Is this what Apple’s iPhone 5 speech recognition will be like?

Last May, TechCrunch reported that Apple was talking with Nuance to use its speech recognition tech into the new version of Apple’s mobile operating system.

Earlier this week, 9to5Mac detailed the new feature, calling it the most important for the new iPhone.

According to 9to5Mac, users will hold down the home button to launch the feature, which can allow users to make calendar appointments simply via voice, or leave reminders for themselves or even get directions. You can also text by only using voice and in some instances, the system will speak back to you. When texting a friend, it will ask what number to use, for example.

Think of it as talking to  your iPhone almost as if you’re talking to Bob, your buddy from Chicago. The feature also reportedly has Wolfram Alpha baked in, so you can ask for facts or information. No more going to calculator to add up how much money you’re about to spend at Target.

Today, Macrumors commissioned a video (above) of the assistant, based on current rumors out there, and it puts together a pretty powerful look at what could be announced next week.





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Michelle Obama recognized only by the cashier during Target shopping jaunt (video)

First Lady Michelle Obama, wearing a gray  Nike ball cap and glasses, pushed her own little red cart through an Alexandria, Va., Target store today.

She shopped for about 30 minutes and was only recognized when she checked out — by the cashier.

No word if she was trying to pre-order the new iPhone 5.

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T-Mobile unveils new design for U.S. stores (video)

T-Mobile is not waiting around for a merger or a bankruptcy court. The company announced plans today to remodel more than 400 of its stores in the U.S. after a similar redesign had positive steps in Europe.

The first redesign stores will open Oct. 5 in Boston and Washington, D.C.

interior of T-Mobile stores after redesign
Redesigned T-Mobile store

T-Mobile said the goal is to offer customers an improved shopping experience. The new stores will have private customer service desks, large-screen digital displays and better merchandise layout. Alas, there will be no iPhone in sight.

Here’s the presser:

T-Mobile USA Unveils New Global Design Retail Stores
Refreshed retail store interior offers the ultimate customer experience, featuring
T-Mobile’s exceptional and affordable products and services running on
America’s Largest 4G Network™

BELLEVUE, Wash. — September 29, 2011 — Today T-Mobile USA, Inc. announced the rollout of a new global design for nearly 400 new and remodeled stores across the country. In an ongoing commitment to provide the ultimate customer experience, T-Mobile adopted the new design format from its parent company, Deutsche Telekom AG, which has received positive customer feedback for this new design in retail stores across Europe.

Each redesigned store will be completely new from floor to ceiling, enabling T-Mobile to provide customers with a compelling retail experience and improve overall efficiency within the store. For example, customers will now be able to meet with sales representatives at private customer service desks and view products in clearly defined areas, making it easier to find what they need.

“With the continued complexity of wireless choices, T-Mobile is always looking to help simplify the consumer retail experience and make it more personal for each customer,” said Debra Coates, senior director of store development, T-Mobile USA. “While we’ve continually been honored for our customer service, we have found ways to make the shopping experience even better with this new design.”

Two pilot locations — the Southcenter Parkway and Minkler Boulevard store in Tukwila, Wash., and the Seventh Avenue and 48th Street store in New York — were remodeled earlier this year. With the improved layout of merchandise, customers now are presented with devices coupled with relevant accessories, so they don’t have to shop multiple locations throughout the store searching for what they need.

From new hardwood flooring to a large digital messaging screen at the rear of the store, customers will be presented with an open sales environment, creating a quick, easy, clear and concise shopping experience. Vertical highlight panels installed with information kiosks and video monitors also encourage customers to explore and engage in an interactive shopping experience. The new design provides a clear customer journey, making shoppers feel comfortable and simplifying the purchase process.

Customers also will have several service options, from standing service counters on the sales floor for quick transactions to seated service desks for long transactions, discreet conversations and business-to-business consultations. With this new format, customer wait times are expected to be reduced.

T-Mobile is opening or remodeling these stores in approximately 65 markets across the country in an effort to serve and grow with the needs of its customers, as well as continue to invest in local communities.

“We’ve always been committed to providing an easy, compelling retail experience, and we have now improved this experience while investing in our stores’ local economies in the process,” said Ami Silverman, senior vice president of sales operations, T-Mobile USA. “With the combination of an improved retail experience, America’s Largest 4G Network™, and exceptional and affordable devices and rate plans, now is a great time to be a T-Mobile customer.”

Various local events and promotions will be planned to celebrate the new retail store design, with the first stores reopening in Boston and Washington, D.C., on Oct. 5.

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MEDL Mobile makes more than half their app catalog free

MEDL Mobile, Inc moved into the national spotlight back in January 2010 when it was featured on CNBC’s “Planet of the Apps” for its App Incubator program. The company has made more than 100 apps since then and, for a limited time, the majority of the company’s app catalog is free.

The limited-time promotion is timed to coincide with the release of Apple’s new operating system, iOS5. Free titles include Fruit Blast, Code Red, ISing Awesome, Boink, Isometrics and Garage Sales Chat.

Click here to see the catalog.


