Following Apple’s acquisition of Seattle AI company Xnor.ai, the company’s people detection software is no longer available on Wyze cameras.
News of Apple’s successful acquisition of Xnor.ai broke on Wednesday, January 15, in a deal reportedly worth around $200 million.
Now, The Verge is reporting that as a result of this acquisition, beta firmware to remove people detection from Wyze cameras has started to roll out. The report states:
Cameras from fellow Seattle-based company Wyze, including the Wyze Cam V2 and Wyze Cam Pan, have utilized Xnor.ai’s on-device people detection since last summer. But now that Apple owns the company, it’s no longer available. Some people on Wyze’s forum are noting that the beta firmware removing the people detection has already started to roll out.
In November of 2019, Wyze announced that the people detection feature would “temporarily” disappear from its cameras in January 2020. A clause in its agreement with Xnor.ai reportedly allowed the startup to terminate the contract “at any moment without reason.” It is unclear from that announcement whether Xnor.ai’s termination of the contract was directly related to an impending acquisition by Apple, however, it is implied in the report that the acquisition and the termination seem to be linked.
As the report notes, Wyze has promised to develop its own version of people detection to replace Xnor.ai’s technology, however, we have no indication as to when it might be ready. Commenting in its own forums, Wzye stated:
The release that will remove XNOR’s person detection is about to be released to beta. Our version is making great progress but I’m not sure when it will start moving through the test cycles.
Apple acquires Scout FM app that transforms the podcast experience with smart stations – 9to5Mac
Apple recently acquired the startup Scout FM, according to a Bloomberg report. The company offers an app that creates smart stations for podcast listeners, bringing a similar experience to radio stations.
An Apple spokesman confirmed the acquisition, but no further details were provided. The report mentions that Apple bought Scout FM earlier this year to enhance its own podcast platform amid growing competition from Spotify.
As we covered once here on 9to5Mac, Scout FM brings a different approach to the podcast experience. Instead of offering individual podcasts, the app creates smart podcast stations based on different topics, such as sports or technology.
Scout FM uses artificial intelligence to identify user preferences and suggest new relevant content. Prior to being removed from the App Store, the app was available for Apple devices and it was also compatible with CarPlay and Amazon Alexa.
Apple has been investing in its Podcasts platform with new features and the production of original shows, as Spotify has been increasingly growing with similar efforts. The company didn’t say how Scout FM will be incorporated into its Podcasts app, but we’ll probably see some new related features beginning next year.
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Epic, Spotify and other Apple critics form coalition to take on App Store rules – CNET
More than a dozen app makers and other companies have joined together to form the Coalition for App Fairness, a nonprofit group that’s taking aim at Apple and its App Store rules. Among the founding members are , and Match Group, all of which have been vocal critics of the fees Apple charges developers.
“As enforcers, regulators, and legislators around the world investigate Apple for its anti-competitive behavior, The Coalition for App Fairness will be the voice of app and game developers in the effort to protect consumer choice and create a level playing field for all,” said Horacio Gutierrez, head of global affairs at Spotify, in a release on Thursday.
The coalition comes as Apple is locked in a public battle with Fortnite developer Epic Games. Fortnite was kicked off both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store in August after Epic attempted to bypass the 30% fee Apple and Google charge developers. Epic countered by filing lawsuits against both companies. Apple earlier this month raised the stakes further by if it convinces a judge that it was within its rights to kick Fortnite off its more than 1.5 billion active iPhones and iPads.
Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment on the coalition. On Thursday, the company published several pages on its website highlighting the benefits of the App Store for users and developers. Apple says the pages provide context for its broader work to support its app store, which now counts more than 28 million developers worldwide, and 1.5 billion devices across 175 countries.
The App Store helps developers “from start to finish — to build, test, market, and distribute your products and grow your business,” says Apple’s site.
The Coalition for App Fairness also released a set of 10 App Store Principles that is says will help “protect the app economy” and ensure that the “benefits of digital technologies are shared by everyone.”
Here is the full list of coalition’s founding members: Basecamp, Blix, Blockchain.com, Deezer, Epic Games, the European Publishers Council, Match Group, News Media Europe, Prepear, Protonmail, SkyDemon, Spotify and Tile.
Amazon's new Echo Show 10's screen follows you around the room – MobileSyrup
Amazon has improved the Echo Show 10 in a few critical ways.
The first and most obvious change is a new design that looks like a screen attached to a cylinder speaker. What makes this interesting is that it can swivel in a 360-degree loop to follow the user around the room.
The Echo Show 10 also works as a Zigbee and Sidewalk hub, so it should allow people to connect a wide variety of smart home devices to it.
Since the screen features a 10-megapixel camera for video chatting, Amazon has repurposed it to be a security camera. That means when you are using your phone, you can look through the Echo Show’s camera to see what’s going on in the room it’s placed in.
Much like Facebook’s Portal smart devices, the camera on the Show 10 can also zoom in on users to crop and follow them around the room while they’re video chatting.
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