Microphone technology is Siri’s next big hurdle

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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.

Keep Siri results where you can find them in macOS Sierra

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macOS Siri search pin
Siri just got more useful!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Siri’s arrival on macOS Sierra opens up some great new features and possibilities. One of our favorites? The ability to “pin” Siri results inside Notification Center — making it easier to keep track of whatever game times, trending topics or important documents Apple’s virtual assistant helps you to find.

Here’s how to use the feature when running Apple’s next-gen macOS, which is currently in public beta and will be released this fall.

Barbra Streisand calls Tim Cook to fix her biggest gripe with Siri

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Barbra Streisand
Singer Barbra Streisand and husband James Brolin.
Photo: Wikicommons

Getting iPhone bugs fixed is apparently super-easy if you’re a world-famous diva.

Barbra Streisand says she recently had a huge bone to pick with Apple over the way Siri pronounces her last name. So the singer did what only Barbra Streisand could do: She dialed Tim Cook’s personal phone number.

How to use Siri to search, drag and drop images on macOS Sierra

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siri
Siri on Mac makes finding images a whole lot quicker.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The Mac debut of Siri on macOS Sierra opens up a ton of intriguing new use-cases in terms of functionality. One of the most useful? The ability to use Apple’s virtual assistant to search for photos either on the web or your own computer — and then drag them into directly into apps.

Here’s how to use the feature when running Apple’s next-gen macOS, which is currently in public beta and will be released this fall.

With eyesight failing, CEO hurries to make voice-enabled tech mainstream

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Chris Maury leads the charge towards smarter voice-enabled technology.
Chris Maury leads the charge towards smarter voice-enabled technology.
Photo: Conversant Labs

Cult of Mac 2.0 bug When Chris Maury tried helping an elderly blind woman use voice commands on an iPad, she thanked him but said, “I just wish Siri could read me the news.”

Maury understood her frustration. He, too, was losing his vision and could foresee a struggle to remain productive using the visual interfaces common on all computing devices.