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Apple files patent application for 'intelligent automated assistant'

Engadget caught wind of the fact that Apple has filed a patent for an "intelligent automated assistant," which sounds like the nice lady (or man) in your iPhone (or, as of iOS 6, iPad 3) called Siri. The application talks at length about a digital assistant controlled using speech (it's Siri), which takes a user's speech input (again, it's Siri) and then fulfills the speaker's request using digitized speech. In other words, a patent for Siri.

Unfortunately, because the patent is so general, there isn't a whole lot of nuts-and-bolts talk about how Siri actually works -- at least none that we didn't know already. But there is some reference to the term "anchor phrases," which are words and phrases that Siri looks for in your speech to actually figure out what you're saying. The patent also talks about providing alternate words to the user in case something can't be understood, and the use of databases (like, say, Wolfram Alpha) for figuring out which information is needed by the user.

Apple's all covered, then, should it ever face the question of Siri's origin in court. This patent, plus any others that it may have picked up when Siri was acquired, should be more than enough to defend its case.

Apple iPad dominates tablet-based web browsing with 98% share, report says

A study released on Thursday claims the iPad accounts for nearly of all web traffic originating from tablets, and 54.5 percent of all traffic from mobile devices, to sites running the touch-centric Onswipe platform.
In its first-ever study, Onswipe, a digital publishing tool developer that helps websites create "touch friendly" web experiences without building a standalone app, found that Apple's tablet represented 98.1 percent of 29.5 million unique impressions over 1200 sites from Sept. 13 to Sept. 20.

Onswipe Study

Source: Onswipe

Apple's massive share was followed by Samsung's Galaxy Tab and Motorola's Xoom, which managed 1.53 percent and 0.21 percent of tablet-based traffic, respectively. Amazon's 7-inch Kindle Fire came in fourth with 0.11 percent.

"The iPad is clearly a browsing device," Onswipe CEO Jason Baptiste told AppleInsider, explaining that his company can track device and engagement data via the aptly-named Onswipe platform.

Digging deeper into the results, iPad users spent 56.9 percent more time per web surfing session than iPhone owners, possibly hinting that the tablet's larger screen is better suited for browsing.

Also of note is the iPad's 54.5 percent share of total mobile web traffic, more than doubling the iPhone's share of 19.05 percent despite having comparatively fewer units in operation.

iPad v. iPhone

Interestingly, the Kindle Fire has seen a bump in web content engagement, as users spend 79 percent more time per page visit compared to iPad users. Amazon's small form factor device also generates 138 percent more page views per visit relative to Apple's tablet. The results offer a look at what could be the future of tablet computing as an onslaught of 7-inch products hit the market, possibly signaling a push toward smaller, more portable devices.

As for operating system share, Apple's iOS owns 75.12 percent of total mobile content consumption across Onswipe's monitored network, followed by Android with 22.3 percent and all others with 2.5 percent.

Baptiste made note of a brief follow-up study conducted on Wednesday which found iOS 6 accounted for 40.8 percent of all iOS traffic for visitors to Onswipe partner sites. Of the 250,000 unique iOS users studied, 56.76 percent of iPhone users upgraded to iOS 6, compared to 37.75 percent of iPad owners.

Publishing firm Future made $8 million in one year from Apple's Newsstand

Future, a magazine publisher based in the UK, is planning on building out its existing digital distribution model, which has already garnered the company about $8 million over the past year.

It appears that Future's success in the digital realm is in great part thanks to Apple's iTunes Newsstand, the iOS app that allows users to purchase, organize and store digital publications all in one place.


According to PaidContent, Future, one of the first companies to adopt the service when it launched with iOS 5 in 2011, announced the rise in profits on Thursday at an interim trading update.

“Sales of digital editions on Apple devices have passed £5 million ($8 million) in the period since the Apple Newsstand was launched in October 2011,” Future reported.

Among the magazines published by the firm are PC Gamer, popular tech serial T3 and Apple-centric MacLife, the hard copy versions of which have been in print for years. Before Newsstand's release, Future's digital presence was limited to web portals TechRadar, BikeRadar and GamesRadar.

“In March, we were at over 12 million (free) container app downloads, had five million people signed up for marketing messages, which is a lot, and way past half a million sales,” said Future CEO Mark Wood.

In order to leverage Newsstand, Future built FutureFolio, a specialized software suite which aids in the design of interactive magazines, which the company is now trying to license to competitors.

Future is not the first company to see significant gains after using Newsstand. Less than one month after the service launched, Condé Nast reported a 268 percent surge in subscriptions while Popular Science + saw similar growth.