This week, Britain’s police force are going post-PC, Brazil’s first Apple Retail Store has a confirmed launch date, and Siri is gaining more “natural-sounding” voices for international users.
The famous headquarters of London’s Metropolitan Police announced a tablet investment program this week, and the move – which is costing some £200 million ($360 million) – will see the capital city’s police force adopt 600 iPad minis for “on the beat” note-taking, interviewing, and database access. It’s a smart move, and one that’s designed to keep more officers out on the streets for longer, as the Met explained:
We want the officers out there fighting crime on the streets rather than sitting in a police station tapping on a keyboard, not solving anything. Even if they are in Starbucks keying in details, then at least they are out there, visible and accessible and reassuring to the public.
It’s also anticipated that the paperless switchover could save the police service 30 percent in costs, since the iPad minis in question are designed to replace paper notebooks. Police constables in London’s Hammersmith and Fulham boroughs will be the first to adopt iPad minis, presumably housed in an ultra-durable case, and dedicated iOS apps are being developed for note-taking, interviewing, and other police-related tasks.
In total, 15,000 tablets will be purchased. If you’re based in London, keep a lookout: it could be an iPad mini is soon on the beat in a street near you!
Brazil’s retail store
We’ve talked about it before, but Apple has now confirmed that its first ever retail store in Brazil is set to open its doors on Feb. 15. Situated in Rio de Janeiro, the new Apple Retail Store is based in the high-end VillageMall shopping center, and as we explained previously, the venue is expected to do particularly well this year:
In 2014, the FIFA World Cup is being held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and as such a February-March launch for Rio’s Apple Retail Store would fit perfectly. Given that the city is set to receive a huge wave of visitors during the summer months of 2014, an Apple Retail Store in the region would obviously do well.
Apple made a similar move for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and the increased levels of footfall resulted in impressive sales for the new retail location.
Rio’s VillageMall Apple Retail Store has been under construction since 2012, and back then, Apple was said to have hired a number of employees for its upcoming store. We also heard that several U.S. retail employees could be asked to temporarily relocate to Brazil to work in the new venue, but as of this writing it’s not known whether such a move did end up being made.
The new retail store in Rio is set to open at 11 a.m. local time, on Feb. 15.
Siri gets improved
Finally, this week we learned that in iOS 7.1 beta, Apple has made a number of improvements to Siri for international users. Though Siri has already gone through a couple of changes in iOS 7.1 beta, the latest release has added more “natural-sounding” voices for British, Australian, and Japanese users.
There are recordings of the new Siri voices over at SoundClound, and as you can probably tell, the virtual assistant certainly sounds much improved.
Besides revamping Siri for international iOS device users, iOS 7.1 beta 5 also makes a number of more minor changes to Apple’s mobile OS. It fixes important jailbreak exploits, too, and as such jailbreakers are advised to avoid the incoming update – for now, at least.
Apple is expected to launch iOS 7.1 to the general public in March, following a delay purportedly caused by iOS in the Car – one major feature set to appear in the new version of the operating system. We’ll keep you updated with further information on iOS 7.1 as we receive it.
That’s all for this week’s edition of AppAdvice International. Check back with us next week at the same time (10 a.m. GMT) for another dose of Apple-related news from around the world.
In the meantime, see: Court Rules Against Apple’s Attempt To Block E-Books Antitrust Monitor, Animoto Video Maker 5.0 Brings Universal Support For iPad And New iOS 7 Design, and Gameloft Updates Ice Age Village With Heartwarming Content For Valentine’s Day.