Tag - Eyes Free
A new software update for older Ford vehicles from 2011 onwards with the second-generation Sync system installed has added support for Siri Eyes Free, Apple's control and command technology designed for automobile use. Once the version 3.8 software update has been installed (which typically takes about a half-hour), "Siri Eyes Free can be activated by pressing and holding the voice button for at least 3 seconds," the company says.
Apple has issued a statement criticizing a study conducted by the University of Utah for the American Automobile Association in October that rated Apple's Siri (and other naturalistic voice-command virtual assistants by proxy) as "the most" distracting in-car task compared to just driving, adjusting the car's radio or temperature, or using built-in car navigation or infotainment systems. In its response, Apple points out some serious flaws in the study, including the fact that it deliberately avoided using the driving-specific Siri Eyes Free or CarPlay options.
The 2014 Civic and the 2015 Fit will each get two forms of iOS integration, Honda has announced. The most significant is Display Audio, which will let users control functions like music, calling, and navigation through gesture controls on a built-in capacitive touchscreen. Connecting will require an iPhone 5, 5s, or 5c, and one or more of four new HondaLink apps: Connect, Navigation, Aha, and Launcher. Aha provides access to Internet audio including radio, podcasts, and audiobooks, plus Twitter and Facebook updates, and listings for nearby points of interest. Launcher is used to find and launch HondaLink-compatible apps. The official Honda apps are all free except for Navigation, which costs $60.
Honda has officially launched Siri Eyes Free integration for a handful of vehicles. These include 2013 and 2014 models of the Honda Accord, and 2013 models of the Acura RDX and ILX. Eyes Free lets people trigger Siri through a button on their steering wheel, instead of having to reach for their iPhone to control functions like texting, music playback, or turn-by-turn navigation; it also shuts off the phone's screen to reduce distractions. To get the feature, car owners must pay for a dealer installation.
Siri's "Eyes Free" mode will be supported in several 2014 Chevrolet cars, GM has announced. These include the Camaro, Volt, Malibu, SS, Cruze, and Equinox. The technology will be integrated via Chevy's MyLink service. Earlier in 2013, the company's Spark and Sonic models were among the first vehicles to get Eyes Free support.
All 2014-model BMW cars will support the Siri "Eyes Free" technology included in iOS, the luxury automaker has announced. The technology is being delivered through an update to BMW's iDrive platform. By pressing and/or holding a voice command button on the steering wheel, people will be able to trigger Siri without reaching for their iPhone. The same button will also be able to trigger S Voice on Samsung phones.
As promised, Chevrolet's 2013 Sonic and Spark cars have been updated to support Siri Eyes Free. The bridge is handled through MyLink, a touchscreen interface built into the vehicles. To use the function a person has to connect a cellular-equipped iOS device via Bluetooth; commands are issued by pressing a voice activation button on the steering wheel.
The Siri Eyes-Free feature that was first shown off at Apple's developer conference earlier this month will be appearing in future versions of Chevrolet's Spark and Sonic models. Sources tell GM Authority that the Spark and Sonic will be among the first cars to feature integration with Apple's digital assistant. The automaker has yet to confirm the news with an announcement, but one may be forthcoming within the next 12 months.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE