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‘Voice of Siri’ steps forward

Susan Bennett, an Atlanta-area voice actress, has revealed herself as the original voice of Siri. Though Apple won’t confirm Bennett as the voice, CNN reports, “Professionals who know her voice, have worked with her and represent her legally say she is Siri. And an audio-forensics expert with 30 years of experience has studied both voices and says he is ‘100%’ certain the two are the same.” Though Siri didn’t debut until Oct. 4, 2011 during the unveiling of the iPhone 4S, Bennett unknowingly recorded voice samples for the virtual assistant in July 2005. Under contract with ScanSoft, Bennett recorded samples for four hours a day that month. Bennett didn’t find out she was Siri’s voice until the iPhone 4S was released. A colleague with the new phone emailed Bennett, asking if she was Siri. Bennett checked Apple’s website to hear the audio. “Oh, I knew,” she said. “It’s obviously me. It’s my voice.”

Report: Apple acquires assistant app Cue

Apple has acquired personal assistant app Cue, according to numerous reports. The acquisition has cost Apple at least $35 million, as reported by Apple Insider, while TechCrunch reports the app sold for somewhere between $40 million to $60 million. Cue recently shut down its app, which was capable of culling information from your e-mails and social media accounts to provide a daily agenda, as well as offering a searchable collection of your personal online information. Conceivably, Cue could bolster Apple’s iOS 7 notifications and Siri features. In response to inquiries, Apple released its typical acquisition statement: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Schools say iOS 7 removed filters from student iPads

A number of schools across the U.S. have found that upgrading their student-used iPads to iOS 7 removed previous supervision profiles on the devices, AllThingsD reports. Losing the filters cleared any restrictions administrators put on the devices. Administrators also lost remote management privileges due to the upgrade. In response, some schools have changed network settings to stop iPads from updating to iOS 7. Apple is working toward a resolution. “Some business and education users have reported that their supervised devices have reverted to unsupervised when they upgrade to iOS 7,” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said. “We are aware of this issue, and will have a fix this month.”

Report: Next-gen iPad, mini to have 8MP cameras

Apple’s fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad mini will both have 8MP cameras with larger apertures, according to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo expects both devices to launch this year. Another report from earlier today expressed doubt that the second-generation iPad mini would launch this year — and if it is released in 2013, it may only be available in limited quantities. While all analyst predictions should be viewed with some skepticism, Kuo has been fairly accurate in the past. [via 9to5Mac]

iCloud email push notifications return to Germany

German iCloud users can now receive push email notifications again, Apple has confirmed. The feature was restored last night after a delay of more than 19 months, caused by a dispute with Google’s Motorola Mobility which forced Apple to deactivate the notifications. Apple reportedly had to post a $132 million bond to lift the injunction. A Munich court will hold an invalidation hearing Nov. 13 on the patent that caused the dispute. [via FOSS Patents]

Apple working to fix iOS 7 iMessage glitch

Apple is working on a solution for a known iOS 7 glitch that is disrupting iMessage, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some users have found that iMessages appear to go through, only to later discover that the message has not actually been delivered. “We are aware of an issue that affects a fraction of a percent of our iMessage users, and we will have a fix available in an upcoming software update,” Apple said in a statement. A few workarounds have been suggested by users for the time being, including restarting the device, and disabling iMessage, resetting Network Settings, and then turning iMessage back on.

Reuters: Retina iPad mini may slip to 2014

Apple’s second-generation iPad mini with Retina display won’t get a wide rollout this month, and might not even launch until 2014, Reuters reports. Sources in Apple’s supply chain say the company is just now readying production for the new iPad mini. If the device actually is released this year, it may only be available in limited quantities. While the exact reasons for the delays are murky, one source said “strict power-saving requirements” postponed Apple’s certification of panel producers. Two sources claim Apple is looking to reduce costs, and the company might also release an 8GB version of the new iPad mini. An August report claimed Apple would release both the fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad mini this year.

Apple and others back NSA, FBI transparency bills

Apple and a number of other technology companies have signed a letter supporting a pair of bills that would clarify the companies’ abilities to publish details on the government’s demands for user information. The bills — Senator Al Franken’s S. 1452, the Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013, and Representative Zoe Lofgren’s H.R. 3035, the Surveillance Order Reporting Act of 2013 — were introduced in August. Apple and other tech companies have been pushing for NSA transparency for some time. The Cupertino company immediately denied the NSA and FBI were mining its servers for data when the PRISM program came to light in June. [via The Verge]

Obama compares Healthcare.gov ‘glitches’ to iOS 7 launch

Obama addressed concerns over today’s full launch of Healthcare.gov by comparing its “glitches” to Apple’s iOS 7 launch. “Now, like every new law, every new product roll-out, there are going to be some glitches in the sign-up process along the way that we will fix. I’ve been saying this from the start. For example, we found out that there have been times this morning where the site’s been running more slowly than it normally will,” Obama said.

“…Consider that just a couple of weeks ago, Apple rolled out a new mobile operating system, and within days, they found a glitch, so they fixed it. I don’t remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads or threatening to shut down the company if they didn’t. That’s not how we do things in America. We don’t actively root for failure. We get to work, we make things happen, we make them better, we keep going.” [via Washington Post]

MobileMe customers lose storage, iCloud affected

Apple has informed former MobileMe members via email that their 20GB iCloud storage upgrade has expired. Those users who haven’t purchased a storage plan and are still using more than 5GB of iCloud space have found that iCloud has temporarily stopped working. The service will work again once the amount of storage space used is reduced to 5GB or less, or if a larger storage plan is purchased. Apple has released a support article on the changes. Apple started notifying customers in early August that the free upgrade would expire and changes would need to be made to their iCloud storage. For more information on how to best reduce your iCloud footprint, check out this iLounge article from last week.

Apple to pay $40 to some older iPad 3G owners

A ruling has been issued in a class action lawsuit filed in 2010 against Apple and AT&T, with Apple agreeing to pay $40 to U.S. customers who bought or ordered an iPad 3G before June 7, 2010. Customers who didn’t sign up with AT&T are eligible for a $20/month discount for up to a year on the carrier’s 5GB monthly plan. The lawsuit stems from AT&T advertising an unlimited data plan for iPads, then eliminating the unlimited data plan. Reportedly, the deal will be finalized in February, when Apple will try to contact eligible customers. Due to anti-class action provisions in the AT&T contract, payouts will be limited; the AT&T discount will be offered to those who no longer own their original iPad and didn’t sign up for any AT&T data plan. [via GigaOM]

Apple motion against Lodsys dismissed

Apple’s motion to intervene in a patent infringement lawsuit Lodsys filed against numerous iOS developers has been dismissed by US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, according to a report. Lodsys originally sued seven third-party iOS developers, which prompted Apple’s motion to intervene more than two years ago. Apple proposed to claim alleged infringements by iOS developers were covered under its existing license to Lodsys’s patents. Lodsys’ original claims were related to patents involving in-app purchases and “upgrade” buttons. Martha Stewart, who was just in the news recently for tweeting about her broken iPad, recently sued Lodsys after the patent troll demanded Stewart pay the holding company for each of her company’s apps. Lodsys’ case is still on track for trial. [via Ars Technica]

Apple hires Nike design director Shaffer

Apple has hired Nike design director Ben Shaffer, according to a report. Shaffer was Studio Director of Nike’s research and development lab, and he played a key role in developing the company’s lightweight Flyknit shoe; some reports have suggested, perhaps erroneously, that he was involved in the FuelBand as well. Shaffer’s hiring and Apple’s earlier hiring of another Nike Fuel Band developer, Jay Blahnik, lends further credence to a report that the company’s rumored “iWatch” would be focused on fitness. Another report made note of Apple “aggressively” hiring for the project — a trend that appears to be continuing. [via 9to5Mac]

[Editor’s note: This report was updated after publication to reflect ambiguity over Shaffer’s role in FuelBand development.]

MLB to use iOS 7 iBeacon mapping in stadiums

Major League Baseball plans to utilize Apple’s new iBeacon indoor mapping feature in its At the Ballpark app. The app will use the new iOS 7 feature in MLB stadiums. “Essentially, we want to create micro-locations within the stadiums where you can get different experiences,” said MLB iOS developer Marc Abramson. It’s possible the app could load a ticket through Passbook when a spectator approaches a stadium gate, and present a map which can show spectators to their seats.

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A number of other possible features were revealed, including discounts and loyalty cards at concession stands, and historical information about the park. The New York Mets are currently testing the Bluetooth LE-powered iBeacon for in-stadium use, but Abramson said, “A lot of teams have expressed interest so far.” [via Mashable]

Martha Stewart raises Apple’s ire with broken iPad tweets

Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart apparently invoked the wrath of Apple public relations Thursday night with a series of tweets about a shattered iPad. Stewart initially tweeted, “I just dropped my iPad on the ground and shattered two glass corners. What to do? does one call Apple to come and pick it up or do I take it?” After a few other iPad-related tweets, Stewart then tweeted, “i cannot believe that Apple Public Relations is mad at me for tweeting about my Ipad and how to get it fixed! steve jobs gave it to me!” Apparently, Apple PR contacted Stewart at some point regarding the tweets. Stewart appeared to calm down in later tweets about her iPad, and she was soon tweeting happily about upcoming pork- and potato-themed episodes of her PBS show.

Apple to pay $3.35M in Japan for click wheel infringement

The Tokyo District Court ordered Apple to pay 330 million yen (about $3.35 million) to Norihiko Saito for infringing on the Japanese inventor’s click wheel controller patent. Saito’s company applied for the patent in 1998, before Apple used a click wheel in its iPod. Saito sought 10 billion yen in damages, but received only a fraction of that amount. The inventor had previously tried three times to reach a settlement with Apple. [via Dow Jones Newswires]

Apple releases iOS 7.0.2

Apple has released iOS 7.0.2 for all iOS devices — unlike the previous iOS 7.0.1 update, which was only for the iPhone 5c and 5s. The release fixes bugs that could allow someone to bypass the Lock Screen passcode.

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Also included in the update is a Greek keyboard option for passcode entry. It’s available for download now through the Software Update screen under Settings.

Apple CEO Cook to meet with investor Icahn

Apple CEO Tim Cook will meet with controversial billionaire investor Carl Icahn on Monday, according to CNBC. CNBC’s report speculates that Icahn — who made a large Apple investment in August — may consider adding to his stake in the company; he frequently takes positions in companies to force major changes in their operations and offerings to shareholders. Icahn’s stake is already believed to be worth “at least $2 billion.” Earlier this month, he said it was “a no-brainer” to add to his position.

Apple announces iOS 7 Tech Talks

Apple has announced iOS 7 Tech Talks for developers. The talks will take place in San Francisco, Shanghai, New York, Berlin, Tokyo, and London. Each city will get two days of talks — one day for app developers, and the following day for game developers. The talks start in San Francisco on Oct. 8 and end in London on Dec. 18. Developers can apply now; the deadline for submissions is 10 a.m. Pacific, Friday, Sept. 27.

Apple can use iPhone trademark in Brazil

A court has ruled that Apple is allowed to use the iPhone trademark in Brazil. Brazilian company IGB Electronica SA previously had exclusive rights to the “IPHONE” name. Both companies can now legally use the iPhone name in Brazil, but Judge Eduardo de Brito Fernandes said Apple’s iPhone is “world renowned,” and it would be unfair to Apple to let IGB Electronica use the name without restrictions. Last year, IGB Electronica launched a “Gradiente iPhone,” which runs Android. [via AFP News]

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