AWT News Update: October 2, 2015

Just a short podcast today with three news stories for your Apple fix:

  • Apple purchases VocalIQ, a company that's been working on a conversational man-machine voice interface API
  • iCloud Data Centers are being expanded around the globe to hold your photos, videos, and other data
  • The Apple Watch is coming to five European countries next Friday, and two countries in South America the following week.

The text version of the podcast can be found below...

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for October 2, 2015.

Apple has acquired a UK startup that’s developed a natural language application programming interface or API that allows humans and machines to have a much more natural conversation. VocalIQ has developed a self-learning dialogue API that’s based on a decade of natural language research, belief tracking, decision making and message generation. The Financial Times reports that “While VocalIQ's speech processing and machine learning technology could be incorporated into devices from wearables to the connected home, the company was particularly focused on in-car applications. This included a collaboration with General Motors. In a blog earlier this year, VocalIQ described how a "conversational voice-dialog system" in a car's navigation system could prevent drivers from becoming distracted by looking at screens. Its "self- learning" technology allows "real conversation between human and the internet of things", VocalIQ wrote.” VocalIQ’s research could result in an amazingly powerful future version of Siri that could learn from your conversations with it.

All of your iCloud data has to go somewhere. Apple is currently building new buildings for its data center near Reno, Nevada, and has also purchased about 200 acres of land in Prineville, Oregon to keep up pace with iCloud capacity growth. The Reno center is next to a huge new solar array that will power the data center with renewable energy. Apple is also adding capacity at data centers in Athenry, County Galway, Ireland and Viborg, Denmark. Both locations will be powered exclusively with renewable energy.

Not only will the Apple Watch soon be available at your local Target store, but in the next two weeks it will be rolling out in seven new countries. On October 9, the Watch will become available in Belgium, Finland, Norway, Luxembourg, and Poland. One week later, the Watch arrives in South America starting with Brazil and Colombia.

I’ll be back Monday afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.