Spotify job listings hint at hardware ambitions

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mighty-spotify-streaming-player
Could Spotify make a modern iPod?
Photo: Mighty Audio

Apple’s biggest competition in the music streaming business may be preparing to become a hardware rival, too.

Jobs listings posted by Spotify indicate the company is planning to make a hardware play. Spotify says it’s working on a “category defining product,” but based on what the company compares it to, Apple might not have much to worry about.

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Should Apple make a standalone Siri device? [Friday Night Fights]

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Would you buy a smart speaker powered by Siri?
Would you buy a smart speaker powered by Siri?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple might have popularized virtual assistants, but Siri has fallen behind in recent years as rivals like the Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and even Microsoft Cortana pull ahead with greater capabilities and unique features.

Friday Night Fights bugOne area in which Siri is lacking is in standalone devices like smart speakers, such as Google Home and Amazon Echo. Isn’t it about time Apple caught up with a smart speaker of its own powered by Siri?

Join us in this week’s Friday Night Fight as we throw punches over a Siri speaker.

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Apple plans to fight climate change despite Trump agenda

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One of Apple's many solar farms.
One of Apple's many solar farms.
Photo: Apple

While President Donald Trump gets busy gutting the Environmental Protection Agency, many of America’s largest companies plan to fight climate change without his help, including Apple.

During the reign of Tim Cook, Apple has made renewable energy and going green one of its top priorities. According to a new report, that won’t change now that there’s a new administration in the White House.

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Alexa brings awesome new powers to Amazon’s iPhone app

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It does almost everything you would expect Alexa to do.
It does almost everything you would expect Alexa to do.
Photo: Amazon

You can now ask Alexa to do your shopping, fetch information, and control your smart devices without a fancy Amazon speaker.

Starting today, the virtual assistant is being integrated into the Amazon shopping app for iPhone in the U.S., with support for thousands of skills. It can find products and track orders, play music and movies on Amazon Prime, and lots more.

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Twitch is invading your desktop

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You'll be able to get your hands on the beta later this month.
You'll be able to get your hands on the beta later this month.
Photo: Twitch

Game streaming platform Twitch today unveiled its new desktop app for Windows and Mac.

It will offer all the features you expect from the service, including voice and video calling, and you’ll be able to get your hands on the beta later this month.

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The lengthy process Apple uses to teach Siri new languages

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It's not as easy as you might think.
It's not as easy as you might think.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

If you’ve ever tried to learn a new language, you’ll know it’s a hard and incredibly time-consuming process. It’s not much easier for virtual assistants like Siri.

Here are the mind-blowing steps Apple goes through to teach Siri new languages and dialects that help it stay one step ahead of the competition.

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Amazon Alexa now offers medical advice from WebMD

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Connect the Amazon Echo Dot to your existing speaker system, and you bingo! -- your speakers just got smarts.
Dr. Alexa will see you now.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Amazon Alexa’s incredible skill-set continues to expand, with medical advice the latest addition to the list.

Thanks to a partnership between Amazon and WebMD, Alexa speakers can now answer basic health-related queries that could save you a trip to the doctor’s office.

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Amazon may soon launch an Alexa-powered security camera

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This could be Amazon's next big product.
This could be Amazon's next big product.
Photo: AFTVnews

Amazon’s next Alexa product won’t just be able to listen to you. It can watch your every move.

Leaked images of a new home security camera created by Amazon hit the internet today, giving us our first glimpse of what the company’s Dropcam competitor will look like.

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Apple backs transgender student in Supreme Court fight

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Supreme Court plaintiff and LGBT rights advocate Gavin Grimm.
Apple is backing Supreme Court plaintiff and LGBT rights advocate Gavin Grimm.
Photo: Geoff Livingston/Flickr CC

Apple and dozens of other top tech companies filed a Supreme Court brief today in support of a transgender boy’s fight for equality.

In the case, Gavin Grimm, a transgender student from Virginia, is suing the Gloucester County School Board for creating a bathroom policy he says discriminates against transgender students by separating them from their peers.

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