Mountain Lion Offers Dozens Of New Features For Business Users

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Many of Mountain Lion's new features are perfect for businesses, schools, and enterprises.
Many of Mountain Lion's new features are perfect for businesses, schools, and enterprises.

Mountain Lion includes over 200 new features. Some of them are dramatic and hard to miss while others are minor conveniences that don’t stand out immediately. Many of those big and small new features and improvements have a lot of appeal for business users.

Here’s a list of the many new features in Mountain Lion that can help professionals in almost any industry work smarter, more efficiently, and more effectively.

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Does Siri Belong In Business? [Feature]

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Siri
Does Siri belong in the workplace? If so, is it worth potential security and privacy issues?

The news that IBM bans Siri for every employee that has an iPhone 4S and participates the company’s BYOD program unleashed a lot of discussion about whether the company was being paranoid or prudent. One of the bigger questions to come out of all that discussion was a reframing of the issue itself – does Siri have a place in the business world to begin with?

Setting aside the security and privacy issues that led IBM to ban Siri, are there compelling use cases for Siri in the workplace? If there are, do they outweigh the privacy and security concerns? Could Apple do more to make Siri business-friendly?

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Was IBM Right? Is Siri A Threat To Businesses? [Feature]

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IBM bans Siri use on the iPhones of its employees
IBM bans Siri use on the iPhones of its employees

Apple has gotten a fair amount of flack over Siri – most of it relating to Siri not recognizing words or phrases, misinterpreting requests, or providing incomplete or inaccurate answers. Apple is even facing a class action lawsuit over Siri not working as promised by iPhone 4S ads.

For IBM, however, the concern isn’t that Siri won’t work as advertised. Big blue is worried that Siri will work exactly as advertised and that confidential and sensitive information will leak outside IBM’s network as a result. For those reasons, the company disables Siri on the iPhones of its employees.

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Get The Most Out Of iOS Voice Dictation [Video How-To]

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Dictate

Dictation has been one of my favorite features of the new iPad. It’s a great way to type quick notes or search queries out without having to use the keyboard. Underneath the surface though, dictation is much more than just a simple feature for jotting notes down. In this video, I’ll show you some of the hidden features of voice dictation on the new iPad and iPhone 4S.

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If You Use The New iPad’s Dictation Feature For Work, You Could Be Breaking The Law

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Enabling dictation on the iPad means sending your voice and personal data to Apple
Enabling dictation on the iPad means sending your voice and personal data to Apple

One of the feature on the new iPad is its dictation capabilities, a feature also available on the iPhone 4S (which also boasts Apple’s Siri virtual assistant feature). There are quite a few ways that high quality dictation and other speech to text capabilities could useful to professionals in many fields.

The problem is that in order to get that high quality dictation functionality, the new iPad and the iPhone 4S rely on Apple’s servers to do much of the work in turning your speech into text. More importantly, it isn’t just snippets of voice recordings that get sent to Apple. Personal data from your iPad or iPhone 4S gets uploaded as well and much of it remains associated with you and your device. That’s a general concern for most of us, but for professionals in regulated industries like healthcare or fields that require confidentiality like finance and legal professions, it becomes a critical privacy concern and may even break the law.

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Apple References Siri Dictation On iPod touch And iPad In Latest iOS 5.1 Beta

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Screen Shot 2012-01-09 at 8.51.15 PM

Today’s iOS 5.1 beta 3 makes some interesting references to Siri’s Dictation feature. On both the iPod touch and iPad, a new Dictation text file has appeared under the keyboard settings window. This new document is not present in the same place on the iPhone 4S, suggesting that this reference does indeed foreshadow what’s to come.

The text file outlines iOS Dictation’s privacy details. While Siri Dictation is currently an iPhone 4S-only feature, it’s plausible to assume that Apple is working to bring the feature to other iOS devices.

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Use Raise To Speak On iPhone 4S For Text Entry Via Dictation [iOS Tips]

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dictation

By now, every iPhone 4S user has to know about the raise to speak feature that activates Siri. You simply raise your iPhone 4S to your ear, wait for the two tones and start talking. Ask Siri a silly or serious question and it usually has an answer for you. Sometime it isn’t what you would expect.

Although it is fun to ask Siri questions, you can also use Siri for dictation purposes. You can activate dictation by pressing the microphone button on the iOS pop-up keyboard. But did you know there is another way to start dictation?

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