Did ‘bug’ cause Russian Siri to be homophobic?

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Photo: Jackee Chang / Twitter
Apple's Russian virtual assistant had some Siri-ously outdated views.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 Maps error covers up sad truth about disappearing Aral Sea

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Apple's Aral Sea on left, NASA latest image on right. Photo: Cult of Mac
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.

Apple increases Dev Program membership prices in Europe

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You now have to pay more to become an App Store developer. Photo: Apple
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.

Apple Putin up prices in its Russian online store

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Photo: Apple
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.

Apple halts Russian sales due to ruble’s ‘extreme’ fluctuations

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The iPhone 6s is selling like hotcakes.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple fans in Russia can no longer buy new iPhones or Macs, reports Bloomberg. The company has stopped all sales in the country due to ‘extreme’ Ruble fluctuations.

All Apple products were pulled temporarily from the online store in Russia this morning, and Apple’s not saying when they’ll be coming back.

Russia is selling its banned Steve Jobs tribute statue

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Steve Jobs statue in Russia at its public unveiling Photo: RIA Novosti
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.

Steve Jobs monument removed by homophobic Russians

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Steve Jobs statue in Russia at its public unveiling Photo: RIA Novosti
The Steve Jobs monument at its public unveiling. Photo: RIA Novosti

A monument to Steve Jobs has been removed from St. Petersburg in the aftermath of Tim Cook publicly coming out as gay.

While Cook’s eloquent and poignant essay was largely greeted by celebrations online, in Russia it prompted bigoted comments from politician Vitaly Milonov, whose government has now insisted the Jobs statue be removed as further punishment.

Homophobic politician wants to ban Tim Cook from Russia for life

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Photo: Apple.
Photo: Apple.

It was only a matter of time. Just a few hours after Tim Cook bravely and historically made his sexuality open, the gay-bashing has already begun.

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.

Collect bottles as a homeless person in Russia’s hottest RPG

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Photo: Roman Okulevich/Ok Apps
Hot iOS game Homeless: Life Simulator hops on a weird Russian trend. Photo: Roman Okulevich/Ok Apps

One of the hottest iPhone games in Russia right now isn’t Angry Birds or Candy Crush, but an app that lets you collect bottles as a homeless person.

Homeless: Life Simulator, which just launched in the United States, recently hit the No. 1 spot in the Russian App Store’s role-playing games category.

“Begin your life as an unknown homeless to become a president of your country!” says the marketing copy on the App Store.

The app itself looks really basic — screen-spanning buttons, a couple of casino mini-games and that’s about it. Apparently, being homeless is fun in Russia, because you can gamble your way to success!

The weirdest thing? It’s not the only “homeless” simulator going.