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How Cortana made the leap from Halo to Windows Phone

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Cell Phones, Features, Microsoft

Microsoft Cortana

Curious about how Cortana made her way from assisting Master Chief in Halo over to helping you out on Windows Phone? During a sit-down with Microsoft's Marcus Ash, he spoke to us about what it took to get Cortana just right on Windows Phone and to be seen as a legitimate competitor to Apple's Siri.

First, the Cortana logo was the first thing Microsoft has to get right. Originally, they didn't want a physical representation. The thought was that people could think it was creepy if it is "too human." They also didn't want it to be like Clippy, the infamous character from Microsoft Office that was hated by many. It was also decided that Cortana couldn't be just a voice, since it wouldn't feel the same.

Initially, Microsoft tried to use the Xbox Live avatar idea, but that was odd due to everyone having the female Cortana voice. Then they started playing around with the circle. A circle can stretch, bounce, and transform. They also tried triangles, diamonds, hearts, and the ability of letter the user choose any of these. At the end of the day, the circle next to Metro on the start screen looked good, so that was what Microsoft decided on. The next issue was that a simple circle isn't iconic, and is hard to brand. That's when the Windows Phone team met with the Halo team at 343 Industries.

Click to continue reading How Cortana made the leap from Halo to Windows Phone


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Apple releases iOS 8 beta 5 build 12A4345d to developers, here’s what’s new!

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Apple, Cell Phones, Handhelds, Software

iOS 8 beta 5 download

Apple has just released iOS 8 beta 5, which can be found in the Developer Portal right now. iOS 8 beta 4 build 12A4345d works with supported iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models, and is available as an over-the-air update to users already running a previous iOS 8 beta on their devices. If you're already running iOS 8, you can update over-the-air by going into Settings > General > Software Update. Or you can go and grab the necessary download at http://developer.apple.com. The update for the iPhone 5s comes in at 272MB in size. Apple originally showed off iOS 8, and released its first beta, at WWDC 2014. The full release will come in the fall. Apple also released OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 5 today as well.

Click to continue reading Apple releases iOS 8 beta 5 build 12A4345d to developers, here’s what’s new!


Apple releases iOS 8 beta 4 build 12A4331d to developers, here’s what’s new!

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Apple, Cell Phones, Handhelds, Software

iOS 8 beta 4 download

Apple has just released iOS 8 beta 4, which can be found in the Developer Portal right now. iOS 8 beta 4 build 12A4331d works with supported iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models, and is available as an over-the-air update to users already running a previous iOS 8 beta on their devices. If you're already running iOS 8, you can update over-the-air by going into Settings > General > Software Update. Or you can go and grab the necessary download at http://developer.apple.com. Apple originally showed off iOS 8, and released its first beta, at WWDC 2014. The full release will come in the fall. Apple also released OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 4 today as well.

If you are a paid members of Apple's iOS developer program, here are the links for iOS 8 beta 4 downloads:

Click to continue reading Apple releases iOS 8 beta 4 build 12A4331d to developers, here’s what’s new!


Will Cortana, the Windows Phone assistant, come to other smartphone platforms?

Cortana iOS android

One of the more exciting aspects of Windows Phone 8.1 is the appearance of Cortana, a Siri-like voice-based personal assistant. We spent time talking to Microsoft's Marcus Ash about Cortana, and we asked him about the possibility of Cortana making its way over to other smartphone platforms like iOS and Android. After all, the demo we were given was impressive. According to Marcus, at first it'll be a focus that is part of Windows Phone, and that's the number one priority with Cortana.

To extend Cortana across the entire smartphone ecosystem, that's the part that Microsoft is still mulling over and figuring out. The question is "How do we get Android or iOS users that also use Windows to have a great Cortana experience?" As a company, Microsoft is putting work into solving the question, and it isn't afraid to put its apps on competing platforms. After all, there's Office on Android and iOS, Bing, and others. For our money, it makes a lot more sense for Microsoft to release Cortana across multiple ecosystems rather than tying the service down as a Windows Phone exclusive. It's not the kind of feature that sells phones (similarly, we don't think that Siri on its own sells iPhones, either.) As a cloud-powered service, is Cortana a Windows play or a service play? Time will tell.


Apple releases iOS 8 beta 3 build 12A4318c to developers, download here!

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Apple, Cell Phones, Handhelds, Software

iOS 8 beta 3 download

Apple has just released iOS 8 beta 3, which can be found in the Developer Portal right now. iOS 8 beta 3 build 12A4318c works with supported iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models, and is available as an over-the-air update to users already running a previous iOS 8 beta on their devices. If you're already running iOS 8, you can update over-the-air by going into Settings > General > Software Update. Or you can go and grab the necessary download at http://developer.apple.com. Apple originally showed off iOS 8, and released its first beta, at WWDC 2014. The full release will come in the fall. Apple also released OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 2 today as well.

