Microphone technology is Siri’s next big hurdle


Siri popularized digital assistants, but it's quickly falling behind.
Siri needs better microphones.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple, Amazon and Google are all in a battle to create the next great breakthrough with microphones in order to make their digital assistants more powerful.

While machine learning and artificial intelligence are getting all the hype lately, few industry analysts say microphone technology will play just as key a role in taking Siri and Alexa to a new level.

Apple wants an astronaut emoji (among other things)


Get ready for even more emoji.
Get ready for even more emoji.
Photo: Apple

Astronauts and pilots are set to get their own emoji characters if Apple has its way.

The iPhone-maker recently submitted a request to the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee to add five more professions (artist, astronaut, firefighter, judge, and pilot) to the Emoji 4.0 update that is set to bring support for gendered emoji, a rainbow flag, and more.

Take a look at Apple’s proposed designs:

Apple Music is ruining Spotify’s negotiations with record labels


Spotify is struggling to lockdown deals with record labels.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Negotiations between music streaming service Spotify and all three major record labels have hit a snag lately and Apple Music is a big reason why.

Spotify’s licensing agreements with Sony, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group have reportedly been on a rolling month-by-month basis for much of 2016, yet the companies haven’t been able to hammer out long-term deals yet because Spotify isn’t willing to share as much revenue as Apple Music.

Apple joins government task force to kill robocalls


Apple put a giant logo on the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for WWDC 2016
Apple is teaming up with top tech companies to end the scourge of robocalls.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

The scourge of robocalls may be coming to an end, thanks to a new task force comprised of over 30 top tech companies, including Apple.

The U.S. government has enlisted the help of Apple, AT&T, Alphabet, Verizon, Comcast and others to crack down on unsolicited, automated, prerecorded phone calls that have become the most frequent complaint the U.S. Federal Communications Commission receives from citizens.