Yammer for iOS has received an update today, adding compatibility for the Apple Watch. This joins many other Microsoft services in supporting the device, making it a better companion to the iPhone. Read more…
Microsoft has rolled out a significant update for its Xbox Music app on iOS and Android, dropping the requirement for an Xbox Music Pass, and adding support for streaming music from OneDrive. Read more…
A newly leaked image of Windows 10 homescreens on smartphones has revealed the various types of live tile backgrounds and transparency options that might be available for users on the OS. Read more…
Microsoft’s new fitness-focused wearable device has been prematurely outed after its companion app was published to the Mac App Store – and the app gives us our first look at the new ‘Band’ Read more…
Used as an in-car hands-free system, Siri causes a high level of mental distraction while driving, according to research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. In a thorough study [PDF] that measured the cognitive workload of 45 drivers completing in-car tasks using various voice-based technologies, Siri’s high complexity and low intuitiveness resulted in some of the highest levels of mental distraction.
Using a five-category rating system, researchers measured Siri-based interactions like sending and receiving text messages and emails, updating Facebook or Twitter, and modifying calendar appointments. Various measurements to record distraction were taken during three separate experiments, in-car on residential streets, without driving, and in a driving simulator.
Researchers tested Siri on an iPhone 5 with iOS 7, using a microphone and voice commands to make the setup both hands-free and eyes-free, with drivers unable to look at or make contact with the phone.
Siri was found to produce the highest mental workload on the researchers’ scale, and use of Siri in a car even resulted in two crashes during the simulator study. It was also given the lowest rating of intuitiveness along with the highest rating of complexity, due to its lack of consistency and its inflexibility when it came to voice commands.
Common issues involved inconsistencies in which Siri would produce different responses to seemingly identical commands. In other circumstances, Siri required exact phrases to accomplish specific tasks, and subtle deviations from that phrasing would result in a failure.
When there was a failure to properly dictate a message, it required starting over since there was no way to modify/edit a message or command. Siri also made mistakes such as calling someone other than the desired person from the phone contact list. Some participants also reported frustration with Siri’s occasional sarcasm and wit.
According to the researchers, interactions with Siri may improve over time as the voice assistant is able to learn accents and other characteristics of a user’s voice, but many commands resulted in overly complex interactions that could be fixed via „improvements to the software design.“
Though the AAA study looked at the distraction level when using Siri directly on an iPhone, it did not look at CarPlay, Apple’s new in-dash system that the company says is a „smarter, safer way to use your iPhone in the car.“ Other similar in-dash systems did, however, result in high levels of cognitive workload in a companion study, but cognitive demand varied highly based on the number of comprehension errors and the number of steps required to complete an action.
Early CarPlay reviews have suggested that the system’s Siri integration is improved compared to Siri on the iPhone, as it was judged to be easy to use with simple menus and navigation.
The study comes ahead of a set of voluntary guidelines the AAA is planning to create, encouraging users to minimize their cognitive distraction by cutting back on the use of voice-based technologies while driving. According to the AAA, voice-based interactions within a vehicle result in „significant impairments“ to driving that may „adversely affect traffic safety.“
Ahead of an event planned for tomorrow in conjunction with Apple, Parisian fashion boutique Colette appears to be preparing to show off the Apple Watch at its boutique on Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris. Various photos on Twitter and Instagram show the location displaying the Apple Watch prominently, with different variants of the device being placed in colored ovals.
(Image credit: papasoey via Instagram)
While it is not known as to what exactly will be shown off at Colette’s event tomorrow, hints from the invitation flyer suggest that the Apple Watch will be the highlight. Colette has also been known to be very selective of what makes it into their flagship location, and it is likely that a collaboration with Apple is part of an initiative by the Cupertino company to push its wearable device as a fashionable item.
(Image credit: @JeromeRoussin via Twitter)
Apple announced earlier this month at its media event that it would start shipping the device in early 2015. A report after the event suggested Apple would be „lucky“ to launch the watch by Valentine’s Day due to issues with software development. The device will be available in three collections, including a high-end Edition collection which boasts an 18-karat gold enclosure and sapphire crystal display.
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Microsoft have recently been granted a patent that could allow for numerous improvements on their product lineups. The technology allows for touch sensitive interaction and an interactive bezel. Read more…
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Apple has added a new „Indie Game Showcase“ section on the App Store dedicated to games made by independent studios, reports MacStories. The page promises to regularly highlight notable titles from indie developers, as well as their favorite games from other studios. For its inaugural showcase, Apple highlighted action-thriller game Device 6 from developer Simogo, which was chosen as a runner up for Game of the Year during Apple’s Best of the iTunes Store 2013 awards.
Often made up of just a few dedicated members, independent studios prove that what really matters is the size of your dream. In each Indie Game Showcase, we celebrate a popular game and its creative team, highlighting the developer’s titles along with their favorite games from other studios.
Various indie games have seen a great amount of success on Apple’s App Store since it first launched in 2008, with titles like Flappy Bird, Doodle Jump, and Fruit Ninja becoming international hits. Popular indie titles made for other consoles have also begun appearing on iOS, with games such as Terraria and Limbo seeing releases on Apple’s platform.
Apple may be preparing to introduce an upgraded iPad Air this year and will likely hold off the release of a 12.9-inch „iPad Pro“ and a newer iPad mini until next year, KGI Securities Ming-Chi Kuo states in a new research note. The analyst believes that a new iPad Air with an A8 processor and Touch ID fingerprint sensor will be the only new tablet that Apple introduces this year, as the company focuses on shifting its resources from the Retina iPad Mini towards developing the 12.9-inch iPad. Kuo estimates that the larger iPad will debut early next year or late this year with limited supply.
12.9-inch iPad (left) with 13-inch MacBook Air (right)
Compared with lower-margin iPad mini with Retina display, which shipments has been tepid, higher-margin iPad Air was a hot selling item in 4Q13, which will slow Apple in developing new iPad mini models. We believe Apple plans to launch upgraded iPad Air early this year, and will accelerate development of 12.9” iPad. As such, more resources will be allocated to these two products, which will affect the progress of the development of new iPad mini. All told, we think chances of the debut of a new iPad mini in 2H14 are slim. In addition, the 12.9” iPad is unlikely to be offered in 2014. For these reasons, we predict the only new iPad product in 2H14 will be the upgraded iPad Air.
In his research note, Kuo also states that the 12.9-inch iPad will act as a driver in allowing developers to create more interactive apps for a bigger screen. However, the analyst notes that Apple has prioritized developing the operating system for the iWatch this year, with plans to release its smart watch in 2014. Kuo also predicts that Apple will restart mass production of the iPad 4 in Q1 2014 as Apple looks to wind down iPad 2 production after a three-year run, which was reported earlier this week. Overall, the analyst predicts the iPad shipments will fall from 34 million units in the 1st half of 2013 to below 30 million units in the first half of 2014.
Kuo shared similar thoughts on the possibility of a 12.9-inch iPad last October, stating that the sixth-generation iPad would contain a 30-40% higher pixel density instead of a bigger screen. Various reports throughout the past couple of months have stated that Apple is targeting a late Q3 2014 launch for the iPad Pro, with some indicating that the device could be aimed toward the enterprise market.