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Jun 16, 2016

Apple Faces an Artificial Intelligence Challenge: Bits | The Business of Technology - June 16, 2016.

Thursday, June 16, 2016


The New York Times


The New York Times

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Daily Report
Apple Faces an Artificial Intelligence Challenge | Software is the strangest invention in economic history: a great wealth creator and an industry destroyer. But software is also insubstantial;no one can bring you a bucket of software. Code is a series of propositions about arranging transistors in a computer.
Apple became one of the world’s biggest companies thanks to this paradoxical invention, and now it may also be threatened by where software is headed.
As Brian X. Chen reports, this week Apple held its big meeting for outside software developers, the people who make Apple products essential for many by creating new things that Apple’s phones, tablets, computers and watch can do. For the rest of us, it’s a week to imagine what will spring from this Apple-developers pairing a few months from now.
But this session was more about catching up to rivals. Apple offered a new way to send sketches and handwriting, new ways of photo-organizing, and a limited incorporation of Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, with third-party software. The watch loads apps faster, and has some more social functions.
But other companies, from Google to independent messaging services, have for the most part been there already. As Farhad Manjoo writes, Apple appears to be taking a cautious, step-by-step approach, focusing more on devices than on this kind of software.
Google Maps, more popular than the Apple version, works well by pooling the experiences of millions of users, often in real time, to deliver accurate information on things like traffic jams. Echo, Amazon’s virtual assistant masquerading as a new wave pepper mill, does a great job of playing your songs, buying stuff for you or reading you recipes, because it trawls in lots of people’s data.
These are just two examples of a big trend in software, the application of real-time artificial intelligence in ordinary products.
A.I., which is fundamentally the recognition and leveraging of all sorts of behavioral patterns, works well by using very large and diverse sets of data. Often, the more personal the better. To make software with A.I. features, you have to be able to access lots of information, obtained by various means.
Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, has positioned his company as one that values customer privacy as a key feature, something exemplified in his battle with the Federal Bureau of Investigation over access to an iPhone after the San Bernardino shootings. That’s perhaps great from a brand perspective, but it may conflict with the way a lot of software is going to be written.
Apple fans, who could see their products have relatively less magical software functionality, may end up experiencing something else: getting their privacy at the expense of the the consumer delight offered by Apple’s competitors.
— Quentin Hardy
 
State of the Art
Can Apple Think Outside the Device?
By FARHAD MANJOO
Apple still seems to view online services as add-ons to its devices, not as products or platforms that rise above the equipment.
Tech Fix
Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, gave the keynote presentation at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference.
What You Need to Know About Apple’s Software Upgrades
By BRIAN X. CHEN
The Apple operating systems of iOS, tvOS, MacOS and WatchOS will be upgraded in the fall.

More From The Times
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Uber Rival’s $28 Billion Valuation Shows Size of China’s Ride-Sharing Market
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Didi Chuxing brought in $7.3 billion in its latest fund-raising round, giving it a valuation of almost half that of Uber, its main competitor in China.
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If completed, the transaction for control of the Finnish game maker would show the growing power of China’s internet giants and bolster their presence in the global gaming market.
Scene Stealers
The new “Ghostbusters,” from left, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones.
What a ‘Ghostbusters’ Online Attack Says About the Digital Age
By BROOKS BARNES
A man whose YouTube channel has 2.1 million subscribers took aim at the new “Ghostbusters,” and an online furor followed.
 
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Personal Technology
Tech Tip
Unhitching the PC From OneDrive
By J. D. BIERSDORFER
Microsoft’s online file-storage service is there to copy your files to the cloud, but you can decline the offer.