Getting into electronic music is a breeze these days with all the great iOS apps out there. Ripplemaker, for example, is a fantastic modular synth app that even newbies can use, while veteran synthesizer manufacturers like Korg, Electro-Harmonics and Moog regularly update their apps with the best in modern and retro sounds. If you’re looking for more, you might want to give SynthScaper a look. It promises to turn your iOS device into an ambient music creation studio, with a library of presets that you can customize (or create yourself) to lay down those mellow soundscapes on the go.
Unlike some music apps, you won’t be trying to imitate real instruments with SynthScaper. The developer wants to encourage you to experiment with sounds, musical and otherwise, including weird noises and odd samples to create textured soundscapes. The app has a ton of independent oscillators, layer voices, envelope generators, and arpeggiators to create your aural masterpiece. If playing on the touchscreen isn’t your thing, you can connect up to two MIDI keyboards to your iPad or iPhone. The launch price is right, too: $ 10 for all of this functionality is half the usual price for similarly-equipped music apps.
You’ll need a 64-bit capable iOS device for SynthScaper, thanks to all the processing going on, especially when all the voices and oscillators are going at once. While you can start the app on iPad Air, iPad Mini 2 or 3 with an A7 chip, the developer recommends using at least an iPhone 6, iPad Mini 4, or iPad Air 2 and higher for the best experience.
If it wasn’t already clear that Apple is committed to improving AI, it is now. The tech giant has confirmed that it recently bought Lattice Data, a company that uses AI to make sense of unorganized “dark” data like images and text. It’s not discussing what it plans to do with its acquisition, but a TechCrunch source claims that Apple paid $ 200 million. It’s not a gigantic deal, then, but no small potatoes when only 20 engineers are making the leap. And if that same source is correct, it could be important for Siri — Lattice had reportedly been talking to tech firms about “enhancing their AI assistants.” But what does that mean, exactly?
AI assistants frequently depend on structured data to provide meaningful answers, such as the latest scores for your favorite team or your upcoming calendar events. It’s harder for them to parse the massive amounts of data you generate outside of those neat-and-tidy containers. Lattice could make that data usable, helping Siri handle more of your commands. Need to find some obscure piece of information? You might have a better chance of finding it.
That could be important in the long run, and not just for the usual voice commands on your iPhone or Mac. If you believe rumors, Apple may be close to unveiling a Siri-based speaker. While that device would be unlikely to benefit from any of Lattice’s know-how in the short term (certainly not at WWDC 2017), any eventual upgrades to Siri would improve its ability to compete against rivals like the Amazon Echo series or Google Home. Lattice may not sound like an exciting company on the surface, but its work could be crucial to Apple’s visions for the smart home and beyond.
When Apple announced its wireless AirPods last fall, there was some anxiety over how easy it would be to lose one of the wireless earbuds. Well, the company is looking to ease that burden a bit. As part of the upcoming iOS 10.3 update, you will be able to use the Find My iPhone app to locate a lost AirPod. Just like the app helps you find a misplaced laptop, iPad or iPhone, it will soon tell you were that earbud fell out of your pocket.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the app uses the AirPods’ wireless tech to locate them. The earbuds don’t have a GPS connection, so Apple employs the iPhone’s GPS tech. The map inside the Find My iPhone app will show you the last place the AirPods were in range of an iOS device connected to your iCloud account. If you happen to lose one out of range, the software will show you a general location of where it was last connected to one one of your gadgets. However, you will have to use your phone to employ this method.
What happens when you drop an AirPod at home and you just can’t see it? The app will also let you play a sound through the earbuds to help you locate them. Here, you have the option beaming a noise through one or both of the audio accessories. Of course, this is dependent on the fact that the AirPods haven’t run out of battery yet. iOS 10.3 was released to developers today, so it shouldn’t be long before it and its earbud-locating tool are available for everyone to use. Hey, at least it might save you $ 69 on a replacement set.
We’ve seen many attempts at helping you switch from one smartphone platform to another, but Google is kicking things up a notch with its Pixel smartphones. The lineup will include software to bring over contacts, media and messages from other phones, including iPhones. It’ll even bring over your iMessages, in case you’re worried that all those blue chat bubbles will disappear while moving to Android. To that end, Google bundles an adapter to help iPhone owners make the leap. These tools aren’t that necessary if you store a lot of your data in the cloud, but it’s evident that Google wants to remove as many pain points as possible — it wants Pixel to appeal to everyone.
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Savonix is a company that claims to take the “analog processes” of cognitive assessment into the digital age. The firm is launching an iOS and Android app that, for the next six weeks, will let anyone examine their own mental ability. Users will have to undergo a series of tests that test the limits of their ability, from smart thinking through to emotional control. Whereas previously these tests would have been worked out on pen-and-paper under the supervision of a stern looking psychologist, now it’s open to anyone. After the open beta closes and all of the kinks have been worked out, the app will become exclusively available to users who license the app through “healthcare organizations.”
I put myself forward as a test subject, spending 40 minutes in a quiet room going through the various examinations. If you’ve ever played Brain Age / Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training on the Nintendo DS, you’ll be familiar with the territory here. If you’re not, then it’s a series of 12 cognition tests, ranging from remembering a list of words to drawing a picture from memory. There are also more advance examinations, such as the Iowa Gambling Task through to spotting someone’s perceived emotion from a still image of their face.
The test is reasonably simple to complete and to do so in the comfortable surroundings of your own home helps. The instructions are unthreatening and, on the most part, easy to understand, although a bug in the app robbed me of my practice run for one of the sections. As a tool to make general conclusions in a quick, easy and cheap manner for mental health professionals, it seems like something of a no brainer. Just be warned: if you don’t have a psychological condition that needs attention, don’t be offended if you get called average.