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Apple’s Siri gets behind the wheel. Who should worry?

As the consumer device maker doubles down on its popular voice-enabled personal assistant software, it is looking at another large market to drive rapid adoption: cars.

Apple Inc’s new in-house Maps service along with free turn-by-turn navigation feature and real-time traffic updates converts the iPhone into a valuable navigation device – one of the most popular features on Google Inc’s Android gadgets.

Combine that with the new “Eyes Free” feature – where drivers talk to Siri with the tap of a button on steering wheels – and analysts say the iPhone has the potential to disrupt the car electronics and navigation market.

Using smartphones for directions and music is not new. In-car navigation systems have been on a steady decline as more and more drivers prefer to use the mapping service in smartphones, particularly Google maps.

Apple’s move to lend its technology might to connect the car to its iPhone in an easy to use manner could give a big boost to the adoption of Siri and further entice consumers deeper into its app ecosystem.

It makes the iPhones more valuable to the user, said Mark Boyadjis, infotainment analyst with IHS Automotive.

“To be able to access it hands free and eyes free in the car will be an asset and will enable the Apple device to be continually more relevant in the car,” he said. “This is an important movement forward.”

The integration is a win-win for both the carmaker and Apple, said Scott Corwin, vice president of Booz & Co’s automotive practice.  Read More 

Apple takes on Google with own maps, better Siri

Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iOS Software at Apple Inc., demonstrates turn-by-turn navigation in iOS6 using Siri during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2012 in San Francisco, California June 11, 2012. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

CEO Tim Cook, who took over from late co-founder Steve Jobs last August, spearheaded the unveiling of new services — such as in-house mapping, beefed-up Siri software, address-bar search on its Safari browser — to help keep at bay Google and its fast-growing Android mobile platform.

Apple (AAPL.O) tweaked several features in its mobile operating system to try to enhance its ability to entice users to stay within its ecosystem. The upgrades marked a bolstering of Apple’s arsenal as it tries to keep its top-down applications and hardware environment ahead of competition from Android device makers such as Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) and Motorola Mobility.

But the highlight was the debut of Apple’s in-house mapping service after years of development, a direct challenge to the same Google (GOOG.O) service that is one of the most popular functions on both Android smartphones and the iPhone.

Apple’s new mobile software — the iOS6 — will be available in the fall. It comes with a mapping system “built from the ground up,” said software chief Scott Forstall.

It will be replacing Google Maps, until now a pre-loaded app on the iPhone and iPad, with its own in-house map service, delivering a big blow to Google, which gets about half its mobile map traffic from Apple mobile devices.

The move signals how the friendship between the two tech giants — former Google CEO Eric Schmidt once sat on Apple’s board — has become a bitter rivalry shaping the evolution of the mobile industry. Late co-founder Jobs was famously quoted as saying he was willing to go “thermonuclear” on the search leader, after it decided to position Android against the iPhone.

Now Apple will do its utmost to reduce its reliance on Google, said Colin Gillis, analyst with BGC Partners.

“What happens if one day Google decides to not provide Apple with maps,” said Gillis. “You can’t have that kind of dependency on a competitor.”  Read More

IBM blocks Dropbox and iCloud as well as Siri

Earlier today it was reported that Siri was being blocked for IBM employees nationwide as a sort of cut-back on their “bring your own device” policy for smartphones and tablets at the workplace – that policy has expanded, it seems. A new addition to the reports we’ve heard this morning indicate that IBM not only has Apple’s Siri blocked, but several other applications such as Dropbox and Apples iCloud. The reason IBM has these applications blocked from the their offices is simple: data might not be as secure through these applications as they want their employees data to be.


What Jeanette Horan, IBM’s chief information officer has said this week is that she’s not seeing a whole lot of savings in the program they’ve stared with employees carrying their own store-bought devices. Instead they’re seeing 5,000 people (in Horan’s department) using software IBM simply cannot entirely control. Because she’s in charge of information control, it’s got to seem rather like an impossible series of roads in and out of the business, so to speak, with 80,000 workers currently accessing IBM’s internal network using smart phones and tablets total, just half of these using BlackBerry devices IBM has been assured will be secure enough with no additional app cuts.

There’s a banned list out there, therefor, passed by Horan’s team which includes applications such as Apple’s Siri (on the iPhone 4S) and Apple’s iCloud interface as well – users can shut these titles off via their settings but IBM has reportedly overridden some systems entirely. Another application banned by IBM are Dropbox, a cloud storage system, and several email services which allow forwarding of internal IBM email services. We must assume services like Box and Google Drive are either on the chopping block or have been banned already as well.  Read More

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