Apple’s Russian virtual assistant had some Siri-ously outdated views. Photo: Jackee Chang/Twitter
Apple’s Russian version of Siri launched earlier this month, and while the presence of the virtual assistant in Russia is certainly welcome, its early bigoted views were not.
According to one YouTube user, Siri not only refused to answer questions about gay bars but went a step further, providing downright homophobic responses. In the video, Siri supposedly claims to be embarrassed by the topic, suggesting that gay marriage is a bit of a downer.
Apple’s Aral Sea on left, NASA latest image on right. Photo: Cult of Mac
You may have never heard of the Aral Sea, even though it was the fourth largest lake in the world as recently as the 1960’s.
The once-gigantic body of water which rests on the border of Uzbekistan has shrunk to less than 10% of its former size over the last half century. It’s been dubbed one of the worst environmental disasters ever, but looking at Apple Maps you’d never even know the Russians drained the mighty lake dry, destroyed its robust fishing industry, and left behind a wasteland of salt, pollution, and toxic dust storms.
You now have to pay more to become an App Store developer. Photo: Apple
Apple has today increased the annual subscription cost of its Mac and iOS Developer Programs in several countries across Europe. While the prices remain the same at $99 in the U.S., Europeans can now expect to pay anything from $96 to $121, depending on where they live.
Russia’s latest woe: iPhones now cost more than ever. Photo: Apple
Apple has re-opened its online store in Russia after temporarily closing it last week following “extreme” fluctuations in the valuation of the country’s currency, the ruble.
But while that’s good news for people wanting to order Apple goods over the holidays, it’s not likely to go over well with the majority of customers — since prices have dramatically increased.
The cost of an iPhone 6, for instance, has risen 35 percent: with a 16GB iPhone 6 selling for 34,990 rubles before the shutdown, and 53,990 rubles now. That means a base level iPhone costs $980 in Russia.
Steve Jobs statue in Russia at its public unveiling Photo: RIA Novosti
The abandoned Steve Jobs monument previously erected in St. Petersburg, Russia is to be auctioned off, according to a new report.
The 6-foot-tall iPhone-looking slab was designed by local Russian sculptor Gleb Tarasov and named “Sunny QR Code.” It was assembled in the wake of Steve Jobs’ 2011 death, but removed earlier this year — reportedly as a result of Russia’s anti-gay laws after Tim Cook outed himself in an open letter.
The statue is being sold off by owners the Russian Holdings Company, with a starting price of 5 million rubles (around $95,000). Money from the sale will go to Russian tech developers.
Where? In Russia, where Vitaly Milonov, the politican behind Russia’s anti-gay laws and the politican who threatened to arrest gay athletes at the Sochi olympics, argued that Tim Cook should be banned from Russia because he could be a carrier of AIDs or Ebola.
As the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War continues to unfold, Russian officials have proposed that Apple hand the government access to its entire source code, just to make sure there aren’t any spying bugs in it.