IBM and Apple combine their AI powers to make apps smarter

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IBM
Apple and IBM are working together to make artificial intelligence apps more impressive.
Photo: Apple

Apple has been ramping up its interest in artificial intelligence for the past few years — and its continuing business-focused partnership with IBM is going to help.

Late Monday, one-time rivals Apple and IBM announced that business apps running on Apple devices will soon be able to take advantage of the ability to combine IBM Watson technology with Apple Core ML to create more intelligent apps.

6 things Apple should do to fix Siri

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Siri display
"I don't have these features. Would you like me to search the web for you?"
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Siri kind of sucks, despite its increasingly prominent role in the Apple ecosystem.

With the general verdict on the HomePod being “great speaker, shame about Siri,” what does Apple need to do in order to catch up with its rivals? Here are six Siri improvements we’d love to see Apple implement as soon as possible.

HomePod may sound great, but Siri still sucks

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HomePod Close Up
HomePod sounds great, but right now it doesn't have some of the AI tricks of its rivals.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has been pretty outspoken about marketing HomePod as a high-end speaker that just happens to have Siri, as opposed to a smart speaker built around its AI assistant, like the Google Home or Amazon Alexa.

A new study published by Loup Ventures suggests one reason why: Because Siri is seriously lagging behind its rivals in terms of its functionality and ability to answer questions.

Apple’s self-driving car fleet gets way bigger

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Apple car
Apple's Lexus has been upgraded with lots of new sensors.
Photo: Idiggapple/Twitter

Apple is revving up its efforts to catch its competitors in the self-driving car market.

The company has aggressively expanded its fleet of vehicles used to test its autonomous driving systems, according to a new filing that shows the company added nine times as many cars over the last year.

Every Apple Car on the road will make the others smarter

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Apple car
Apple's Lexus has been upgraded with lots of new sensors.
Photo: Idiggapple/Twitter

Apple is investigating new ways to make self-driving care systems drive more like humans, based on a recent patent filing from the iPhone-maker.

The USPTO finally published Apple’s first patent application related to autonomous vehicle systems today, giving some insight into the strategies Apple might use to make its mark in the emerging self-driving car market.

Foxconn could soon use AI to help identify faulty iPhone parts

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Foxconn
New technology was designed by former Google AI expert.
Photo: Foxconn

Apple manufacturer Foxconn is planning to adopt artificial intelligence image recognition systems for quality control in its factories, a new report claims.

The tech could help identify faulty circuit boards or other components, thereby improving Foxconn’s efficiency when it comes to assembling devices. The AI system was developed by Andrew Ng, a machine learning expert who has previously headed up major projects for both Google and Baidu.

You can now search eBay using images

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gretsch guitar ebay
Find that sweet vintage guitar on eBay just by snapping a photo.
Photo: Freebird/Flickr CC

It just got a whole lot easier to find odd items on eBay. Now, instead of typing in your search criteria, you can just snap a photo of an object, and eBay will search across the site and return any results that look like your photo.

This is great for those times that you have no idea how to describe something, but you totally have to buy it. Or when you see something in an image and don’t know how search for it on Amazon. Or when you see a super-cool vintage blouse/jacket/bag and want to find something similar.

Apple reveals AI magic behind ‘Hey Siri’

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Siri do not disturb
Apple puts a lot of AI tech into Siri.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s machine learning team published an all-new research paper today that dives deep into how Apple uses AI to power one of the most basic Siri commands.

In order to keep the ‘Hey Siri’ command from running on the main processor all day, Apple’s new publication reveals that the company uses a tiny, low-power auxiliary processor that’s embedded in the Motion Coprocessor just to listen to the phrase.

AI powers this bike light to make cycling safer

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See.Sense Ace bike light
Ace is the ultimate bike light.
Photo: See.Sense

When you’re out on your bike, you need to be as visible as possible — especially at night. See.Sense ACE is a bike light that uses artificial intelligence that reacts to every moment of your journey, making cycling safer and simpler.

The light improves visibility when you need it most, and ensures you’re seen on the road. It also connects to your smartphone to provide things like theft alerts and cycling stats.