Recently departed (but still friend of the site!) Mark Gurman went on the Jay and Farhad Show podcast this evening and gave his predictions for WWDC 2016 and beyond. Most of the conversation material was either posted previously on 9to5Mac or elsewhere but there were certainly some new “whispers”… expand full story
This week Benjamin and Zac discuss Apple Watch fitness, the latest Siri Speaker rumors, iPhone 7 and Thunderbolt Display 2, 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.
When Siri originally launched on the iPhone a little over four years ago, we postulated that it would be a world-changing event. A personal assistant in our pockets that could handle real-world requests felt like the future. When it launched onto the Apple Watch, it was described as potentially being the quickest and most fun way to interact with the wearable. Then when it came to the Apple TV, it became the fastest way to disseminate the content you want to watch across multiple apps.
The top Apple stories this week include reports of new MacBook models on the way, the latest rumored specs and features for iPhone 7, our roundup of features in the cards for iOS 10, and reports that Apple is developing dedicated hardware and a new SDK for Siri. As usual, below we’ve collected all of the handy links to these and our other top stories this week.
Amazon was first with its Echo Wi-Fi speaker — a dedicated, standalone hub for its Alexa virtual assistant software — and now word has it Apple is working on a similar product for Siri. The several reports this week detailing Apple’s plans followed Google’s unveiling of its competitive Home hardware and Assistant platform at its Google I/O developer conference earlier this month. But what exactly will Apple’s competitor look like? And how will its reported plans for a Siri SDK play into its approach?
Earlier this week it was reported that Apple may announce a Siri SDK and Amazon Echo-like Siri speaker at WWDC next month. The software development kit would allow developers to integrate apps with the voice assistant, and a Siri speaker would compete with Amazon’s Alexa and the upcoming Google Home. Adding to the rumors, a new report suggests this product may not be available until sometime next year, but could feature cameras with facial recognition features that stand out from Amazon’s and Google’s products.
Last year, I wrote a Feature Request asking that Apple give third-party apps access to Siri, and generally work at beefing-up both the intelligence and the capabilities of its intelligent assistant. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an opinion piece pointing to the fact that Viv is exactly what Siri should have been by now.
This week, a report suggests that I may finally be getting my wish. Apple is said to be not only planning to offer a Siri SDK to all developers, but also building an Amazon Echo/Google Home type box that will embed Siri more deeply in the home through integration with HomeKit. We will, says the report, find out more at WWDC.
If true, the implications could be profound – perhaps even meaning that we’ve hit ‘peak app’ …
This week Benjamin and Zac talk about the rumored ultra-thin MacBook Pro with Touch ID and an OLED screen above the keyboard, the latest iPhone 7 leaks including a possible four speaker design, the most interesting news from Google I/O, and the rumored Siri SDK and speaker. 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.
Last week Google officially took the wraps off of its Amazon Echo competitor Google Home, while earlier this month the original Siri creators unveiled their latest personal assistant Viv. Now, The Information reports that Apple is working on an Amazon Echo-like device.
Google kicked off its Google I/O developer conference today with the usual keynote address where executives showed off a number of upcoming hardware, software and developer tool products. It started off with its new voice controlled Siri competitor— Google Assistant— which also ties into its upcoming Amazon Echo-like device for the home called Google Home.
9to5Mac first reported back in February that Apple is planning to finally bring Siri to the Mac starting with OS X 10.12 later this year. Apple’s voice assistant started on the iPhone in 2011 and has since made its way to the iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV, so bringing it to the Mac is expected to be a tent pole feature in the next major software update. With the next big update to the Mac operating system set to be introduced in a few weeks at WWDC, new images have surfaced purportedly showing how Siri’s iconography will appear on the Mac.
As long-time readers will know, I’ve long been a fan of Siri. As I’ve often noted, it’s my primary means of interacting with my iPhone (part of the reason I don’t need a larger screen). I dictate most of my messages, and if it’s possible to ask Siri to do something for me rather than doing it myself, I do.
But Siri does have one major failing: it has no access to third-party apps. There are countless apps where I’d love to be able to get Siri to do the heavy lifting, as I wrote last year in a Feature Request:
What I can’t yet do is ask the time of my next train home, despite having an app on my phone that can answer that question. I can’t ask it to show me today’s Timehop, nor can I ask it to post that to Facebook. I can’t ask it to post something to a Hipchat or Slack chatroom. I can’t ask it to call an Uber car. I can’t ask it to translate ‘Where is the nearest pharmacy’ into Mandarin. I could name many other examples, but you get the idea.
If Apple offered an API to allow third-party developers to take advantage of Siri, I’m confident that many would do so. And I’m certainly not alone in wanting that – in our poll, 95% of you agreed with me.
But it turns out that Siri’s original developers wanted to take things a step further …
Last week, the creators of Siri teased their next virtual assistant service named Viv. At the time, the creators said that Viv does more than Siri or any other virtual assistant currently available. As expected, Siri co-founder Dag Kittlaus today took the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York City to officially show off Viv to the public for the first time, touting that it will “the intelligent interface for everything.”
Apple has once again recruited actor Neil Patrick Harris alongside Siri to star in its latest iPhone 6s ad. The new commercial features NPH using the ‘Hey Siri’ voice command to read a legendary thank you speech from the Notes app … all completely hands-free.
I addressed one big issue with Apple Music last week – and was very surprised to see from the poll results just how widespread the issue was. But while discussing that issue, we happened across a Reddit thread that I thought contained a really great idea: give the iOS app Smart Playlist functionality via Siri.
I may complain a lot about the bloated nature of iTunes, a single app that tries to do way too many different things, but I do really like it as a pure music player. One of the features I love is Smart Playlists, which you can use to do all kinds of funky things.
For example, maybe you have some music you really love but haven’t listened to for a while? Create a Smart Playlist where Rating is 5 and Last Played is not in the last year. Been listening to the same stuff too much lately? Create a playlist where Last Played is not in the past month. Feeling nostalgic? A playlist where Year is a particular year …
The original minds behind the iOS virtual assistant Siri have a new project in the works. A new report from The Washington Post details that Siri’s creators are working on an artificial intelligence technology called “Viv” that does more than Siri or any other virtual assistant currently available.
Like a lot of new technologies from Apple these days, HomeKit isn’t perfect but the parts that work well are really useful. Apple’s home automation framework connects smart accessories from various companies all under the control of Siri and HomeKit apps like Home or Hesperus. But HomeKit is relatively young still and there’s plenty of low hanging fruit in terms of ways the framework could improve with iOS 10 and beyond. Here are a few ideas I hope we see with HomeKit this year: