At the End of the Day: Microsoft files for AirPods-Like Patent, Apple Granted Registered Trademark for Apple Pay Cash & more
Beyond the major stories of the day, our 'At the End of the Day' report takes a final look at other technology news that was published that might be of interest to our readership.
#1. Apple Granted a Registered Trademark (RTM) Certificate for the figurative 'Apple Pay Cash' as noted in the copy of the certificate below.
#2. Blancco's State of Mobile Device Repair and Security Report for Q1 2018 was published yesterday and a few points stood out.
Although Android devices still make up 60% of the market, this study found that they are more likely to fail (show some type of diagnostics issue), with Samsung devices being the most likely to fall short.
The iPhone 6 and 6S are the worst performing iOS devices, at around 22 percent and 16 percent failure rates, respectively. This poses a problem for mobile processors hoping to resell devices, as issues must be resolved before the device heads back to market. iOS customers also seem to be having problems with their Bluetooth; Bluetooth issues were a major pain point in Q1 2018.
If you're interested in finding out the deeper details, you could download the full Blancco report here.
#3. Microsoft Patent Points to AirPods-like Device in the Works
Apple has AirPods and Microsoft … well … is still working on their version of smart wireless earbuds that could tap into Cortana.
Microsoft's patent notes that "Wearable audio accessories for computing devices are described. In one embodiment the wearable audio accessory provides a speech based interface between the user and a nearby computing device for the performance of user-initiated or computing device initiated microtasks which they describe as asking for the weather, how your stock is doing today, what's the traffic like, make a note / reminder, make a call and so forth. The information is provided to the user via a loudspeaker and the user can provide input via a microphone. An audio sensing channel within the accessory continuously monitors the audio signal as detected by the microphone and in various embodiments will trigger more complex audio processing based on this monitoring. A wireless communication link is provided between the accessory and the nearby computing device.
Microsoft's patent FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of an audio accessory which is a wearable speech interface device for a smartphone or other computing device. The wearable speech interface device #100, provides a wearable hands-free, eye-free device with a speech based interface between the wearable speech interface device and the user (who may also be referred to as the wearer) and a communication link #101 between the wearable speech interface device and the host device #102 (i.e. the smartphone or other computing device).
Microsoft's patent FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of an example audio processing hierarchy; and FIG. 7 shows schematic diagrams of two additional example audio accessories.
A few unique ideas or features that Microsoft is considering to add to their smart earbuds include the following:
A temperature sensor arranged to detect a wearer's body heat.
Earbuds could wirelessly work with televisions, Xbox, set-top-boxes
Communicate your to-do or shopping list
Alarms could be set to remind you of appointments, incoming email etc
Microsoft's patent application was filed back in October 2017 and published this week by the U.S. Patent Office.
#4. Microsoft Calls for AI Face Recognition Software Regulation
Microsoft Corp., which has come under fire for a U.S. government contract that was said to involve facial recognition software, said it will more carefully consider contracts in this area and urged lawmakers to regulate the use of such artificial intelligence to prevent abuse.
Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel for the ACLU, agreed with Microsoft that lawmakers need to get involved in analyzing the use of facial-recognition software.
"Congress should take immediate action to enact a moratorium on law enforcement use of this technology until its grave threats to communities can be fully debated," she said. "However, in the meantime, companies like Microsoft, Amazon and others should be heeding the calls from the public, employees, and shareholders to stop selling face-surveillance technology to law enforcement." For more on this, check out the full Bloomberg report here.
On Wednesday one of the stories in our 'At the End of the Day' report covered the New York Time's report about Facebook's use of facial recognition that has set off alarm bells.
Due to Face ID on Apple's iPhone X expanding to the iPad, Apple is bound to get caught up in this issue in one way or another. Although Apple prioritizes privacy, it's still an issue that could affect them down the road if legislation ever surfaces. It's simply a topic to keep our eye on going forward.
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