Items tagged with Siri

Apple got off to a rocky start with sales its HomePod smart speaker, which integrates the Siri digital voice assistant. We can't blame consumers for staying away from the HomePod initially, as Apple debuted the smart speaker at a lofty $349, when Amazon sells scores of Echo devices for under $100. Around this time last year, Apple finally responded to complaints by giving the HomePod a permanent price cut to $299. However, electronics retailer Best Buy is going one step further with a compelling discount on the HomePod. Best Buy is currently selling the HomePod for a "low" $199, which represents a $100 discount off its regular asking price, and matches its limited-time Black Friday... Read more...
Apple is a company that prides itself on protecting user privacy, and has gone so far as to call out the competition with huge billboards to drive that point home. However, Apple is not exactly without fault when it comes to protecting user privacy as we found out last month with a whistleblower brought attention to the fact that humans were listening in on the Siri recording of Apple users. Now, Apple has issued an apology over the fiasco that received global attention. "As a result of our review, we realize we haven’t been fully living up to our high ideals, and for that we apologize," wrote the company in a statement posted on its website today. "At Apple, we believe privacy... Read more...
The vast majority of Siri users had no idea that some of their recordings were being listened to by contractors in what Apple said was an attempt to make its digital assistant services better. The contractors were listening to various recordings that Siri made to see if the digital assistant answered the question appropriately. A better idea of the scope of the Apple program has now been unveiled, and it is much larger than many might have expected. Apple was working with a contracting company called Globaltech from Cork, Ireland. The company had over 300 contractors working on the Siri project for Apple, and each of the workers was expected to listen to more than 1,000 Siri recordings per shift.... Read more...
Voice assistants can be great for looking up the weather, playing music, and answering inquiries. However, consumers should use caution before asking their voice assistant to call a business or customer service line. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently reported that voice assistants are accidentally dialing scammer phone numbers. According to the BBB, several consumers have recently used voice search to dial the numbers of customer service lines, but were taken instead to scammers. For example, one consumer asked their voice assistant to dial an airline’s customer service phone number. The scammer attempted to convince the consumer to purchase $400 in prepaid gift cards. Why are consumers... Read more...
A report surfaced in late July from a whistleblower who worked for Apple that warned contractors can listen to some Siri recordings. The report raised concern among Apple users, and the company has now stated that it is suspending its global internal program for "grading" Siri commands. Apple had said that it employed contractors to listen to less than 1% of Siri commands to improve the assistant. Siri often mishears its wake command and records up to 30 seconds of private conversations without the Apple device user knowing it. The whistleblower said that recordings that the contractors were listening to included things like conversations between patients and doctors, criminal activity, and people... Read more...
Are Apple employees listening to your conversations? There is a chance that whatever you say is not just between you and Siri. An Apple whistleblower recently revealed that contractors listen to Siri recordings and frequently hear private information. According to an interview in The Guardian, Apple hires contractors to listen to and “grade” roughly 1% of daily Siri recordings. These contractors are tasked with deciding whether Siri responded appropriately to a question and whether or not Siri activations are accidental or deliberate. Unfortunately, these Apple contractors will often hear private information and recordings. Siri can accidentally be activated if it believes that... Read more...
One of the drawbacks to using Siri on iPad and iPhone devices is that the digital assistant dominates the display when invoking the AI feature. It does not work that way on Mac systems—Siri appears in a smaller window so that you can see everything else on the screen. Well, with the introduction of iPadOS, Apple could port the same functionality over to its iPad lineup, it was so inclined. Not only is having Siri appear in a smaller window more convenient, it is also more functional, as it allows users to drag and drop items. As of this moment, though, Siri only appears and functions that way in macOS. However, Apple's VP of software engineering, Craig Federighi, hinted that such a change... Read more...
Remember life before digital assistants? Even if you are not using one, it is a safe bet that you know someone who is, because they are all over the place. The market is flush with them—Alexa (Amazon), Siri (Apple), Cortana (Microsoft), Google Assistant (Google), and Bixby (Samsung), those being the main ones. There may be another on the horizon as well, from Facebook. These AI controlled assistants are in all kinds of devices these days, which mostly consists of smartphones and smart speakers. You can use them to fire up playlists, look up the news, get a weather forecast, fetch movie times, and even to order a pizza. Citing "several people familiar with the matter," CNBC reports that... Read more...
Loup Ventures has published the results of its Annual Smart Speaker IQ test where it took the four major Smart Speakers on the market that are packed with Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, and Cortana and put them through a round of tests. The test asked each of the four smart speakers 800 questions to see which of the devices was able to answer the most questions and then ranked the devices based on the percentage of understood queries, and the number of questions answered correctly. The results put Google Assistant at the top of the class. Google Assistant understood 100% of the aksed queries and was able to answer 87.9% of the questions correctly. Siri came in second place understanding 99.6%... Read more...
Whether you primarily use Siri or Google Assistant (assuming you use a digital assistant) likely comes down to which platform you're invested in—Android or iOS. It doesn't have to be one or the other, though. Google recently updated its Assistant app for iOS to support Siri Shorcuts, which allows users to call up Google's virtual assistant without having to fire up the app. Once the app is updated, the best way to take advantage of the feature is to record a familiar phrase like "OK Google" or "Hey Google." After you do that, you can tap into Google Assistant without having to open up the app. It's sort of an end-around solution, though. It's not quite the same as on Android handsets, in... Read more...
We are now just two weeks shy of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which means that new product and service announcements from the Cupertino company are right around the corner. So, what can we expect out of WWDC? Some users posed that question to Siri, and surprisingly the digital assistant obliged with some interesting answers teasing what might be in store. One of the things Siri revealed is that the digital assistant is getting a "brand new voice." It's not clear if that means a new voice option, as in a different accent, or more likely if Siri will simply sound different after WWDC. As useful as Siri can be, the software still sounds a little robotic. In contrast, the... Read more...
For many people, digital assistants have become a party of daily life—you might have Siri set a reminder for an upcoming appointment on your iPhone, or tell Alexa to order more laundry detergent from Amazon. These AI (artificial intelligence) assistants are becoming more capable by the day as well. But can they be used for nefarious purposes? Perhaps so, and it could happen right under your nose—over the past couple of years, researchers have demonstrated that Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, and Google's Assistant can each receive 'hidden' commands that are undetectable to the human ear. Some of the things that can be done without an owner's knowledge are seemingly pretty mundane, like... Read more...
Wouldn't it be awesome if one of the voice options for Siri was Samuel L. Jackson? That is not likely to happen, given the actor's penchant for swearing profusely (on the big screen, anyway). Be that as it may, you might be surprised that Siri is not afraid to drop an f-bomb on occasion, as one user discovered. In a video uploaded to YouTube, Siri can be heard reading a vulgar answer to a simple question. The video shows an iPhone owner asking Siri to "define the word mother." Siri's initial response is G-rated, as she reads off the first dictionary definition that says, "A woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth." Siri then asks if she should read the second definition,... Read more...
If you have ever used the AI personal assistants baked into smartphones, you know they aren't always that helpful. Research firm Stone Temple has issued an update for 2018 on its Digital Personal Assistants accuracy study. The study tested 4,952 queries on five different devices including Alexa on Amazon Echo, Cortana on the Invoke speaker, Google Assistant on Google Home, Google Assistant on an Android smartphone, and Siri. The test structure asked the 4,952 questions to each personal assistant. In testing, the team recorded if the assistant answered verbally, if the answer was from a database like Knowledge Graph, if the answer was from a third-party like Wikipedia, how often the... Read more...
When Apple pushed Siri as a standout feature of its iPhone 4S way back in 2011, there was skepticism over the need for a digital assistant. Fast forward to today and they are commonplace, with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung all heavily invested in AI assistants. To compete with those other technologies, and in particular Alexa, Apple has been on a hiring spree of sorts with a focus on Siri. Thinknum, a data analysis startup, combed through Apple's job listings and found that the number of open positions containing the term "Siri" has accelerated in recent weeks. Specifically, it found 161 Siri-related job openings posted on March 30th alone. That is notable as it marks a jump in hiring... Read more...
Siri was one of the first digital assistants to be released for smartphones, but it arguably hasn't kept pace with its rivals when it comes to adding new features and overall performance. And earlier this week, it was revealed that Siri has a penchant for reading notifications that are hidden on your lock screen when asked (even the request is being made by someone other than the rightful owner). In a statement released to the press, Apple said that it will fix the privacy lapse in a future iOS update. So, you may be asking, what's the big deal? With iOS 11, lock screen notifications are hidden by default on the iPhone X, and will only display if the user authenticates with Face ID (or Touch... Read more...
Apple launched its somewhat funky-looking AirPods (some people likened them to Q-tips dangling from your ears) back in late 2016, and they became widely available in 2017. Given that Apple didn't announce an update for the wireless earbuds during the iPhone X's introduction last year, it's about time for the rumor mill to churn with respect to the second-generation product. In this case, Mark Gurman is back with his take on what's cooking in Cupertino. According to his sources, the next generation model will be upgraded with hands-free Siri support. The current generation AirPods require you to physically tap one of the earbuds to summon Siri. However, you will now simply be able to say "Hey... Read more...
When it comes to standalone media streaming hardware, Roku is the market leader with it family of affordable devices. Roku has even managed to integrate its streaming goodness into smart TVs, including popular budget brand TCL. First initiated in 2014, the Roku TV initiative has grown to include eight television brands (the recent addition of Magnavox will make it nine), and Roku claims that one out of every five smart TVs sold in the United States is running the Roku OS. Now, Roku is looking to further extend its reach by expanding its technology licensing program to include smart speakers and soundbars, which will connect to Roku TVs and Roku settop boxes using Roku Connect. Roku Connect allows... Read more...
If you are bummed out that Apple has decided to delay the HomePod speaker until next year sometime, it least looks like Siri will still be getting a new home somewhere other than an iPhone. The iMac Pro is still set to launch in the next month or so; it's reportedly due before the end of the year. In addition, a new rumor has surfaced concerning the iMac Pro that claims Siri will get a home inside the high-end AIO desktop PC. The rumor stems from some digging that developers Jonathan Levin and Steve Troughton-Smith did in the available BridgeOS 2.0 software package. In their sleuthing they found evidence that the iMac Pro will get an A10 Fusion ARM co-processor chip. This will be the first... Read more...
If you were hoping to get a HomePod smart speaker to round out the Apple hardware ecosystem in your home in time for Christmas, you will have to wait a bit longer. Apple originally unveiled HomePod way back in June at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, and said that it would ship in December. However, Apple today confirmed that HomePod will miss the holiday shopping rush. “We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers," said Apple in a statement to TechCrunch. "We’ll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018.” Apple... Read more...
Perhaps Google should invest in a bumper sticker that reads, "My AI is an honor student," and then motor around Redmond and Cupertino where Microsoft and Apple are respectively headquartered. Compared to Bing and Siri, Google's artificial intelligent system is a cut above the competition, according to new research at Cornell University. Researchers Feng Liu, Yong Shi, and Ying Liu set out to test and rank the intelligence quotient (IQ) of various natural and artificial intelligent systems, including humans, Google, Bing, Baidu, and Siri. Based on the tests conducted, Google's AI has an IQ of 47.28. That ranks just below a six-year child with an IQ of 55.5, but is twice as high as Siri with an... Read more...
Apple may be at odds with Google when it comes to iOS versus Android, but it appears that the two can still find common ground on search. Google has been a long-time fixture in iOS and macOS as the default engine for Safari searches. However, Microsoft Bing has been the default provider for Siri queries, iOS Search and Spotlight on macOS. In a bid to provide a more consistent experience across all of its platforms and areas of search, Apple is kicking Bing to the curb, and has retained Google's services for nearly all areas of search (by default), with the sole exception being image searches via Siri. “Switching to Google as the web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS and Spotlight on... Read more...
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