Mockups Demonstrate Apple’s Rumored iPhone 5’s ‘Assistant’ Feature

Back in June,  9to5Mac  reported  that Apple would offer a feature-rich  voice recognition service in a future version of iOS called Assistant.  Since the  acquisition  of Siri and  partnership  with Nuance, it has been rumored that Apple was planning to offer voice-related features in iOS. However, at WWDC 2011, Apple didn’t mention any such features during the iOS 5 demo. Earlier last week, 9to5Mac once again revealed a few more details regarding Apple’s new “Assistant” feature.

Apple's Assistant Feature

Today, based on this information,  MacRumors  drew a mockup  that claims to show off how the feature will work. Also, MacRumors  contracted Jan-Michael Cart to create a video that shows how the feature might work.Assistantis supposed to take voice data and user specific information to provide an amazing service to the user. In addition, it will also apparently integrate a system in which that can ask the  user questions to clarify and refine its understanding of what is being requested.

The video shows that the feature will be activated by holding down the home button on the iPhone to display a microphone on the bottom of the screen. Once the microphone is displayed, users will be able to speak to their handset and operate it handsfree.  The “Assistant” feature is rumored to be exclusive to Apple’s next-generation iPhone. In addition, the video shows the iPhone pull up a summary of data and pictures on the ISS automatically from Wolfram Alpha.

Apple is expected to unveil its next-genration iPhone and  iPod touch  on October 4th,  during a press event. Numerous rumors have suggested that these would be an iPhone 4Sand an  iPod touch  with 3G capabilities (which I don’t see happening).

Easy Shopping with eBay India on Mobile

eBay India has been working on extending their reach to mobile internet users in India. After launching a mobile website at, eBay has been releasing apps for all major mobile platforms in the Indian market.

  • With the recent announcement of’s Android app, which is releasing in the next week, it is covering grounds on one of the popular smartphone platforms. (UPDATE: The Android app is live here)
  • An iPhone/iOS app is already available and can be downloaded from iTunes here.
  • There is also an app for Nokia phones, specially customized for C2-02 and C2-03. The app is coming soon and would be made available in Nokia Ovi Suite and will be pre-loaded  in those phones.
  • For non-smartphone users, already has a mobile website which works on any mobile browser:

The other two smartphone platforms –  BlackBerry and Windows Phone – have been left out as of now. While Windows Phone does not have enough penetration in India to (may be) justify development costs (Although, there is a nice Windows Phone app from eBay US in the Marketplace already), it is surprising that eBay has left BlackBerry users out in the cold.

Interestingly, eBay also serves mobile users who do not have Internet on their mobile devices. The eBay SMS Pricecheck’ feature allows you to find the best deals via SMS. All you need to do is to SMS EBAY’ <keyword> to 9223892238. Note that this facility has been affected by the latest TRAI guidelines, and you would need to enable partial DND to use the service.

Apple Confirms October 4 iPhone Event!

Apple has just sent out press invites for its highly awaited iPhone event. Unlike all the previous years, this time the event will be held at Apple’s Town Hall auditorium at its Headquarter in Cupertino, California. Before this, all the previous events from Apple were held at the Yerba Buena Center for Arts at San Francisco, including the iPad 2 event. Since the Yerba Center is booked by Oracle this time, Apple decided to host the event at its own auditorium.


The invites from Apple confirm the earlier rumors of the next-generation iPhone event being held on Oct. 4th. The press-invites from Apple contain an image of the iCal, Clock, Phone and Maps logo, with the Let’s Talk iPhone’ tagline below it.

Rumors suggest that along with the iPhone 5, the Cupertino giant may also a cheaper variant of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S. In all probability, the next-gen iPhone will be powered by an A5 processor, and pack 1GB of RAM. There is also a very strong probability of the next-gen iPhone sporting a bigger screen.

The 4 logos in the image suggest that it may very well be possible that Apple will unveil a new Navigation service for iPhone owners, along with a highly  integrated voice-to-text Assistant’ feature.


Apple’s “Assistant” to Be Major Feature for New iPhone

Back in June, 9to5Mac reported that Apple would offer a feature-rich  voice recognition service in a future version of iOS called Assistant.  Since the  acquisition  of Siri and  partnership  with Nuance, it has been rumored that Apple was planning to offer voice-related features in iOS. However, at WWDC 2011 Apple didn’t mention any such features during the iOS 5 demo.

Today, 9to5Mac has discovered more details about Apple’s new upcoming “Assistant” feature in iOS. The new details reveal that the Nuance/Siri’s voice recognition service will require the iPhone 4S/5 that will be introduce at the company’s media event next week. In addition, the report details  natural speech recognition capabilities of “Assistant” and its ability to integrate across a number of iOS services. This feature will offer a powerful personal assistant to allow users  to handle scheduling, reminder, and messaging tasks solely by voice.  Clearly, this feature blows Android’s voice recognition out of the water.