If you are a paid members of Apple's iOS developer program, here are the links for iOS 8 beta 3 downloads:

iPad:

iPhone:

iPod touch:

Click to continue reading Apple releases iOS 8 beta 3 build 12A4318c to developers, download here!


Apple releases iOS 8 beta 2 build 12A4297e to developers, download here!

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Apple, Cell Phones, Handhelds, Software

iOS 8 beta 2 download

Apple has just released iOS 8 beta 2, which can be found in the Developer Portal right now. iOS 8 beta 2 build 12A4297e works with supported iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models, and is available as an over-the-air update to users already running a previous iOS 8 beta on their devices. If you're already running iOS 8, you can update over-the-air by going into Settings > General > Software Update. Or you can go and grab the necessary download at http://developer.apple.com. Apple originally showed off iOS 8, and released its first beta, at WWDC 2014. The full release will come in the fall. Apple also released OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 2 today as well.

If you are a paid members of Apple's iOS developer program, here are the links for iOS 8 beta 2 downloads:

iPad:

iPhone:

iPod touch:

Click to continue reading Apple releases iOS 8 beta 2 build 12A4297e to developers, download here!


Apple releases major iOS 7.1 update, here’s what’s new!

iOS 7.1 new features

Earlier today Apple released iOS 7.1, an update for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch that brings with it several major features and improvements. Some of the more notable additions include CarPlay, Siri enhancements, iTunes Radio improvements, and overall stability improvements for iOS 7 on the iPhone 4. If you're unfamiliar, CarPlay was unveiled last week at the Geneva Motor Show, and will be available in some 2014 model vehicles, bringing iOS 7-style functionality to the center console dashboard, allowing users to control things like Maps, Music, Messages, and other apps.

You can download iOS 7.1 now, and we've got the full list of all the changes, according to Apple, after the jump.

Click to continue reading Apple releases major iOS 7.1 update, here’s what’s new!


Apple releases iOS 7.1 beta 5 build 11D5145e to developers

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Apple, Cell Phones, Handhelds, Software

iOS 7.1 beta 5 download

If you've got an Apple developer account, you should know that Apple has released iOS 7.1 beta 5 build 11D5145e, and you can go and grab it right now. Of course, you can log in to the Developer Center to manually grab the file, or head into the Settings > General > Software Update section on your iOS device for the over-the-air install. As far as new changes, the release notes point to international Siri improvements:

"This seed adds new natural-sounding Siri voices for English (Australia), English (United Kingdom), Japanese, and Chinese (Mandarin – China)"

Along with the new iOS software, Apple has also released new betas of Xcode 5.1, and the Apple TV software as well.

Click to continue reading Apple releases iOS 7.1 beta 5 build 11D5145e to developers


Apple releases iOS 7.0.3 with iCloud Keychain, iMessage fix, Touch ID tweaks

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Apple, Cell Phones, Handhelds, Software

iOS 7.0.3 features

Alongside all the major news coming out of today's Apple iPad event, the company has also released an iOS update. iOS 7.0.3 bring a few new features to the platform, like iCloud Keychain, which works alongside the same feature in OS X Mavericks (which was also released today on the Mac App Store) to keep your account names, passwords, and credit cards synced across your devices, while protecting them with your Apple ID. Here is a rundown of all the changes in iOS 7.0.3:

  • Adds iCloud Keychain to keep track of your on account names passwords and credit card numbers across all your devices
  • Adds Password Generator so Safari can suggest unique hard to guess passwords for your online accounts
  • Updates lock screen to delay display of "slide to unlock" went Touch ID is in use
  • Adds back the ability to search the web and Wikipedia from Spotlight search
  • Fixes an issue where iMessage failed to send for some users
  • Fixes a bug that could prevent iMessage from activating
  • Improves system stability when using iWork apps
  • Fixes an accelerometer calibration issue
  • Address is an issue that could cause Siri and VoiceOver to use a lower quality voice
  • Fixes a bug that could allow someone to bypass the lock screen passcode
  • Enhances the Reduce Motion setting to minimize both motion and animation
  • Fix is an issue that could cause VoiceOver input to be too sensitive
  • Updates the Bold Text setting to also change dial pad text
  • Fix is an issue that could cause supervise devices to become unsupervised when updating software

You should be able to check the Software Update area on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to grab the update now.


Apple releases iOS 7 Golden Master build 11A465 to developers prior to September 18 public release

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Apple, Cell Phones, Handhelds, Software

iOS 7 GM download

Apple has just released iOS 7 Golden Master to developers ahead of the September 18th iOS 7 general release. The iOS 7GM was released after today's iPhone 5S event, where the company showed off the new iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S. The new GM software works with supported iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models, and unlike previous betas, is not available as an over-the-air update--instead, you need to head over to the developer portal and download it the old-fashioned way. Apple originally showed off iOS 7, and released its first beta, at WWDC 2013.

If you are a paid members of Apple's iOS developer program, here are the links for iOS 7 GM downloads:


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