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iPhone 5 cases show up in AT&T’s inventory

Well, well, Boy Genius Report has nabbed a screen shot of what it says shows Apple’s new iPhone 5 cases showing up in inventory.

Interestingly, we don’t see a 4S case. We see the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 5.

There appear to be three new iPhone 5 cases from Case-Mate. A few weeks ago, Case-Mate briefly posted these images on its website of an iPhone 5 case that made the phone look slimmer with tapered edges. It also looks like the iPhone had an aluminum back.

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Microsoft making big money off Android phones

According to Business Insider, Microsoft stands to make nearly a half-billion off revenue from Android patent deals in the 2012 fiscal year that began last July 1.

Quoting a note from Goldman Sach’s tech analyst team, Business Insider said Goldman estimates Microsoft gets between three and six bucks on every Android sold. And remember, Samsung now will give Microsoft about $15 per every Android device sold.

Microsoft’s fiscal 2012 revenue is estimated to top $75 billion, so it’s not company-changing cash, but lots of cash nonetheless.


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Tablet users more likely than PC users to purchase online

HTC Jetstream tablet
HTC Jetstream tablet

The Wall Street Journal reports today on an interesting, if not very surprising trend: users of tablets, like Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, are more likely to make online purchases than traditional PC users.

The Journal says, armed with that knowledge, retailers are going to make tablet sales a huge focus heading into the holiday season ahead.

The tablet audience is still small, but WSJ reports that that audience is not afraid to pull out the plastic.

“Tablets still account for only a small percentage of overall e-commerce, but they are punching above their weight,” the article reads. “While the conversion rate—orders divided by total visits—is 3% for shoppers using a traditional PC, it is 4% or 5% for shoppers using tablets, says Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research.”

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Will Samsung announce new Nexus Prime smartphone Oct. 11?

Samsung Google Invitation to What's New for Android
Samsung Google Invitation to What's New for Android

Doesn’t look like Samsung is going to sit on the sidelines and let Apple hog all the smartphone glory next month.

The media began receiving invitations today for a Samsung/Google event Oct. 11 at 11:30 a.m., PST in San Diego. The invitation says the companies will show off “What’s New For Android.” The event will come one week after Apple’s big iPhone 5 shindig.

And this new Google event almost assuredly means we’ll be seeing the new Nexus Prime and finding out all the reasons why Verizon reportedly eschewed the Samsung Galaxy S II, now on AT&T and Sprint and T-Mobile, in order to carry this version exclusively, at least at launch.

The Prime has been rumored for months and is expected to run the new Android operating system, called “Ice Cream Sandwich,” which will be shown a week after Apple’s official unveiling of its next gen iOS5 mobile operating system software.

Rumors say the new Nexus will carry at least a 4.5 inch screen and run Verizon’s 4G LTE network, perhaps with no carrier modifications to the OS. Other spec leaks call for a 1280×720 Super AMOLED plus screen, a 1.5 gig dual-core processor and a big battery.

Nexus Prime logo

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Sneak peek inside Apple’s inventory reveals new iPhone 4 & iPod Touch

Apple's iPod Touch
Apple's iPod Touch may be offered in white for 2011/2012

As Apple’s big news soiree nears, the news leaks continue to come hot and heavy.

The latest from tech blog 9to5Mac, claims that three new iPod Touch models have hit Apple’s inventory with codename N81A. The black iPod touch was N81, so it’s safe to assume these are likely the expected white iPod Touches in the 8 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB storage models we’re used to seeing.

The blog also reports a new iPhone SKU, N90A, and is marked as a slightly redone iPhone 4. Perhaps this is the iPhone 4S with a 8 gig storage on board as has been heavily rumored. A lot of experts are now saying Apple will only release one iPhone since its press invite had a “1” over the phone icon (seriously).

This seems to run counter to that thinking, if you accept that a next-gen phone with new hardware would not been a revision of an older model N90 to N90A. Also an iPhone codename of N94 has also show up.

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Survey says 41 percent of users plan to buy iPhone 5

Apple iPhone 4
Apple iPhone 4

A new study says 41 percent of mobile phone users in the U.S., and 39 percent in London, plan to buy the iPhone 5when it’s released next month.

Man, that Apple stock hovering around $400 almost looks like a good buy right now.

The survey was conducted by a mobile advertising company called InMobi and surveyed nearly 1,100 users across what it called “an even demographic split.” And not only do those high numbers of people in the survey — who admittedly seem higher than the percentages of smartphone users in the country — plan to buy the new iPhone, they plan to do so within six months of release. In all, 48 percent of those surveys planned to get the Apple smartphone in the first six months. Among U.S. customers, 50 percent planned to buy in the first six months.

It’ll be interesting to see how these numbers play out across the market, particularly if Apple only introduces a spec-bump in the current iPhone 4 case, something many are calling an iPhone 4s, or a totally redesigned iPhone 5.

Many analysts are predicting only one new iPhone, when the talk for months had been of two iPhones, an iPhone 5 and a cheaper iPhone that might be free or low-cost with contract.

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