“Assitant” will also apparently integrate a system in which that can ask the  user questions to clarify and refine its understanding of what is being requested.

The system will actually speak back and forth with the user to gain the most information in order to provide the best results. The user essentially can hold a conversation with their iPhone like it is another human being. For example, if a user is making a meeting with me, they will say setup meeting with Markand the first bubbleof the conversation thread will say that. After that, the system will speak back: which e-mail address should Mark be notified at, work or personal?This question will both be spoken out loud by the iPhone Assistant and shown as a new bubblein the conversation thread. The user will then respond with the email address they want to notify me at, and the appointment will be made. The iPhone will even show a quick glance at a calendar view to confirm the appointment. If the Assistant was sending an SMS, as another example, a mini SMS view would appear so the user has a quick glance at the SMS thread.

This feature is also rumored to have WolframAlpha integration, which would allow users to  obtain answers to factual questions using the service’s capabilities.

According to the report, the voice features will require the new iPhone hardware, relying on the company’s A5 chip and an increase in RAM to 1 GB to support the heavy workload.

Apple is expected to unveil its next-genration iPhone and  iPod touch  on October 4th during a press event. Numerous rumors have suggested an “iPhone 4S” and an iPod touch with 3G capabilities (which I don’t see happening).

iPhone Has Strong Loyalty With Retention Rate of 89%

Earlier this week, it was reported that an “evil”, non-marketshare leader, and “closed” company had once again topped the index for the most satisfied customers. Today, a new report reveals a mind blowing fact about iPhone owners. A good 89 percent of iPhone have suggested that they will continue to stick with Apple for their next handset, crushing competition.

According to the report, the closest competitor to Apple in terms of hardware is HTC. HTC earned a 39 percent retention rate among users surveyed by UBS Investment Research. Surprise! Surprise! (Not really.) The company that fared the worst in the survey was Research in Motion (the company, however, doesn’t think it is doomed),  whose retention rate has dropped from 62 percent to 33 percent in the last 18 months.

Smartphone retention rate

Rounding out the top five companies in terms of retention rates were two more Android vendors: Samsung and Motorola, earning 28 percent and 25 percent, respectively. In addition, when users were asked only about software, 55 percent said that they would stick with Google’s Android. An additional 31 percent of Android users also indicated that they would switch to Apple’s iPhone, you know, the platform that lacks Flash and isn’t “open”. This number leaves Apple with a significant number of potential Android users.

UBS analysts said that Apple’s retention rates have held up “incredibly well,” even as the market share of the iPhone continues to grow.  More than 50 percent of those looking to switch plan to buy an iPhone, while just 10 percent of switchers plan to ditch the iPhone.

Wait a minute, this report boggles my mind. Why on earth would iPhone users keep on coming back to a closed and Flash-less OS? Do they not love the Tegra 2 chipset that Android devices offer?

iPhone Users Vulnerable To Address Book Snarfing Via Skype XSS

Skype users on iOS devices should be on the look out for malicious users who intend on stealing their address book.

A vulnerability affecting Skype 3.01 on iOS devices, including the iPod Touch and iPhone, gives an attacker the ability to secretly upload the entire contents of your address book. The hole is due to a non-validated input field in the client, instead of the contents being displayed to the user, they are executed. Coupling XSS with sandbox permissions that do not allow for fine-tuned access control within apps, provides a way for an attacker to steal the contents of an unsuspecting user’s address book.

Skype has been criticised numerous times over identical vulnerabilities in their desktop software, that allowed for remote code to be executed on a victim’s computer. The flaw is one that Skype has had reported numerous times, fixed numerous times, yet they have not completely audited the applications before release.

Phil has detailed the attack performed against an iPhone 4 running iOS 4.3.5 and has indicated that the vulnerability was reported to Skype over a month ago. Hopefully a fix is in the works, but more importantly, hopefully Skype will perform a full check instead of simply throwing input sanitising on the vulnerable text field.

Apple to Launch iPhone 4 Plus and iPhone 5, J.P. Morgan Says

As an Apple event for the next-generation iPhone nears, leaks and predictions have started to become more common. Today, analyst Mark Moskowitz for J.P. Morgan said to investors that  he expects Apple to release two new iPhone models this fall: a newly redesigned “iPhone 5,” along with an upgraded “iPhone 4-plus” that would target midrange smartphone buyers, particularly in emerging markets like China.

iPhone 4

Moskowitz said to investors that he expects the new fifth-generation iPhone to have a thinner and lighter form factor and to also include both CDMA and GSM radios for a “world mode” handset. He suggests that the next-generation iPhone will not support 4G. The “iPhone 5″ is  expected to have a larger Retina display with a “significant” but not “radically different” change in physical design.

“The new iPhone 5 stands to be based on the iPad 2’s A5 processor or a newer A6 version,” he said. “We also expect 1GB of RAM to increase memory access times.

