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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‘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 Maps Adds Amtrak Routes in Northeastern U.S. and Transit Directions for Boston

As part of its efforts to add transit directions in iOS 9, Apple has recently updated Apple Maps to include multiple Amtrak routes in the Northeastern United States. Available mainly in the cities where transit directions have been implemented, the longest Amtrak route available runs from Chicago to New York.

Supported routes include the Northeast Regional, Acela Express, Keystone, Lake Shore Limited, Pennsylvanian, and Maple Leaf, many of which operate between cities in the Northeastern United States.

The Acela Express, for example, runs between Boston, New Haven, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington DC. Lake Shore Limited runs from New York/Boston to Albany to Chicago, while Maple Leaf runs from New York to Niagara Falls to Toronto.

Amtrak routes in the South, West, Midwest, and Northwest are not currently available in Apple Maps, but the information will likely be implemented as Apple expands transit information to additional areas across the United States. Transit directions are currently available in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and San Francisco.

Along with Amtrak support for several cities where transit directions are supported, Apple has also added transit information for the Boston area. Boston was initially added to Apple’s list of supported cities earlier this month, but the page was later updated to note the feature wouldn’t officially be working until a later date in October.

As of this morning, transit directions are available in Boston, allowing Boston residents to access directions by Amtrak, commuter rail, buses, and more. The next city to gain transit directions will be Sydney, which was also added to Apple’s list of supported cities earlier in the month. While Boston transit information is live, it does not yet appear to be available in Sydney.

(Thanks, Alec!)



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iMessage Activation Via Phone Number Now Working on Wind Mobile in Canada

A growing number of Wind Mobile customers in Canada this week have confirmed to MacRumors and on social media that iMessage activation via phone number is now working properly on iPhone. iMessage on Wind Mobile previously only worked when activated using an Apple ID.

MacRumors reader Brandon and several other iPhone users confirmed the change.

Finally Wind Mobile in Canada is suddenly using native iMessage. You used to have to only use your Apple ID for iMessage and FaceTime because it was unsupported on Wind’s network. Today, suddenly it started working. I have confirmed it with an Apple Genius, and I myself am a former Apple technician as well.

Apple released iOS 9.0.2 last week with a fix for an issue that prevented iMessage activation for some users, but it is more likely the change was made by Wind Mobile given that iPhones running previous software versions such as iOS 8.4 also now have iMessage activation by SMS.

Apple does not list Wind Mobile as a supported wireless carrier on its website. Canadian carriers that officially support the iPhone include the big three networks Bell, Rogers and Telus, prepaid carriers Fido, Koodo and Virgin Mobile and regional carriers Eastlink, MTS, SaskTel, TbayTel and Videotron.

Wind Mobile is a bargain carrier in Canada, offering affordable rate plans with unlimited talk, text and data for between $25 and $50 per month. Wind Mobile’s coverage area is mainly limited to larger cities, however, such as the Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver metro areas.

(Thanks, Brandon!)



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Inside iOS 9: Apple Maps Gains Transit Mode and Nearby Search

Apple Maps launched in September 2012 as the default mapping app on iPhone, but soon faced widespread criticism for having incomplete data, providing incorrect directions and lacking features over Google Maps. The controversial launch resulted in Apple CEO Tim Cook issuing a rare public apology, while former iOS chief Scott Forstall was ousted from Apple just one month later.

While there is still room for improvement, Apple Maps has gained several new features over the past three years. iOS 9 continues that trend, adding a long overdue Transit routing and new Nearby search mode alongside existing features such as turn-by-turn navigation, real-time traffic information, Flyover photo-realistic 3D views of select metro areas, Siri, local search and iCloud support.

Transit

Apple Maps is now a multi-modal mapping app with the addition of public transit routing via bus, subway, light rail, train and ferry. You can view entire stations or individual lines on a map to choose the best possible route.

Apple Maps transit directions are currently available in Baltimore, Berlin, Chicago, London, Mexico City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto, Washington D.C. and several cities in China.

