Is Siri still steps behind Google’s virtual assistants? [Friday Night Fights]

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Which virtual assistant gets your vote?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has taken big strides to make Siri even greater in recent years, like bringing it to Apple TV and macOS, and opening it up to third-party developers. In that time, Apple’s virtual assistant has also gotten more accurate and more reliable.

Friday Night Fights bug But some might say third-party alternatives — particularly those from Google — are still a step ahead, with greater features and more flexibility. So, is Apple doing enough to make Siri just as stellar as Google Now and the new Google Assistant?

Join us in this week’s Friday Night Fight as we go head-to-head over virtual assistants.

Apple plans Siri-based Amazon Echo rival with facial recognition

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The Amazon Echo has been a surprising hit.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple plans to take on the Amazon Echo with a standalone Siri device, according to a new report.

The project is said to have begun two years ago, but has only now entered the prototype testing phase. Much like the Amazon Echo, this device would be able to look up information and control smart home appliances using voice recognition — but possibly include facial recognition tech, too.

Apple adds another AI startup to its machine learning team

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Tune in live Wednesday, September 7 for Apple's iPhone 7 keynote.
Apple just bought another AI startup.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple has bought another machine learning startup as part of its effort to boost its AI prowesses for features like intelligent search and Siri.

The company that was acquired this time is India/US-based Tuplejump. The startup’s old website has already been taken down, but it appears that it specialized in big-data technologies for businesses.

How to use macOS Sierra: Tips and tricks

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macOS Sierra is here!
macOS Sierra is here!
Photo: Apple

Today marks the release of Apple’s big software update, macOS Sierra. This huge update comes on the heels of the recent launch of iOS 10, watchOS 3 and tvOS 10.

macOS Sierra hosts some great new features including Siri support, a universal clipboard, auto unlock via Apple Watch, better file synching with iCloud and tons more. Fittingly, Cult of Mac has all the tricks and tips you need to get the most out of Apple’s new operating system including a few video tutorials for good measure. Mac owners can download the free update today!

What’s your favorite macOS Sierra feature?