In addition to the “iPhone 5″, Moskowitz expects another version of the iPhone.  “A second device (4-plus) based on the current iPhone 4 but with some minor improvements could target the midrange and focus on China,” he said. “As for the current iPhone 4, we expect it to subsume 3GS as the lower-end offering.” His research indicated that    “iPhone 4-plus” could target one or more carriers in China. Also, he does not expect the phone to be exclusive to China.

“There could be other use cases, particularly in the midrange,” he said. “Either way, the size of the China opportunity overcomes any potential drawbacks of making a specially-designed service for a few wireless carriers in one region, in our view.”

Apple is expected to unveil its next-genration iPhone and  iPod touch  in the coming weeks at a press event. Numerous rumors have suggested an event in September and a launch in October. My predictions for the next iPhone can be read  here.


Samsung to Target Apple’s iPhone 5 with Patent Lawsuits in Korea

When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, no one, except maybe Steve Jobs, foresaw how successful it would become. None of the existing platforms could match what the iPhone offered, and it soon became the number one smartphone in the U.S.

Even Android wasn’t able to offer devices which could compete with the iPhone, no matter how hard its partners tried. But then, Samsung launched the Galaxy S. It was probably the first Android smartphone which could go head to head with the iPhone. It was the most popular Android smartphone in 2010, and probably the only phone which Apple could possibly have perceived as a threat.

Apple recently filed lawsuits against Samsung in multiple countries, alleging patent infringement. It claimed that the Galaxy devices by Samsung copied many of the design elements of the iPhone and the iPad.

Apple and Samsung have been involved in a mud slinging contest ever since. Apple has won a couple of injunctions barring the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Tab in Europe and Australia. Samsung recently filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple in France, over the use of UMTS in the iPhone 4. Even though Samsung’s components make up a large part of Apple’s devices, both parties seem to be in no mood for any kind of settlement.

According to Apple Insider, Samsung is already planning to block sales of the soon to be launched iPhone 5 in its home turf — Korea.

“Just after the arrival of the iPhone 5 here, Samsung plans to take Apple to court here for its violation of Samsung’s wireless technology related patents. For as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents. We will stick to a strong stance against Apple during the lingering legal fights,” said an anonymous Samsung senior executive.

Samsung may have some kind of advantage over Apple in Korean courts, as it is one of the biggest Korean companies. However, Apple’s potential sales in Korea are much smaller compared to Samsung’s potential sales in Europe and Australia, so Samsung will still be at a disadvantage even if it wins, unless all the lawsuits are settled.

White ‘iPhone 4s’ Shows in AT&T’s Inventory System

As an Apple event for the next-generation iPhone nears, leaks have started to become more common. Today, Engadget has received a leaked photo assumed to be from AT&T’s internal inventory system that shows a new entry for a “iPhone 4s white”. The screenshot was received from a tipster, however the listing appears to be incomplete and does not list the storage capacity.  It should be noted that the “s” is left uncapitalized, signaling that the next iPhone will be a evolutionary update rather than a revolutionary one.

iPhone 4s AT&T Leak

In the past, such entries have occurred and have usually been minimal indications of futures iPhones coming soon. The “iPhone 4s” is rumored by the media to be offered alongside the rumored upcoming “iPhone 5″.  Numerous reports have suggested that Apple will release two distinct versions of the iPhone in an attempt to enter into the pre-paid market. I believe those rumors are false and my predictions for the next iPhone can be read  here.

Apple is expected to unveil its next-genration iPhone and iPod touch in the coming weeks at a press event. Numerous rumors have suggested an event in September and a launch in October.

Rumor: Sprint Blacking out Staff Vacations for First Half of Oct. for iPhone Launch

Many rumors have  suggested  that Apple will offer the iPhone on Sprint beginning next month. Yesterday,  Bloomberg  reported  that Sprint will indeed offer the iPhone next month with unlimited data. In addition to yesterday’s report, SprintFeed has discovered a new leaked document. The leaked document mentions that the blackout extends from Sept. 30 to Oct. 15, though it doesn’t mention the “major phone” by name.

Sprint Blackout iPhone document

A recent report from The Wall Street Journal said Sprint will launch Apple’s next iPhone in mid-October. Last month, Sprint responded to the claim by issuing an internal memo advising its employees not to discuss the possibility of a fifth-generation iPhone launch with inquiring customers.

In addition, the carrier announced plans to raise its contract early termination fee for “advanced devices, including smartphones, to $350 starting Sept. 9.  The new ETF, which would match AT&T’s and Verizon’s own cancellation fees for similar devices, is meant to prevent customers from ditching the carrier after acquiring new devices for subsidized prices. This decision by Sprint would suggest that an iPhone launch is near.

Apple is expected to unveil its next iPhone in the coming weeks at a press event. Numerous rumors have suggested a launch in October.