Apple has published a fascinating new entry in its Machine Learning Journal this month that explains how the voice-activated ‘Hey Siri’ detector works in detail. While many of these entries tend to be too in depth for the average reader (i.e. me), October’s entry from the Siri team includes several interesting (and understandable!) tidbits about what happens behind-the-scenes when you use ‘Hey Siri’ on your iPhone and Apple Watch.
The smart assistant competition between Apple, Amazon, and Google is growing every day. Until now, Siri has been focused on end-users, but a new acquihire by Apple is pointing to Siri moving in a different direction.
The best 4K & 5K displays for Mac
Sonos officially announced plans to work with Apple’s new AirPlay 2 wireless music playback feature with Sonos wireless speakers. Apple unveiled AirPlay 2 back at WWDC in June as an iOS 11 feature that will work with the HomePod, new Beats speakers, and third-party products.
watchOS 4 introduces a new Siri watch face on Apple Watch that intelligently updates to show you relevant content throughout the day. The Siri watch face pulls data from 14 different sources by default, but customizing these sources can help remove information from the timeline that you don’t need and make the watch face more useful.
It looks like Siri and Google are friends again and Bing is in the rear view mirror. In a major shift, Apple is changing its search results provider for Siri and Spotlight on iOS and macOS from Microsoft’s Bing to the vastly more popular Google.
The change has started to roll out today and should be in effect for all users by the end of the day. For users, this means Siri and Spotlight will now provide the same search results as Safari by default (and in a lot of cases show better search results).
Bring on the 4K HDR movie binge watching. The new Apple TV 4K is out today and we’ve got our hands on Apple’s new streaming box.
The reviews call it the best TV box on the market, but note its premium price means it’s not for everyone. Apple still offers the two-year old 1080p version for its same $149 price, and $30 more gets you a faster processor with 4K HDR support.
When the first generation Apple Watch debuted in 2015, people often called it the Dick Tracy watch because you could make phone calls from your wrist like the comic book strip detective known for his 2-way wrist radio. Apple Watch wasn’t fully there yet, however, because it needed a nearby iPhone to actually carry those phone calls. Answering the phone on your watch could be convenient, but it was mostly just a neat demo since you had to carry the iPhone anyway.
Fast forward to today and Apple Watch Series 3 finally lets you make phone calls without carrying your iPhone thanks to optional LTE, but calling is only a part of what cellular enables for the watch. Apple Watch Series 3 can be your dedicated tour guide on your wrist with Maps, your connection to friends and family with Messages, and your always-present personal assistant with Siri — and now even when you’re away from your iPhone.
After using Apple Watch Series 3 for several days, it’s clear to me that LTE largely fulfills the promises made by the original Apple Watch. If the idea of getting away from your iPhone without being totally disconnected gives you peace of mind, Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular is for you. Even without LTE, Apple Watch Series 3 delivers performance improvements and new features that can change how Apple Watch is used.
Things by Cultured Code has long been my go-to task management app of choice, and today the app suite is getting a big update thanks to iOS 11 and watchOS 4. Things 3.2 works with Siri for the first time (no more Reminders workaround!) and there’s powerful drag and drop support on the iPad.
An Apple job ad notes that some people treat Siri as a therapist or counsellor, and it wants to help the intelligent assistant do a better job of helping people.
People have serious conversations with Siri. People talk to Siri about all kinds of things, including when they’re having a stressful day or have something serious on their mind. They turn to Siri in emergencies or when they want guidance on living a healthier life. Does improving Siri in these areas pique your interest? Come work as part of the Siri Domains team and make a difference.
If you’re thinking of applying, you’ll need an unusual combination of skills …
Siri Remote for Apple TV updated with new Menu button and price
[UPDATE: The new Menu button appears to just be the white ring and not a flat button. Hard to tell from the photos, but Apple describes it that way online. It also captures motion data for attitude and rotation rate.]
Apple announced the new Apple TV 4K at its big event today, and the Siri Remote has received an update as well. The first change is a new Menu button that appears to be a part of the touch surface. This could improve the user experience by providing a bit of asymmetry, but it’s a subtle change so we’ll have to wait and see.
Following 9to5Mac‘s iPhone X feature discoveries from the iOS 11 GM leak we received over the weekend, new tvOS 11 firmware appears to be out in the wild today with details about the new Apple TV. The new Apple TV has widely been expected to include 4K HDR video playback, and the firmware leak both corroborates that and explains how the new video quality will be handled.
HomeKit-compatible accessories have been slowly increasing since Apple debuted the platform. One of the glaring issues that remain to this day is that finding these accessories can be cumbersome. Although Apple has its own official list, it’s not without delays in showing updates. In comes HomeKitty: a crowdsourced list of HomeKit-compatible accessories.
A new analyst note today from Barclays covers Apple’s efforts and potential in the connected home market. While the firm expects Apple will be a major connected home player, it believes Apple will struggle to create more revenue from this part of its business.
[Update: A discovery by iHelp BR earlier this month also suggests that the sleep/wake button may have custom functions in native iOS apps. The line of code found was “lockButtonAppropriateForShutter”. With the larger sleep/wake button we’ve seen in many iPhone 8/Edition renders, it’s possible we could see two buttons housed within the new sleep/wake button.]
The latest discovery by developer Guilherme Rambo indicates the iPhone 8/Edition could use the sleep/wake button to invoke Siri in place of the Home button.
It’s the first of September and Apple’s new China and People VPs have started their new roles at the company. Both Deirdre O’Brien and Isabel Ge Mahe have joined Apple’s Leadership page for their respective roles as Vice President of People and Vice President and Managing Director of Greater China. Siri has also moved from Eddy Cue to Craig Federighi who oversees iOS and macOS.
Apple is among a handful of companies who have just been honored with Emmy awards. Yes, you read that right. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced the awards in a press release today, highlighting the “Sciences” aspect of its name. TechCrunch was first to note the inclusion of companies like Apple, DJI, Microsoft, and others.
Apple’s AI expert, Tom Gruber, delivered a TED talk back in April extolling the benefits that AI may provide for us in the years to come. The video of the onstage presentation has now been released and gives us a better glimpse into the future Gruber imagines. His presentation focuses on what he calls “humanistic AI”, the belief that when machines get smarter, so will we.
If you have a Barclays bank account, you can now make payments simply by instructing Siri to do it.
The feature, added to the latest version of the company’s iOS app, uses the Siri integration for payment apps Apple introduced with iOS 10. PayPal took advantage of this last November, but banks have been slow to do so …
This week Benjamin and Zac discuss the new Siri ad starring The Rock, how Siri has changed since its debut and where it could improve, how iOS 11 betas are improving through feedback including Notification Center fixes, the death of the iPod shuffle and nano, and much more. 9to5Mac’s Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.