Archive for August 28, 2019

Apple Apologizes For Contractors Listening To Siri Requests…. Vows To Make Changes

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 28, 2019 by itnerd

It’s not every day that Apple apologizes for anything. But today is one of those days. A few minutes ago, this was posted to the Apple website where they said this among other things:

As a result of our review, we realize we haven’t been fully living up to our high ideals, and for that we apologize. As we previously announced, we halted the Siri grading program. 

Wow. An apology from Apple. Mind blown.

The company also committed to making changes:

  • First, by default, we will no longer retain audio recordings of Siri interactions. We will continue to use computer-generated transcripts to help Siri improve. 
  • Second, users will be able to opt in to help Siri improve by learning from the audio samples of their requests. We hope that many people will choose to help Siri get better, knowing that Apple respects their data and has strong privacy controls in place. Those who choose to participate will be able to opt out at any time. 
  • Third, when customers opt in, only Apple employees will be allowed to listen to audio samples of the Siri interactions. Our team will work to delete any recording which is determined to be an inadvertent trigger of Siri.

All these changes are great. But I have to agree with the thoughts of YouTube star Aaron Zollo:

I would have expected a company that claims to take privacy as seriously as Apple claims to would have done this from the jump. But clearly that wasn’t the case and now they are paying for that. Hopefully they learn from this and make future decisions with privacy at the forefront as clearly this did not happen in this case.

UPDATE: Apple has posted an FAQ on Siri privacy and grading.

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Is Apple Releasing New Apple Watch Models Or Not? Let’s Look At The Evidence….

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 28, 2019 by itnerd

Normally I don’t jump into the rumor mill when it comes to Apple products, or any other products for that matter. But because I’ve gotten so many emails in terms of the potential of a new Apple Watch, I figured that it would be more efficient to just discuss what is out there in terms of what Apple might be bringing to market.

First, Apple last week registered a number of new products in the Eurasian database which is a required activity for companies in that region of the planet if they want to sell anything there. Among the new iPhones and MacBooks that were registered were four unreleased models of the Apple Watch. This appeared on MacRumors, 9to5Mac, and AppleInsider at about the same time which isn’t a shock as entries in this database are a reliable means to figure out what Apple is about to release. Also of note, the existing Series 3 and 4 Apple Watches were re-registered with watchOS 6. Something confirmed by MacRumors in a tweet to me:

Tied to this was this find in iOS 13 beta 7 by Brazilian site iHelpBR of assets that show two new Apple Watch variants. A ceramic version and a titanium version. Apple has had ceramic versions of the Apple Watch in the past, but they don’t presently offer that case material as an option. And there’s never been a titanium version. Though having one would make sense as many high end watches are made of the metal and Apple has tried to go high end with the Apple Watch in the past.

So what does this all mean? Here’s my guess. Apple is about to release 40mm and 44mm ceramic version and titanium versions of the Apple Watch that will use the Series 4 hardware. These will be sold alongside the existing aluminium versions and possibly the stainless steel version. I say possibly because I can see a scenario where the stainless steel version gets replaced by a titanium version as titanium is more durable and lighter.

Another thing to note is that only four new models made it into the Eurasian database. In the past, when Apple has released a new version of the Apple Watch, the company has entered six or more variants into this database. Thus this implies that Apple is not doing anything new and cool with the Apple Watch this year from a hardware perspective. And there is precedent for this as Apple went about 18 months between the release of the original Apple Watch (April 24, 2015) and the release of the Series 1 and 2 (September 16, 2016).

Another factor is that the Series 4 Apple Watch was the closest thing to a redesign of the Apple Watch that we’ve seen via the bigger screens that were present on that model. While Apple isn’t above blowing up the universe a year after redesigning a product, I am thinking that you can expect a hardware redesign to support things like a longer battery life and sleep tracking next year. And that may come via a microLED screen replacing the OLED screen as that would make the Apple Watch far more power efficient while maintaining the screen quality that Apple Watch users expect.

Finally, here’s the key thing about this. Rumors of an Apple Watch “Series 5” have been close to non-existent with the exception of the above and this picture. But if you look at rumors about a new iPhone or new MacBook Pro, they’ve been rampant. That suggests to me that Apple is either keeping what they are doing with the Apple Watch a secret, or nothing new is coming other than what I explained above. Thus my take on this is that Apple will still be selling the Series 3 and 4 Apple Watches, but add in ceramic version and titanium versions into the mix to boost sales. And a new and cool Apple Watch will be inbound next year. It will be interesting to see if I am right on or around September 10th which is when I expect the Apple Event that announces all of these products to take place.