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.

Amazon buys mesh Wi-Fi router maker Eero

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eero
Eero monitors things like network throughput and interference, adjusting itself automatically.
Photo: Leander Kahney / Cult of Mac

Right when Apple has decided to get out of the router business, one of its biggest competitors is ready to jump in.

Amazon revealed today that it reached an agreement to acquire mesh Wi-Fi router maker Eero, giving the online retailer another powerful tool in its effort to dominate the smart home market.

Google Home tops Siri and HomePod in smart speaker test

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HomePod market share
Will you upgrade to a family plan?
Photo: Apple

Apple may have been late to the smart speaker game but its HomePod is showing signs it could one day outperform them all.

But only if Apple gives Siri the power.

In Loup Ventures annual smart speaker comparisons, Google Assistant understood all 800 questions and answered nearly 88 percent of them correctly. In its first Loup Ventures test, the HomePod with Siri at the helm misunderstood just three questions and managed to answer correctly nearly 75 percent of its queries.

Apple Music will come to third-party Alexa speakers

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Ask Alexa to manage your appointments for you.
Look out for Apple Music on other Alexa speakers soon.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple Music will make its way to third-party Alexa speakers eventually, Amazon has confirmed.

The streaming service finally joined Alexa earlier this week — you may have gotten an announcement notification on your iPhone — but it’s currently available only on Amazon’s own Echo devices.

How to play Apple Music on your Amazon Echo

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Amazon Alexa
The Echo finally plays nice with Apple Music.
Photo: Amazon

Amazon’s Alexa speakers can finally connect to your Apple Music account.

Support for Apple Music on the Amazon Echo was rolled out today, giving iPhone and iPad owners the option to pump out their favorite jams without signing up for an Apple Music competitor like Spotify Premium.

Getting the new Apple Music integration up and running is ridiculously easy, but we’ll walk you through the entire process.

Google and Amazon plan to copy AirPods in 2019

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Earphones
AirPods rule the roost now, but serious competition is coming.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has a real winner in AirPods. But the company’s slow pace of updating them is reportedly giving competitors a chance to catch up.

A respected analyst says Google and Amazon will have their own versions out next year.

Facebook wants to put a camera in your living room

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Facebook Portal
Portal is Facebook's answer to the Echo Show.
Photo: Facebook

Do you trust Facebook to put a camera and microphone in your living room? If not, you’ll want to avoid Portal, its new smart displays focused on video chat.

Portal and Portal Plus make it easy to keep in touch with friends and family when you can’t see them face-to-face in real life. They can also play music, stream video, and do anything Amazon Alexa can do.

Tim Cook talks privacy, Alex Jones and China in new interview

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tim cook
Tim Cook says companies don't need access to your data.
Photo: Apple

Tim Cook went on the offensive toward competing companies like Amazon and Google in a new interview tonight on privacy.

Appearing on Vice News Tonight on HBO, the Apple CEO was asked if his company’s stance on privacy is stopping Siri from becoming more competitive with Alexa. Cook pushed back saying any company that says it needs all your data to make its service better is telling you a “bunch of bunk.”

Amazon rolls out better (and wackier) new Echo products

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microwave
Amazon's new microwave is super smart.
Photo: Amazon

Amazon hosted its annual “secret” event this morning in Seattle where the company unleashed a tidal wave of new Alexa-powered Echo products that are designed to take on pretty much every major tech company in the world.

From its new microwave to a pricey new subwoofer, Amazon has a new product for pretty much everybody at every price point. The event was so action-packed it was hard to keep up with the catalog of new options, but we’ve rounded them all up so you can figure out what Alexa products you should splurge on next.

Check out all these new goodies:

Crazy GIF shows how iPhone X may pave the way for Apple Glasses

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smart glasses
Will smart glasses replace iPhone as our main communication device?
Photo: uMake

The iPhone X’s ugly notch could pave the way for Apple to dominate the smart glasses market.

Augmented reality glasses are poised to become the hottest tech gadget of the next decade and Apple’s already laying the foundation with the iPhone X. It may not seem like the two will be directly related, but this clever concept shows how the key lays in the TrueDepth camera hidden in the notch.

Check it out: