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More Cool Things You Can Do With Siri

Her calm and capable voice is everywhere these day – she’s Siri. Apple’s synthetic personal-assistant has risen to global prominence in a relatively short time. And fans of the technology know that it doesn’t take long to fall under Siri’s spell.

Siri is the virtual assistant at the heart of the iPhone 4S. 

Cool New Siri Tricks
With this many users, it only makes sense that Siri has become a celebrity unto herself, there’s practically an industry around exploring the technology and discovering cool new ways to showcase Siri’s many unseen talents. Some of these capabilities offer nifty practical uses while others are just for fun:

  1. Change your iPhone 4S settings using Siri. Not only can you change your brightness using Siri, you can perform special tasks, such as checking your iPhone’s battery level.
  2. Update your Twitter using Siri. You can also perform nine other Siri hacks, ranging from helping improve Siri’s pronunciation of phonetic names to parlor tricks like controlling Siri from across a room.
  3. Looking for laughs? The are plenty of Siri tricks to turn her into a comedian.

Siri for Other Phones
Don’t have Siri on your iPhone? A new app allows you to turn your iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS into a Siri phone - but you will have to jailbreak the phone – which voids the warranty. Google is also developing a Siri-like assistant, although based on insider reports, the technology will not be as smoothly integrated throughout the phone as Siri is in the iPhone 4S.

Developing Future Siri’s
Siri is a great iPhone app. Future apps like Siri will be created by young app developers. Do you want to learn app development? Why not get started this summer at a app development summer camp like Digital Media Academy. DMA offers hands-on training in app development from industry professionals. They’ll start you on a career and give you the skills to create your own Siri.


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iBooks Author: How to Make eBooks on iPad

Apple is reinventing textbooks thanks to the latest iBooks update. iBooks 2 which is available in the Apple App Store gives readers a new way to interact with the written word.

The new textbooks inside of iBooks. To sample the new textbooks, download  E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth for free. Your iPad will need to be running 1OS 5 to view the new books.

The iBook update now allows textbooks to be sold through the popular ereader app that already offers bestselling novels and literary classics like”Dracula” and “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Textbooks were not available before. The price for the textbooks? $14.99.

Reading is Fun-damental
Apple made the announcement at a press event in New York at the Guggenheim Museum. Apple feels it’s time that books caught up with other types of media, ebooks offer interactive notetaking, and highlighting as well as interactive videos, photo galleries, 3D models and other illustrations. For authors it’s another way that they can make their content come to life – for students it’s a fun and interactive way to learn.

The Beatles “Yellow Submarine is another free interactive ebook that showcases video. 

Before has death, Steve Jobs told the author of his biography, “Steve Jobs,” that he believed Apple could significantly shake-up the textbook industry and do it, with the iPad. Jobs held meetings with book publishers such as Pearson Education to encourage them to partner with Apple.

To date, Apple says there are more than 1.5 million iPads currently being used in schools and there. “Now with iBooks 2 for iPad, students have a more dynamic, engaging and truly interactive way to read and learn, using the device they already love,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

Becoming an eBook Author
Apple aims to make it easier for educators and authors to create books using iBooks Author. The app provides plenty of templates and putting your content into a ebook is as simple as dragging and dropping it into the template. The app supports multi-touch interface, like pinch and zoom views and swiping gestures. Apple has even included iBook Author HTML5 and Javascript support for programmers who want to take their books beyond the app.

The iBooks Author app uses a template and drag and drop interface, much like Apple’s Keynote or Pages app.

Digital textbooks are the future of educational publishing. Using iBooks Author to create your own content is a major win for not only educators, but for those that want to self-publish too. It’s exciting to see Apple in education and learning app development for iPad’s and iPhones is another way to development content, it can be a great tool for book publishers, too. Either way, Apple is helping both educators and authors create the future of media.


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Steve Jobs Action Figure Cancelled

The toy company that announced the Steve Jobs Action Figure has cancelled plans to release the figure. In an announcement posted to their website, inicons explained the genesis of the idea and the action figure.

This announcement greeted visitors to inicons site, and explained the Steve Jobs would not be produced.

inicons announced a Steve Jobs action figure just before the end of 2011 and expected to ship the figure in late February 2012 for $99.00. The figure was a fully detailed 12″ Steve Jobs, right down to his black turtleneck and New Balance sneakers. Other accessories were also included with the figure including, extra hands, a stool (like the one used during the Apple presentations Jobs gave) – and apples.

Apple Approval
The announcement to cancel the figure was not a surprise, as many figured, without the approval of Steve Jobs’ family the figure could not be produced. inicons spoke directly to the copyright issue in a statement they released on their site and defended their position – one that came from a fan perspective.

The incredible detail of the action figure is seen closeup. 

“I created a single figurine of Steve which I placed on my desk next to my Mac,” the toy maker commented. The announcement also explained why there would be no figure:

“Though we still believe that we have not overstepped any legal boundaries, we have decided to completely stop the offer, production and sale of the Steve Jobs figure out of our heartfelt sensitivity to the feeling of the Steve Jobs family. We understand that this decision will cause many of the fans’ disappointment, but please forgive us as there is no other alternative unless to have the blessing from Steve Jobs family…”

The announcement ended with inicons promising refunds to buyers who pre-ordered and thanking all the fans for their support and one last apology.

Apple Toys
The Steve Job action figure would have adorned cubicles and fanboy shelves all over the world. But for now, the only “official” Apple toy fans will be able to get their hands on are apps like Garageband and others created by app development for iPhone and iPad.


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Stanford’s Library of Apple Archives

One of the coolest collection of computer artifacts in the world is not in a museum. Instead this collection resides in the hallowed halls of Stanford University, in Palo Alto, California.

The archive room at Stanford where their collections are housed…

From the collection – a promotional photo of  ”the other Steve.” Steve Wozniak, one of the founders of Apple Computer (Woz was employee #1), during Apple’s early days.

The collection? Apple Computer’s historical collection of artifacts - including paperwork, software, hardware and other rare business materials that document the genius and growth of the most influential technology company in the world. The documents date all the way back to when Apple was founded in 1976.

Apple’s Archive
Indiana Jones would be envious of Stanford’s Historical Archives. Not only does the private archive include the Apple library of archives but also collections from Douglas Engelbart (the inventor of the computer mouse), Ed Feigenbaum (one of the fathers of “artificial intelligence”), and William Shockley (credited as “the man who brought silicon to Silicon Valley” and sparked the technology revolution). There are also historical documents and materials from companies like Fairchild Semiconductor and the American Association for Artificial Intelligence.

The Apple Collection was donated to Stanford in 1997. The collection was previously managed and housed in Apple’s corporate library in Cupertino, now closed. The materials were intended for a Apple museum but that never became a reality. The collection is maintained now by Stanford for use in the special collections department in the Green Library.

Steve Jobs accepts a check for the early distribution of the Apple Computer.  

What’s in the Apple collection? Books, periodicals, press releases and company speeches – all about Apple computers and software. There are also user group newsletters, along with other miscellaneous artifacts. Records from the Apple Library Users Group and the Apple Library of Tomorrow program also are part of the collection. The memorabilia and related artifacts paint not only a historical picture of the computer advancements Apple made, but also its company culture.

The Apple archives even include an 1980′s-era video company video featuring Steve Jobs and other Apple employees as Ghostbuster-like computer nerds with early mac computers strapped to their backs, just take a look at the video for yourself:

In the press release Stanford issued about the Apple Archives, “The donation of Apple’s museum and historical archives adds significantly to Stanford’s unmatched collections on the technological and business history of Silicon Valley,” said Henry Lowood, library curator for the history of science and technology. “The unique documentation of corporate culture, personal computer design and software history in the Apple collection will be of particular value not only for research on the development of computer technology, but also for studies of the cultural and social impacts of computers on our lives.”

Stanford’s Tech Connection
Stanford’s tech connection doesn’t end there. Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement speech at Stanford was inspirational – Jobs had a very close connection with Stanford University. You can establish a connection with Stanford too. Either by attending Stanford University as a student. Another way is by attending summer camps at Stanford University like Digital Media Academy. You can even learn app development for iPhone & iPad just feet away from the historic Apple Archives.


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How to Buy a Steve Jobs Action Figure

Steve Jobs is back – with his very own action figure. Believe it or not, the Apple icon is now an action figure – and the reproduction is so incredibly lifelike, it’s downright spooky…

Steve Jobs: inventor, visionary, action figure.

