Apple leases extra office space to boost its Siri team

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Siri will answer your questions, but that doesn't mean he/she has to like them.
Apple is Siri-ous about virtual assistants. Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

Apple is beefing up its Boston office, with an aim to expanding its Siri voice recognition team. Documents filed with local authorities show that the company has leased around 11,500 square feet of office space on the 13th floor of One Broadway, an office tower owned by MIT and located on the outer perimeter of the university’s campus in Cambridge, MA.

The added space gives Apple room to bring in an extra 65 people to work on the project, although a local job search for the area doesn’t yet show anything.

Apple has been steadily growing its Siri team over the past few years — recruiting employees formerly from companies like AT&T Research, Microsoft, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, BBN Technologies and others for its speech team in Cambridge.

Boston parks will soon let you charge your iPhone from solar-powered benches

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The park: a place to jog, soak up the sun, and… charge your iPhone? From next week visitors at select parks in the Boston area will be able to charge their mobile devices at special solar-powered benches, dubbed “Soofas.”

“Soofa is the first step into smart urban furniture,” Changing Environments CEO and Soofa co-inventor Sandra Richter says in a statement. “The possibilities to update the city for the mobile generation are endless and long overdue.”

Boston Copies Starbucks iPhone App For Commuter Rail Ticketing

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MBTA's mobile purchases will be fully smartphone-based without NFC
MBTA's mobile purchases will be fully smartphone-based without NFC

Mobile purchasing systems based on NFC have a way to go before they become ubiquitous, but other types of mobile payments already here. A great example is the Starbucks app that can be used as a virtual reload-able gift card. When you want to pay with the card, a barista scans a code on your iPhone’s screen.

Starbucks may have made this technology a part of every day life for millions of people, but it isn’t the only company to do. Some airlines offer a virtual boarding pass as part of mobile check-in features.

The same iPhone/smartphone screen as digital token approach may soon extend to your commute as well as your morning coffee or air travel. A pilot project in Boston plans to bring the same NFC-less mobile payment technology to the city’s commuter rail service.

MacTech Boot Camp Coming to Boston May 18, Speakers Confirmed

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Following the sellout success of its San Francisco and Dallas events, MacTech Boot Camp is set to land in Boston in less than two weeks, and Cult of Mac readers can save $200 on registration. On May 18th, the event will be held at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, with a number of confirmed speakers who include:

  • Jeff Korn
  • Mike Zarin
  • Leon Lincoln
  • Adam Schechter
  • Josh Turiel
  • Max Buxton
  • Andy Espo
  • Al Willis
  • Neil Ticktin