iOS 11 wish list: Features we’d love to see

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iPhone 7
Here's what to expect from the next version of iOS
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

With WWDC 2017 right around the corner, it’s that time of the year when Apple can fix all the annoyances of iOS 10 and unveil something truly revolutionary for the next generation of iPhones and iPads.

Apple is expected to show off all the major features of iOS 11 at the WWDC in a couple of weeks. Surprisingly, the rumor mill has been quiet on what to expect, but that hasn’t stopped a flurry of speculation. We’ve got some ideas of our own too that we really want to see come to iOS 11.

This is what we want in Apple’s next big update:

Will Siri ever be as good as the Google Assistant? [Friday Night Fights]

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The gap is getting wider.
The gap is getting wider.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Google brought its Google Assistant to iOS this week, finally giving iPhone fans a taste of the best virtual assistant on the planet. But those on Android are in for so much more, with major improvements on the way, including impressive Google Lens integration.

Friday Night Fights bugThe changes make it harder than ever for Siri to catch up. Despite the improvements Apple made with iOS 10, it still feels like Siri is well behind its rivals. Is that gap now too big, or can Apple catch up? Will Siri ever be as good as the Google Assistant?

Join us in this week’s Friday Night Fight as we wage war over virtual assistants.

New MacBook Pros as WWDC? Don’t miss this week’s CultCast!

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Are you ready for Apple to make Macs
Are you ready for Apple to make Macs "pro" again?
Photo: Cult of Mac

This week, on The CultCast: new MacBook Pros at WWDC? Insiders say yes! We’ll tell you all we know. Plus: why future Macs might get much faster CPUs; Apple makes a big move to bring manufacturing back to the US; and we’ll wrap up with 5 weird and whacky facts about the new Apple Park campus.

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. It’s simple to accept Apple Pay and sell your wares with your very own Squarespace.com website. Enter offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off any hosting plan.

Number of Siri-style AI assistants will overtake humans by 2021

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unnamed
How Ovum thinks AI assistants will occupy the marketplace in 2021.
Photo: Ovum

The number of AI assistants by 2021 will outnumber the current world population, according to market research group Ovum’s new Digital Assistant and Voice AI–Capable Device Forecast.

The report highlights the growing popularity of Siri-style smart assistants, and also offers some intriguing predictions as to which AI assistants will become big, and which will be also-rans.

Apple’s standalone Siri could look a lot like Echo Show

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echotouchscreen
Amazon's new Echo Show voice assistant.
Photo: Amazon

Apple’s Amazon Echo rival standalone Siri speaker will come with a touch-sensitive display, claims KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

In a note to clients over the weekend, Kuo suggested that the Siri home speaker will have a “touch panel,” although it’s not known whether this will be a full-on screen or a simpler touch-based interface of some sort.

Apple wants to give you new ways to communicate with Siri

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It's not as easy as you might think.
You may soon be able to access Siri inside Messages.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple wants to give users new ways to interact with Siri, according to a patent application published today.

The patent describes how users may be able to engage in text-based conversations with Siri using an app like Messages. This wouldn’t just be accessible to single users, but could also be drawn on by multiple users in a group chat, perhaps similar to the way that Google’s Gboard keyboard allows users to search without having to load up an app like Safari.

Amazon Echo Show brings video to smart-speaker party

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echotouchscreen
Could this be Amazon's new Echo speaker?
Photo: AFTVnews

Update: Amazon unveiled its new touchscreen Echo Show device Tuesday. In addition to smart-speaker functionality, the Amazon Echo Show brings video calls, video flash briefings, YouTube, karaoke-style music lyrics, security camera integration and more. Available for preorder now, the device will ship June 28 for $229.99.

Amazon could debut its new touchscreen Echo smart speaker as early as today, claims a report from The Wall Street Journal.

The latest in a line of popular Amazon Echo voice-activated speakers, the new device is likely to add a 7-inch display and a built-in camera. It will function like the existing Echo, but with the addition of touchscreen-based features.

Apple’s new Siri speaker could be revealed at WWDC

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Apple answer to the Echo could arrive in June.
Apple answer to the Echo could arrive in June.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple could unveil its new smart speaker powered by Siri at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, according to new claims.

Earlier this week, we heard the company is currently in the process of finalizing the design of its first standalone Siri device, which is expected to take on the Amazon Echo. Now we have an idea what it might look like and when it could be revealed.