How can you get one of these awesome figures? By ordering it from the toy company in icons. Mr. Jobs will stand tall right alongside your G.I. Joes, but not until the end of February when the toy is expected to ship. Many media analysts doubt that the figure will actually ship though as it’s not authorized by obs family or Apple. The company does promise a full refund however if your figure doesn’t get shipped (i.e. they’re sold out).

Here’s what you get with your 12″ (that’s sixth-scale of the actual Jobs) action figure:

  • One realistic head sculpt & two pairs of glasses
  • One highly articulated body & three pairs of hands
  • One black turtleneck & one pair of blue jeans
  • One black leather belt & one presentation stool (wood + metal)
  • One pair of black socks & sneaker
  • Two apples (one with a bite)
  • One “ONE MORE THING” cardboard backdrop


Clothes make the man, in this case, accessories make the action figure. The accessories, like the figure are amazingly life-like. 

The 12 inch figures sells for $99.99 (shipping inside the U.S. brings the total to $109.99).


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Apple’s Very First Phone and Other Design Innovations

Long before the iPhone, Apple had another touch screen phone in development. The phone wasn’t the creation of Steve Jobs, but a designer he hired in 1982.

In addition to helping Apple establish a global brand presence, German designer Hartmut Esslinger was instrumental in creating an image for Sony, his work includes their line of personal music products and the Sony Trinitron. 

German designer Hartmut Esslinger created the Apple Phone prototype, along with other signature Apple designs, while working under exclusively under a $1,000,000 a year contract. His first job? To create a design strategy to turn the Silicon Valley start-up into a world-class brand.

Designing the Apple Brand 
Esslinger brought his company Frogdesign to California and set up shop in 1982 and he worked for Apple until Steve Jobs’ was forced out of the company in 1985. Esslinger broke his contract with Apple and followed Jobs to NeXT shortly after. But his designs would live on in Apple products until 1990.

Esslinger and Frogdesign created the “Snow White design” for Apple, this was the style used for all Apple products from 1984 to 1990, starting with the Apple IIc. The essence of the design uses vertical and horizontal lines for both decoration and ventilation. The lines give the illusion that the computer enclosure is smaller than it really is.

An Apple Macintosh IIx with Snow White design elements – off-white color and shallow, simple horizontal and vertical lines give a clean and minimal look.

In addition, the “Snow White design” also introduced Esslinger’s unique Apple logo—a three-dimensional rainbow Apple that was cut into the product case. Still, one of Esslinger’s most interesting designs has only recently surfaced – the prototype for the Apple Phone. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Apple was looking into telecommunication – and their very first phone even featured a touch screen.

The Apple Phone wasn’t a cell or “smartphone” but a landline phone and even though the device was designed in the early 80′s it still has a futuristic look – the handset has a unique angle and the touchscreen even has a small slot to store the stylus when not in use.

This recently uncovered photograph shows off an Apple phone prototype. The prototype dates back to 1983.

Apple has been on the forefront of technology for a long time. The company and it’s innovations have been mainly driven by Steve Jobs and his futuristic vision. In the post-Jobs era, a new, younger generation of designers and those learning app development for iPhone and iPad will design the future of Apple – future designers like those who follow in Hartmut Esslinger’s footsteps.


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What Kind of Cell Phone Does Santa Claus Use?

He knows when you’re naughty and he knows when you’re nice. How does he know? Because he’s uses Apple’s iPhone 4S and Siri to help him find the answers. Recently Apple debuted a new commercial starring Jolly Old Saint Nick, and guess what kind of cell phone Santa uses?

“Directions to Raleigh, North Carolina.” Kris Kringle gets sleigh navigation from Siri. 

Jolly Voice Recognition
The iPhone 4S is used by hi-tech CEO’s and politicians, so it should be no surprise anyone that the world’s biggest gift giver also uses it. And why not, with Siri voice recognition you can easily access a library of information without lifting a finger. There are lots of cool things you can do with Siri - including checking the balance of your bank account and finding out where little Charlie Grant lives.

Check out the new Apple commercial for yourself:

What else did we find out from the Apple commercial? Santa has 3.7 billion appointments scheduled for Christmas Eve. Man, those reindeer are going to be tired.

Cleared for Take-Off
With an iPhone 4S in his pocket and the sleigh packed with gifts, Santa is almost ready to make his yearly trip. Santa One – Santa’s reindeer-guided sleigh – has been outfitted with new NextGen technology to make his journey even smoother and Santa has been cleared for flight by the FAA. The Federal Aviation Administration made the announcement Thursday. Santa will be flying at 50,000 feet and using his iPhone 4S for directions, so this year he’s sure to make his faster time ever!

