The recent success of Project Watson, an IBM computer, in demolishing the two all-time most successful champions on the Jeopardy quiz show has focused attention on the coming of natural language understanding to computers — and to our iPhones. The trick has been to teach a computer not just to search databases of information but to understand natural human language. Imagine how convenient that would be: you'd never have to type a query or tap your phone's screen again.
Evan Hunt, a professional photographer, emailed me to let me know about his enormous enthusiasm for the iPhone and to point me to his project to take pictures every day with his iPhone and post them to his blog. The results are quite impressive. He also has two portfolios of iPhone photos (one and two). It's fun to see what an experienced professional can do with this device.
Rumors have been rampant lately — cheap iPhone nano coming this summer, an iPhone with a 4-inch screen, etc. And now the New York Times, speaking with anonymous sources who have been briefed on Apple's plans, says that it's not true. The next iPhone, they say, will be similar in size to the current iPhone. BUT, the NY Times bolsters the rumor that MobileMe will be offered as a free service. It will allow iOS users over-the-air syncing of their content (music, photos, etc.).
The iPhone always seems to come out on top, even though the Android platform is increasingly popular. At the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which is going on this week, the iPhone 4 was selected as Best Mobile Device in the Global Mobile Awards 2011 competition.
To tell you the truth, there's not much of a need for this app here in rural Iowa. But if you're in the market for tickets to events and entertainment, eSeats Tickets may well be, er, the ticket.
I continue to be pleased with Rupert Murdoch's iPad-only newspaper, The Daily. Yesterday the App Store charged my account for my first week's $0.99 subscription. And today Apple announced its digital media subscription service.
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, one of their sources (anonymous, of course) told them that Apple is working on a new, less-expensive iPhone that would be about half the size of the iPhone 4. It would be sold alongside Apple's regular iPhone. Also, the article says that Apple will roll out a new version of MobileMe that they're considering making available for free.
The good news about Apple's AirPrint is that it lets you print from an iOS device. The bad news is that you have to buy a new printer that's AirPrint-enabled. If you like your current printer just fine, thank you, and don't intend to buy a new one, I have good news. At Macworld I spoke with Scott Herscher of Collobos Software who has developed an inexpensive application for Mac and Windows, called FingerPrint, that lets you use the AirPrint feature with any printer connected to you Mac or PC.
One of the fun things at Macworld was meeting developers and seeing demos of apps that likely would never have come to my attention. Tyler Young stopped by our booth, and I was impressed with the elegant and intuitive design of his free app Wigglehop. It's unlike other apps that show movie times, because you don’t look up showtimes with it so much as build your own custom movie listings. His demo was pretty slick.