Our morning recap is bursting at the seams with app updates! Developers have been busy this week throwing out a volley of App Store enhancements for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad apps, and we've managed to nab 'em all in our net and distill them down into the best and brightest — so read on before you head off for the weekend!
Sometimes important acquisitions by Apple make big news; other times, months by go by before anyone even knows about it. (It's a pity it seemingly can't achieve that same secrecy with the iPhone anymore.) As TechCrunch reports, it appears that the iPhone maker acquired staff from Novauris Technologies last year to assist in improving Siri, thus all but confirming Apple also acquired the company at the same time.
On the eve of the launch of Microsoft's three signature Office apps for the iPad, several critics were still suggesting that it was too late for their appearance to make much of a difference. According to today's Twitter report from Microsoft, however, they couldn't have been more wrong. Just one week since Word, Excel, and PowerPoint came to Apple's tablet, the apps (combined with OneNote) have been downloaded a stunning 12 million times.
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It's time once again for Mac and iOS developers to play the lottery — or in this case, see if they'll be able to fork out a bundle for tickets to this year's Apple developer conference, which kicks off on June 2.
Apple's Siri voice assistant received a new challenge Wednesday as Microsoft debuted a similar long-rumored feature for Windows Phone 8.1 called Cortana. Powered by Bing search, Cortana (named after a virtual character from the Halo video games) appears to have a lot of Siri's personality, but will only be available to U.S. users as a beta when Windows Phone 8.1 launches in the next month or two. Sound familiar?
Blizzard Entertainment's digital collectible card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is starting to make its way to the iPad as of today, although it's currently only available in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. That could change, though, as the night goes on. Designed by the makers of popular games like World of Warcraft and Diablo III, Hearthstone presents a fun, free-to-play take on the genre probably best known for Magic: The Gathering and, in true Blizzard fashion, it makes it easily accessible for the most novice of players.
We've come a long way from the days when critics at Greenpeace used to accuse Apple of espousing environmentally unsound policies. Indeed, just two years ago, the environmental group slapped the Cupertino company with poor scores for its reliance of fossil fuels. With a new report released today, however, Greenpeace now calls Apple "the most innovative and most aggressive" company in Silicon Valley as regards supplying its energy-intensive datacenters with renewable energy.
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