Saturday 25 November 2017

Apple plans 'Star Trek' future where we talk to computers

Tim Cook (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Tim Cook (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Apple sees a Star Trek future, where we speak out loud to computers and home appliances, instead of looking at a screen or tapping on a button.

The tech giant has unveiled new ambitions to expand voice control into computers and let other companies use its Siri technology to build voice- control systems of their own.

Instead of manually adjusting settings on cookers or turning on kettles, we will tell them what to do individually or through a centralised home system that controls all of our appliances.

And Apple has moved to deal with fears that such integrated systems could heighten the damage caused by a hacking attack, with new measures to beef up security on Apple devices.

In front of 5,000 computer developers at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco, chief executive Tim Cook also outlined a vision for more artificial intelligence in phones, computers and apps.

Siri voice control is being added to Mac computers and opened up to anyone who wants to incorporate the technology within their own products.

And a new 'Home' app on the iPhone will appear to control appliances within ordinary households, including washing machines and dishwashers.

Mr Cook said: "At Apple, we believe that technology should lift humanity, whether it's on the wrist or in the living room, on the desk or in the palm of the hand or even automating your home. This is a huge moment for us."

The company will introduce an updated operating system for the iPhone in the autumn, which promises to bring many of the new features to our iPhones, iPads and Mac computers.

Other new features announced include transcription of voice messages into text, so users don't have to call their voicemail. And a new SOS button on the Apple Watch will call emergency services and notify family members with a location map if someone is in trouble.

Meanwhile, the iPhone will no longer have to be unlocked to respond to messages and photo notifications.

However, Apple says that Ireland must wait to see Apple Pay introduced. The system, which allows iPhone and Apple Watch users to pay for things in shops by swiping their device against a contactless card machine, is already available in Britain and Northern Ireland.

Apple is also changing the look and feel of its Apple Music service, which now has 15 million paying subscribers.

Meanwhile, the company has changed, so the name of its Mac OS X operating system to Mac OS.

Irish Independent

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