“The satellite-based technology the elves have installed on Santa One will ensure that Santa stays safe and reaches all of his rooftops on time,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in the press release. “As a result of this improved technology, Santa will be able to deliver more presents to more children around the world.”


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When Does The iPad 3 Come Out?

Even though the cheapest iPad is $499, the iPad is still one of the most popular device on the market today and sets the standard for tablet computers. And while new devices like the Kindle Fire have sparked consumer interest, folks are still flocking to the iPad.

The iPad tops the list of the hottest gifts this season. 

The iPad easily tops the list as the must-have holiday gift of 2011 and based on industry analyst research, Apple will sell 13.5 million iPads in December alone. That’s more than an 84% increase over the same time last year and bring $8.26 billion in revenue to Apple.

iPad 3 Release Date
The iPad runs toe-to-toe with the iPhone as the most sought after Apple product. According to Gene Munster senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, “the iPad is appealing to more price-sensitive buyers, while the Mac has retained a premium appeal.”

Recent reports indicate a new iPad (what’s being called iPad 3) may hit the market as soon as February, but don’t hold your breath. The original iPad was released April 2010, and the iPad 2 was just released this past March 2011. Analyst say Apple would want to give the iPad 2 at least a year on the market.

iPad 3 Features
These are rumored features, keep in mind, Apple hasn’t announced anything officially:

  • A high-resolution retina display like the the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Basically, the iPad 3 will double the screen resolution at 2048 x 1536
  • Thinner, sleeker, losing 20 percent of the device’s current mass
  • A better 5MP camera (maybe even a flash)
  • Improved battery life
  • Wireless charging technology
  • A new A6 processor

Must-Have iPad
You shouldn’t let this put you off from buying an iPad 2 though. The iPad 2 is an incredible device, it features a front and rear facing camera and app development for the iPad is a booming business. More apps are available in the App Store than on Google’s Android, and they’re optimized for the iPad’s HD display.


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5 Must Have iPad Accessories

The iPad ranks at the top of almost everyone’s holiday shopping list as the must-have gadget of the season. The iPad is not only great for Mom & Dad, but for the whole family. And new accessories for the iPad make the device even more family friendly.

All kids want for Christmas are Apples – Apple products like the iPad, iPhone and iPod.

iWant – The Must Have Holiday Gift
According to a recent survey by Nielsen Research, the iPad and iPhone are the most sought after gadgets among kids. Nielsen surveyed 6 – 12 year olds, 44% of them want an iPad, 30% of them want an iPod touch and 27% want an iPhone. Parents can speak first hand to the demand, especially since kids (of all age) at some point eventually highjack mom or dad’s iPad.

And kids start playing with tech gadgets early – according to Common Sense Media, today 40% of 2 – 4 year olds have used a smartphone, tablet or portable multimedia device. The percentage raises considerable for 5 – 8 year olds, more than 50% of those kids have used those devices. More surprising? 10% of infants have used one of those devices prior to their first birthday.

Must Have Kids Accessories
It’s a do everything device with a big cool factor, so no wonder kids want to get their hands on it. Learning to build apps for Apple’s iPhone, iPad or iPod is a Christmas gift that will keep giving for a long time, until then you can certainly get by on these great accessories that make the iPad even cooler:

ion’s iCade turns your iPad into a retro arcade game machine.

iCade $99.99
Slip the iPad into the iCade and you’ve got a tabletop retro arcade. The joystick and buttons are quick and responsive and it’s solidly built. There’s another Atari-licensed arcade accessory but it isn’t built like the iCade, which features a hardwood cabinet like the old-school standup coin-op machines. There’s even a faux coin slot for collecting quarters. For fans of old school arcade machines (who don’t want to hunt down or pay for an antique machine), this is the perfect gift.

Disney Spotlight Microphone $99.99
Do you have a closet Selena Gomez or Miley Cyrus at home? Make them a star with Disney’s Spotlight Microphone – the wireless mic turns the iPad into a karaoke machine. Record your own music video while performing, plus the Karaoke app allows you to polish your performance with reverb, echo and provides vocal warm-ups too.

Keep the kids entertained while on the go with the Crayola iMarker. 

