All items tagged with "Microsoft"

Siri might ditch Nuance so it can finally understand what you’re saying

Apple-Siri
For many people, Siri has been more of a nuisance than an empowering personal assistant since debuting on the iPhone 4s in 2011. Sure, she’s received some upgrades and is getting even more in iOS 8, but fancy new features mean nothing if she can’t understand what you’re saying.

Siri’s favoriting line, “Sorry I didn’t get that,” might soon be a thing of the past though as a report from Wired says the time is ripe for Apple to unleash a neural-net-boosted Siri.

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Fear of the iPhone 6 caused Microsoft to ditch production of Surface Mini

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Many users were surprised when the expected Surface Mini tablet didn’t arrive alongside the Surface Pro 3 back in May. A new report, however, sheds a bit of light on the issue.

According to upstream supply chain sources who spoke with DigiTimes, Microsoft ditched plans for a small-size tablet due to fierce competition in the marketplace, along with negative responses from brand vendor clients.

With nothing standout about the Surface Mini’s tech spec (it was reportedly set to sport a 7.5- to 8-inch display, ARM processors, and OneNote and Windows RT 8.1 operating system) Microsoft feared the device’s success would be severely hampered by the arrival of the upcoming 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6, which is expected to have a major impact on the demand for 7-inch tablets.

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Microsoft will pay you $650 to ditch your MacBook Air for a Surface

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No matter how many updates Microsoft makes to its Surface tablets, it just hasn’t been able to live up to its promise of killing the iPad and MacBook Air in one swoop, but now Redmond is ready to try another tactic — buying you out.

Microsoft announced that starting today, MacBook Air owners can walk into any Microsoft retail store and trade-in their Apple machine for $650 of store credit toward the purchase a Surface Pro 3, which Microsoft swears can replace your laptop, because you know, it’s got Office.

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Xbox One’s new killer feature? Games, games, games

Photo: Rob LeFebvre, Cult of Mac

Microsoft brings the boom to E3 2014. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

LOS ANGELES — Microsoft has faced a perception problem ever since last year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. At this year’s E3 media briefing, however, everything the company said, did or showed was aimed squarely at fixing things.

“We listened to you, the gamers,” said Xbox director Phil Spencer to the crowd gathered here Monday. “This year, we’re only focusing on games.”

The next 90 minutes brought a fast-paced, booming litany of games, games, games. The wristbands given to every attendee at the Galen Auditorium flashed with colored lights to complement the onscreen demos and video game trailers. The speakers filled the room with so much sound that the hairs on the sides of my head moved when the explosions happened. And there were a lot of explosions.

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Tim Cook, tech leaders urge Senate to curb government surveillance

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Congress has dropped the ball on surveillance reform, according to Tim Cook and a host of other top tech CEOs throughout the country.

In a full-page ad printed in today’s Washington Times, the tech companies tell the Senate it’s been a year since revelations on the NSA’s over reach were made known to citizens, but Congress has failed to pass a version of the  USA Freedom Act that would restore the confidence of internet users.

Here’s the full ad:

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Microsoft is developing its own iPhone-friendly smartwatch

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The smartwatch race is on, and Microsoft has its own contender in the works.

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch lineup is widely considered a dud, and many are waiting to see what Apple has up its sleeve with the iWatch. Not to be left behind, Microsoft is gunning for the fitness market with a wearable of its own that could arrive as early as this summer..

Perhaps most surprising of all is that Microsoft’s device will reportedly be platform agnostic, meaning it would work with Android and even the iPhone.

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Tablet sales will flatline much sooner than expected, says IDC

iPad mini retina display. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The iPad mini’s lifespan could be a snuffed out thanks to the iPhablet . Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple has a proud tradition of cannibalizing its products before someone else does, but in the case of the iPad mini, Cupertino might start eating its rotting corpse as soon as the 5.5-inch iPhablet is announced.

The latest projections from IDC claim that tablet sales are starting to level off even faster than expected with only 245.5 million units forecasted to sell in 2014 – a palty 12.1% year-over-year growth rate after tech companies just feasted on 51.8% YOY in 2013.

During Apple’s last earnings call Tim Cook boasted that iPad is the fastest selling product in Apple history, but IDC gives two major reasons why that could soon change:

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Microsoft and Skype may have just invented the world’s first real universal translator

Universal translator

Universal translators are a common trope in science fiction. In The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, they come in the form of the babelfish, a tiny crustacean you jam in your ear. In Farscape, they are bacteria injected into your body. In Star Trek, they take a less squishy form as a wand or tiny computer pinned to your lapel.

In all incarnations, though, a universal communicator is seen as alien and futuristic. But Microsoft wants to change all that. The Washington-based company has just revealed a new real-time speech translation tool that is set to be built right into Skype, and which can translate any foreign language into English in the blink of an eye.

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Microsoft’s ‘iPad killer’ is enormous Surface Pro 3

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Instead of taking on the iPad Air’s 9.7-inch display, Microsoft is thinking even bigger with a 12-inch Surface Pro 3 that could make it the perfect competitor for Apple’s long-rumored 13-inch iPad Pro.

Like Microsoft’s other’s tablets, the Surface Pro 3, which the company revealed Tuesday morning, comes with a kickstand and a collapsible keyboard that Microsoft Surface chief Panos Panay says will remove all the conflicts you’ve had about buying a laptop or tablet, plus they’ve added a Surface Pen for seamless digital writing.

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Halo 5: Guardians rockets to Xbox One fall 2015

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Xbox One owners just got a shot in the arm as the team behind the acclaimed Halo franchise has just revealed a new iteration in the series: Halo 5: Guardians.

Halo has always been associated with the Xbox system, reaching back to Microsoft’s original console, released in 2001. With the latest title now in sights, Halo fans will start the salivation required of the lead up to the game industry’s most popular series.

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