacy of Jobs.

The new movie, made on a budget of $30 million, is projected to gross between $15 and $19 million on opening weekend, with its direct competitor for the top spot at the box office being the supernatural horror sequel Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (via Variety). In total, Steve Jobs will expand from its 60 previous limited release theater locations to 2,411 across the country today.



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Apple Reportedly Close to Acquiring ‘Path’, Looking to Integrate Service Into Messages [iOS Blog]

Apple is said to be close to acquiring social network Path in an attempt to boost the company’s social media efforts, reports PandoDaily. Citing a „well-placed“ source inside Apple’s engineering team, the site notes that the deal is „essentially a done deal“ and would see Apple integrating Path’s current services into its Messages app.

Additionally, Path founder Dave Morin was seen sitting in the front row for today’s special media event, which is usually reserved for high ranking executives at the company. Throughout the past few years, Apple has also featured Path in a number of its earlier advertising campaigns and keynotes for the iPhone.

However, the social networking service caused a fair amount of controversy in 2012 when it was discovered to be uploading users’ entire address books to its servers without alerting users or asking for authorization. The issue prompted an investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission as Morin was even summoned to Apple’s Cupertino headquarters to be grilled by CEO Tim Cook and other executives.

Path’s last major development came in June when the company announced that it would be launching its own separate messaging app, complete with quick reply capabilities and Apple Maps integration.




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Apple Building its Own Speech Recognition Team to Power Siri

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal claimed that Nuance, which is responsible for the technology behind Apple’s virtual assistant Siri, was in talks with Samsung Electronics about a possible acquisition. Now, a new report from Wired states that Apple is forming its own in-house speech recognition team to power the next-generation of Siri.

“Apple is not hiring only in the managerial level, but hiring also people on the team-leading level and the researcher level,” says Abdel-rahman Mohamed, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto, who was courted by Apple. “They’re building a very strong team for speech recognition research.”

Throughout the past few years, Apple has hired a number of high-level speech researchers in Nuance, including former vice president of research Larry Gillick. A number of those researchers are working at Apple’s office in Boston, which was also rumored last year to be working on an in-house Siri solution that moves away from Nuance’s technologies.

While the forthcoming version of Siri in iOS 8 still features the same technology provided by Nuance, it is possible that Apple could debut its own in-house voice recognition solution in a future version of iOS. Siri in iOS 8 will feature a number enhancements, including hands-free „Hey Siri“ voice activation, music recognition by way of Shazam, streaming voice recognition, and more. Apple will launch iOS 8 this fall.




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Samsung Unveils Line of Gear 2 Smart Watches Featuring ‘Tizen’ Mobile Operating System

Samsung today unveiled its new line of Gear 2 smart watches, which follows the release of its Galaxy Gear smart watch last year. Like its predecessor, the flagship Gear 2 features a 1.63-inch touchscreen, 4GB of internal storage, 512MB of RAM, and mobile speakers, but also now contains a built-in camera and IR blaster. Meanwhile, the cheaper Gear 2 Neo is lighter than its higher-end counterpart, and does not feature a camera.

Samsung’s Gear 2 (left) and Gear 2 Neo (right) smart watches
Both watches are running Samsung’s new Tizen mobile platform, which was developed in collaboration with Intel as well as multiple telecommunications companies. Samsung says that users can expect an „enriched application ecosystem“ as well as compatibility with over a dozen Samsung Galaxy smartphones at launch.

The Gear 2 is said to include a 300 mAh battery that provides anywhere from 2-3 days of typical usage, as well as a heart rate sensor and pedometer for fitness tracking.

The ability to monitor to health-related metrics will reportedly be one of the main features of Apple’s iWatch, which is in development and could be released later this year. Throughout the past year, Apple has hired a number of health experts in fields related to health metrics, and also is said to be developing a „Healthbook“ app for iOS 8. It was also reported last week that Apple is interested in acquiring health wearable maker Basis, which currently integrates many advanced health-centric technologies into its current products.

Samsung will be releasing the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo in various colors, with both devices receiving Charcoal Black and Wild Orange options. Additionally, the Gear 2 will be released in a Gold Brown option while the Gear 2 Neo will be offered a Mocha Grey colorway.

The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo will be available internationally starting April, with pricing to be announced soon. The company is also expected to unveil its flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone at its Unpacked 2014 event during Mobile World Congress 2014 later this week, with recent reports suggesting that the device will feature an integrated fingerprint sensor.




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Apple Ends OS X 10.8.4 Beta Testing Program, Suggesting Imminent Release [Mac Blog]

Apple may be planning to release the final version of OS X 10.8.4 in the near future, as it today sent out notices to AppleSeed members announcing the closure of the OS X 10.8.4 software update project.

As noted by AppleInsider, participants received a notification stating that weekend infrastructure maintenance requires the company to close existing products.

The notice thanks AppleSeed members for participating and notes that an email will be sent out when the final version of the software is publicly available. Apple first released the OS X 10.8.4 beta on April 1st and released eight different builds, ending on build 12E55. Throughout the beta, Apple asked users to focus on Wi-Fi, Graphics Drivers, and Safari.


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AT&T to Expand FaceTime Over Cellular to All Customers by Year End

In a statement to The Verge on the future of pre-loaded apps, AT&T today revealed that it is planning to offer FaceTime over cellular to all of its customers on any data plan by the end of 2013.

For video chat apps that come pre-loaded on devices, we currently give all OS and device makers the ability for those apps to work over cellular for our customers who are on Mobile Share or Tiered plans. Apple, Samsung and BlackBerry have chosen to enable this for their pre-loaded video chat apps. And by mid-June, we’ll have enabled those apps over cellular for our unlimited plan customers who have LTE devices from those three manufacturers.

Throughout the second half of this year, we plan to enable pre-loaded video chat apps over cellular for all our customers, regardless of data plan or device; that work is expected to be complete by year end.

When FaceTime over cellular was announced alongside iOS 6, AT&T initially restricted the service to its customers that subscribed to a Mobile Share data plan. AT&T soon expanded access, first to customers on a tiered data plan with an LTE device, and then to all customers with a tiered data plan regardless of device. Only customers with a grandfathered unlimited data plan were restricted from using the service.

AT&T plans to allow its unlimited customers with LTE devices access to FaceTime over cellular beginning in June, with full access to all customers becoming available by the end of the year.


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