Apple’s latest acquisition could give Siri a crucial boost

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Apple
The company that made Barbie a conversationalist has been bought by Apple.
Photo: ToyTalk

Apple’s latest acquisition could give Siri a better chance at competing against Amazon’s popular voice-power assistant, Alexa.

Pullstring, a San Francisco-based startup that specializes in helping developers design, prototype and deploy voice apps has reportedly been purchased by Apple. The company’s platform helps create voice apps for Alexa and Google Assistant, and will likely help Apple make more tools for Siri.

Depth Control starts feud in funny new Apple ad

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D5CF3129-981A-4C9B-B1D5-FE1123C0DAE1
“Did you just bokeh my child?!”
Photo: Apple

Depth Control is one of the best features on the new iPhones, but Apple shows that you might want to be careful about who you choose to use it on.

Apple just drop a hilarious new ad highlighting the new the feature that lets you adjust the amount of blur in a Portrait Mode photo. The funny 30-second ad shows two moms who start beefing with each other when one of them notices their child has been bokeh’d.

Get ready to giggle:

Ranking every iPhone by 4G data speeds

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iPhone XS
Gigabit LTE on the iPhone XS is screamin fast.
Photo: Apple

Holding onto your old iPhone could be causing you to lose out on some serious 4G LTE speed gains made by carriers over the last few years.

A new study on the average iPhone 4G download and upload speeds in the United States found that iPhone 6 owners and earlier see seeds that are nearly 10Mbps slower than the latest iPhone models.

iPhone photographer turns lengthy commutes into works of art

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Dina Alfasi
Israeli photographer Dina Alfasi finds beauty in her work commute.
Photo: Dina Alfasi

Dina Alfasi is like most commuters. As soon as she finds a seat on the train or bus, she pulls out her iPhone.

Alfasi may look like she is catching up with emails, streaming music or reading the news. Instead, Alfasi is making a discreet photograph of the person across from her.

Apple details efforts to squash minerals that pay for wars

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Wolframite is made into Tungsten which is used in iPhones and other Apple devices.
Wolframite is made into Tungsten which is used in iPhones and other Apple devices.
Photo: Wikipedia

Apple had third parties audit all its mineral suppliers to be sure none are using their profits to support armed conflicts. Last year, there were five companies who refused the audits and all were dropped from Apple’s list of suppliers.

The iPhone maker regularly tests to be sure the materials that make its computers and accessories are sourced responsibly.

An insurance giant is now ‘right to repair’ movement’s big weapon

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right to repair
iCracked repairs broken iPhone screens by sending technicians to the customer.
Photo: iCracked

Insurance giant Allstate has purchased third-party smartphone repair company iCracked, giving the Right to Repair movement much-needed lobbying muscle.

Already, the insurance company has assigned a lobbyist to proposed legislation underway in New Hampshire, one of 15 states considering Right to Repair bills opposed by tech companies, including Apple.

Apple sued over fatal fire allegedly caused by defective iPad

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iPad Pro 2018 one week review
A fire allegedly starting by an iPad caused the death of Bradley Ireland.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple is being sued by a person whose husband died from injuries caused by a fire, allegedly started by a defective iPad.

The fire took place back in February 2017. It was reportedly, “caused by a defect in the subject tablet, specifically affecting the subject tablet’s battery pack.”

Apple shares stumble as Warren Buffett’s firm trims holdings

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Buffett
Warren Buffett has been a massive Apple cheerleader.
Photo: CNBC

In good times, the “Warren Buffett effect” has caused Apple shares to soar — by showing everyone that the world’s most famous investor believes in Apple. However, the opposite is also true: An apparent second thought on the part of Buffett’s firm Berkshire Hathaway can cause shares to fall.

That’s what happened this week, when Berkshire Hathaway was revealed to have slightly reduced its Apple holdings. Responding to the news, Apple shares fell 0.5 percent in pre-market trading.

An Apple March event is all but confirmed! Catch our expectations, on The CultCast

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CultCast MacBook Pro
Just what does Apple have up their sleeve for their rumored March event?

This week on The CultCast: It’s all but confirmed — Apple’s holding a March media event to make some special announcements. We’ll tell you what we know. Plus: Apple’s all-time best-selling products may surprise you. And is it worth buying a 2018 MacBook Pro, or should you wait? We’ll tell you what we think.

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. Easily create a beautiful website all by yourself, at Squarespace.com/cultcast. Use offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain..

Today in Apple history: Young Steve Jobs appears on Time cover

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With Steve Jobs first Time magazine cover, he becomes the face of the 1980s tech boom.
Steve Jobs becomes the face of the 1980s tech boom.
Photo illustration: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

February 15: Today in Apple history: Young Steve Jobs appears on Time magazine cover February 15, 1982: Steve Jobs appears on the front cover of Time magazine for the first time, becoming the public face of successful tech entrepreneurship.

The first of many Time covers for Jobs, the article — titled “Striking It Rich: America’s Risk Takers” — casts him as the prototypical young upstart benefiting from the burgeoning personal computing revolution. It also identifies him as part of a surge of freshly minted millionaires running their own businesses.