How to customize the Touch Bar on these Mac laptops:
The 2016 MacBook Pro adds a new way of using macOS with the addition of the Touch Bar, featuring dynamic touch controls, sliders and buttons, close to your fingers next to the row of static keys. Depending on the app, the Touch Bar changes context and shows relevant buttons for what you are doing.
You can also take this one step further and change what the Touch Bar offers yourself: Apple has made it pretty customizable. You can add new buttons for a particular app, take others away, as well as adjust the persistent Control Strip items on the right side of the Touch Bar. For example, you can remove the Siri button from the Touch Bar. Here’s how to do that and a lot more …
iOS 10.3 introduces new capabilities like Find My AirPods, but one change that went somewhat under the radar is a new feature aiming to improve Siri and artificial intelligence as a whole. As detailed by ZDNet, a new iCloud Analytics feature aims to collect data from users and use it do improve Siri and other smart features.
We’ve noted several times that Apple desperately needs to improve Siri, especially if a standalone Siri Speaker is in the pipeline. Would you opt-in to iCloud Analytics if you knew it would help Siri?
A little over a month later and one of the biggest challenges using AirPods has to be the primary means of control, Siri. Within Wi-Fi networks or strong cellular service, Siri usually works reliably, even if with some delay. Step into an elevator or subway, and that voice control interface is rendered useless. Without a good internet connection, Siri just doesn’t work and that means pulling out your phone or using your Apple Watch for controls. It’s a first world problem, sure, but that doesn’t mean we can’t push for a better solution. However, even if it’s temporary, there is an offline option to use for now…
Apple’s rumored Siri Speaker may be hitting the market this year and with it will likely come improvements to Siri itself. Apple, however, won’t be the first to release a standalone speaker with a built-in virtual assistant. Google has already released its solution, Google Home, while Amazon has its Alexa virtual assistant available in several forms, including the Echo and Echo Dot.
The Echo Dot and the Echo series as a whole has been a smash hit success for Amazon and it’s where Apple should take inspiration from for its Siri Speaker, but its success really hinges upon implements to Siri itself…
With every year comes a new version of iOS and this year will likely be no different. In 2017, we should expect iOS 11 to be previewed over the summer with subsequent developer and public betas and a release to the public in the fall. It’s also likely that we’ll see a less significant iOS release during the spring with iOS 10.3.
Keep reading for some ideas as to what Apple might have up its sleeve for iOS 10.3 and iOS 11…
Update: Apple shared two more ads, one for AirPods called “Notes” and another for Apple Watch focused on Activity. View them below.
Apple today has shared two new advertisements for its truly wireless AirPods. The new videos mark the first advertisements for the AirPods from Apple and come in at 15 seconds each, with the first highlighting the pairing process and the second highlighting Siri support.
There has been speculation that Apple may be planning to build its own home speaker device to compete with the Amazon Echo and Google Home, with some expressing the view that Apple is already late to the party.
But does Apple need to compete in this space, when it arguably already has its own version of Echo or Home? The one that’s either on your wrist or in your pocket …
The Mixtile Hub is the first smart home hub that can bridge existing smart accessories from other popular home automation protocols, like ZigBee and Z-Wave, and bring them into the HomeKit ecosystem. This means customers will be able to view various accessories in the Home app and control them with Siri voice commands, even if they weren’t designed for HomeKit originally.
The hub, announced at CES, appears to be the first of its kind consumer product although Focalcrest didn’t announce when the product would actually go on sale. The current workaround solution involves running a hacky network server whereas the Mixtile is MFi-licensed and should be as easy to setup as any other HomeKit product.
December 28, 2016
Researchers from several U.S. universities say that Siri has improved its responses to medical emergencies and personal crises since last year, but that more work is needed.
A Stanford study carried out a year ago found that intelligent assistants like Siri, Cortana and Samsung’s S Voice often failed to recognize when someone needed help, and would sometimes respond with flippant remarks or merely offer a web search when someone made a statement like ‘I am depressed.’ The lead author of that study, Stanford clinical psychologist Adam Miner, says that he has seen improvements since then …
December 23, 2016
A few days after having received my AirPods order, I’ve quickly come to realize how the lack of accessible audio playback controls can hinder the overall experience. In my previous reviews of true wireless earbuds, I’ve consistently brought up on-device controls as a positive or a negative. When you remove the wire and the controls so many of us have gotten used to, offering a new means of control is necessary.
With the AirPods, the main and only means of audio playback control is by double-tapping above the AirPods’ stem. Based on your settings this either activates Siri, allowing you to speak all of the basic playback commands, or controls play/pause for audio. Double-tapping and only being able to play/pause controls aren’t enough for daily usage, but relying on Siri, especially when internet connections are weaker, makes for a cumbersome experience at best. These issues highlight the need for Apple to introduce an offline mode for Siri.
December 19, 2016
I’ve been looking forward to using Apple’s wireless earbuds, AirPods, ever since they were teased at the iPhone 7 event. They gripped me as something that is quintessentially Apple; a streamlining of earbuds as far as they can go, headphones stripped to the bare essentials.
I just got my new Apple AirPods delivered this morning and I’m happy to say they seem to be living up to my expectations a few hours in. Here’s my first impressions ..
December 9, 2016
November 29, 2016
Apple’s HomeKit feature makes automating and remotely controlling your holiday lights super simple, and iOS 10’s new Home app makes setting it all up this year easier than ever before. With one or two affordable accessories and an iPhone or iPad, you can put HomeKit and Siri to work and forget about fiddly timers or unplugging and plugging lights back in for a month.
November 20, 2016
The Koogeek plug is a simple way to add smart HomeKit functionality to ‘any’ device you own with a plug (buy it for $34.99). The idea of a HomeKit plug outlet is by no means new — there are plenty available on the market — but the Koogeek stood out for its simplicity, form factor and WiFi connectivity (see below for full review of how to set it up and how well it works).
It also works flawlessly with the iOS 10 Home app which means the switch can be controlled via Siri or via the Control Center pane. There are some caveats to be aware of, but it’s a simple, straightforward and inexpensive HomeKit smart plug option …
November 17, 2016
An Apple patent published today describes how Siri could interject in iMessage chats to do things like help schedule meetings based on the location and availability of chat participants.
In one illustration, when one chat participant asks ‘How long ’til you guys get here?’ Siri interjects by checking everyone’s location and then answering the question. In another, a chat participant asks Siri when the group could get together for lunch, and it checks each of their diaries to offer slots when all are free …
November 10, 2016
With iOS 10, Apple added the ability for six categories of application to integrate with the iOS personal assistant, Siri. One of these groups was mobile payments. The PayPal app for iOS has now been updated with this integration, so you can use natural language voice queries to send and receive money.
Using your contact address book, queries like ‘Hey Siri send David $20 using PayPal’ will bring up a confirmation sheet in the Siri conversation with one button to confirm.
November 3, 2016
We learned two years ago that Apple was setting up an R&D center in Cambridge, England, to tap academic research expertise. Business Insider thinks it knows the focus of the work the team there is performing.
Those working inside are aiming to make Siri talk more naturally, according to a source that knows a number of Apple’s Cambridge employees […]
Apple’s Cambridge office is home to less than 30 people, including many of the employees from VocalIQ — a voice recognition startup that was spun out from the university and acquired by Apple in 2015.
VocalIQ is a tool specifically geared to allowing truly conversational queries …