Crayola iMarker – ColorStudioHD $29.99
Turn your iPad into a coloring book – but without marking up your iPad’s screen with crayons. Using the iMarker stylus (which looks like an oversized crayon), kids can freely doodle or color pre-drawn pages using the ColorStudioHD app which is available free with the iMarker. Drawings come to life with animations and based on initial testing it looks like every color in the Crayola box has been included too!

Cars 2 Appmates $12.99 – $14.99
Disney teamed up Spin Master toys for Appmates, a toy that interacts with the iPad, with the first set of Appmates toys based on the Cars 2 movie. All parents have to do is download the free app and buy the car packs, kids then can “drive” on different courses using the Appmates car. The Cars license, fun mini-games and Disney quality animations set the Appmates apart from accessories pack.

Griffin’s HELO Touch lets you control a helicopter using your iPad or iPhone. 

HELO TC (Touch-Controller) RC Helicopter  $49.99
For older kids, Griffin’s remote-controlled toy helicopter is just the ticket. The app is free and turns your iPad touchscreen into a helicopter controller. The helicopter fits in the palm of your hand and can do the same tricks as models costing three times more. RC helicopters like this eventually crash, but thankfully for parents Griffin offers replacement parts like propellor blades and more at their website, so you can keep your copter flying without buying another one.

Apps (and Apples) for the Holidays 
Apple’s iPad and iPhones are more popular than ever, so it’s no surprise they’ve found their way into the $22 billion toy market. According to Gartner Research, Apple expects to double the number of iPhones sold this year, bringing the total to 90.6 million worldwide – the number of iPads is expected to triple, topping 46.7 million. What do those numbers mean? Most likely you’ll be filling a stocking or placing an Apple product on your gift giving list this holiday season too.


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Cool Things You Can Do with Siri, iPhone’s 4S Voice Recognition

So you’ve got a new iPhone 4S and you’ve already started putting Siri, apple’s voice recognition technology, through her paces with commands like: ”Can you find me a good Chinese restaurant?” or “Who’s on first?”

You ask, she tells. Need to find the nearest local dry cleaner? Siri knows. Hungry for the best Indian food in Dayton, Ohio? Ask Siri. Ready to tweet out your status? Siri can do that, too. She’s a do-it-all digital personal assistant.

Siri’s Serious Muscle
Siri’s a master communicator; she currently recognizes and “speaks” three languages (English, French and German), but within a year, Siri will also support Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Korean and Italian. Another cool trick: through the iPhone 4S, Siri will take any words you speak and convert them into text.

Siri depends on the processing power of the dual-core A5 chip in the iPhone 4S. Siri also uses 3G, Wi-Fi and Apple’s data centers to find the answers to your questions. With all that processing power, it’s not surprising that users, developers and hackers are all experimenting with Siri’s capabilities. Siri already does plenty of things, like making telephone calls, finding business locations, searching the Internet and scheduling appointment reminders. But Siri can do so much more.

Cool Things You Do With Siri

Update Your Twitter Feed
Want to update your Twitter status but your thumbs are too lazy? In your Contacts list, under the name “Twitter” add 40404. Now text “START” to that number. When you’re prompted, respond with your username and password. Any time you want to tweet, simply tell Siri to “Text Twitter.”

Update Your Facebook
Use Siri to update Facebook in a similiar way. Just add “Facebook” to your contacts and assign the number 32665. Now tell Siri to “Text Facebook” with your update.

Check Your Bank Balance
If updating your Facebook or Twitter status isn’t enough, you can also use Siri to do your banking. It’s true; you can easily learn how to set up Siri to check your bank balance or send money to your friends.

Play Music 
SiriTunes lets you search for music using Siri and it even works if you don’t have Siri. Listen to whatever you like, whenever you like.


Learning How to Hack Apps
There are plenty of other great Siri hacks and tricks you can perform with Siri, although some require jailbreaking your iPhone 4S. No matter how you approach it, this great new technology is just begging to be explored. Learning how to program apps for iPhone 4S and the iPad or for other handheld platforms (like Google’s Android) can change your life.

Want to prepare yourself for a career in app development? Why not start by spending next summer at a computer summer camp like Digital Media Academy? DMA provides expert, hands-on instruction in subjects like app development for the iPhone and uses the iOS for development in its iPhone App courses. Who knows? You could make the next Siri.


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