Some extended areas of Connecticut and New Jersey near New York City and Southern Ontario cities near Toronto such as York Region, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton and Waterloo Region also support transit.

Nearby

You can now search Apple Maps based on categories such as Food, Drinks, Shopping, Travel, Services, Fun, Health and Transport, and within each category you can search deeper for specific places.

If you tap on Food, for example, you can then filter your results based on Popular, Restaurants, Groceries, Fast Food, Cafés, Bakeries and Desserts. A list of locations is displayed with aggregated Yelp data.

Nearby categories such as Food, Fun, Shopping and Travel can also be accessed from the Spotlight Search menu on iOS 9.



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The Weeknd Stars in Two-Part Apple Music Ad During MTV VMAs

Apple debuted a new two-part Apple Music ad featuring The Weeknd during the 2015 MTV VMAs on Sunday night. The one-minute spots show The Weeknd walking backstage after performing at the MVAs, getting into a limo driven by actor John Travolta and listening to Beats 1 Radio while scrolling through his artist page on Apple Music Connect.

The Weeknd then arrives at an MVAs afterparty with his single „The Hills“ playing and shuffles through additional songs from an Apple Music playlist, followed by the tagline „It’s all in your head. Create your own party. Unlimited music for $9.99.“

The Weeknd was one of the most played artists on Beats 1 since the radio station went live on June 30, alongside Drake, Disclosure, Fetty Wap, Jamie xx, A$AP Rocky, Years & Years, Kendrick Lamar, Tame Impala and Major Lazer.

Apple launched a worldwide advertising campaign for its new streaming music service earlier this month, with billboards, posters and other signage appearing in cities including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, Toronto and Mexico City. Later in August, Apple released three artist-focused Apple Music ads starring James Bay and Kygo.



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OLED table lamp casts a bright light on the future

Few of us have ever given much thought to the building of a better lightbulb. But technology has forced us away from the incandescent bulb to LED lights which are more efficient, last longer and, in some cases, provide a variety of color. The design and engineering team behind the Aerelight isn’t riding the LED […]

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Apple Music Licensing Deals Include Permissions for Additional Beats Radio Stations

Apple’s licensing terms with record labels give the company permission to create up to five additional radio stations like Beats 1, reports The Verge, citing sources with knowledge of Apple’s deals. Without needing to negotiate new terms, Apple could potentially launch additional Beats stations around the world, adding DJs in other countries or launching stations with a specific focus.

As part of the deal it struck with the major labels for Apple Music Radio, Apple has licenses for up to five additional stations like Beats 1, without having to renegotiate with the labels. That means Apple could launch a Beats 2 station headquartered in Australia or Asia, allowing it to provide live radio around the clock (Beats 1 is only live 12 hours a day).

It seems Apple is indeed considering and preparing for a potential expansion Beats 1 with new Beats radio stations, as the company has registered domains like beats2.com.cn, beats2.hk, and beats4.com.ru in various countries around the world. Beats 1 is broadcast worldwide, but in the future, Apple may wish to offer stations that cater to different languages and music tastes around the world.

Labels may have given Apple permission to create additional radio stations due to the fact that Apple is allegedly paying more per-play than Pandora for music that is streamed on Beats 1.

The Verge‘s sources also commented on the status of Apple Music, stating that labels are „pretty pleased“ with Apple Music’s performance thus far and that the service has gained a „substantial“ number of users since it launched on June 30. Of course, all Apple Music subscribers right now have free access to the service until October, so it’s still impossible to gauge how Apple Music measures up to competing services like Spotify.

As of this month, Apple has initiated a major advertising campaign for Apple Music, with billboards and signage popping up in cities around the world like San Francisco, Tokyo, Toronto, Los Angeles, and Mexico City, which should bump up subscriber numbers.

Apple has also maintained momentum with its Beats 1 radio station through a series of exclusive song releases and interviews with artists. Most recently, Beats 1 scored an exclusive with MTV, with the network using the platform to announce the 2015 Video Music Award nominees.



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