Amazon Alexa - page 2

The hype is real, HomePod is incredible … catch our discussion on The CultCast


X-ray view of HomePod
Is HomePod nearing its end, or just getting started?
Photo: Apple

Friends, HomePod is even better than the hype! It’s one of the best products Apple’s ever made. Don’t miss our discussion on The CultCast. Plus: HomePod versus the rivals; the big HomePod flaw you need to know about (one Apple is trying to downplay); how Apple plans to revamp its future software; and, is another new Apple product on the horizon? We think so, and we’ll tell you what it is.

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

HomePod may sound great, but Siri still sucks


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.

This smart shower can be controlled by Siri


moen shower
"Hey Siri, run me my morning shower!"
Photo: Moen

CES 2018 bug Even in the days of water-resistant iPhones, taking a shower with Siri sounds risky. But bathroom fixtures company Moen wants to make it possible, useful and, well, less dangerous with its new smart shower system.

Unveiled at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, the new U by Moen shower system allows users to control the water temperature and other features with voice control, either using Apple’s AI assistant or Amazon’s Alexa via an in-shower control panel.

I made my own smart HomePod speaker, and it’s awesome


iPod Hi-Fi
The iPod Hi-Fi has aged well. Initially a dud, it's now a collectors' piece. And it sounds great.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Last week’s crushing news that Apple’s HomePod won’t be available for Christmas was a blow to some.

But I shrugged it off.

That’s because I made my own HomePod smart speaker. It cost me about $60 and sounds absolutely great.

Learn to code for Alexa and the smart home revolution [Deals]


CoM - Amazon Alexa Coding Bundle- From Zero To Hero
Learn to code for the device that's leading the smart home revolution.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Like it or not, our houses are getting smarter. If you’re sharp and interested in coding, you’ll want to learn to develop for Alexa, the digital assistant popping up in homes around the world due to the amazing success of the Amazon Echo.

Echo and Alexa are the opening shots of the smart home revolution, and with this bundle of comprehensive coding lessons you can get positioned to make your mark. Right now, you can get access to the whole thing for just $19 at Cult of Mac Deals.

Samsung nearly tops Apple in J.D. Power smartphone rankings


The exploding Note 7 didn't hurt Samsung's status.
Photo: Jim Merithew / Cult of Mac

The gap between Apple and Samsung is narrower than it has ever been, according to J.D. Power’s 2017 smartphone satisfaction rankings that have the iPhone-maker in the lead by just one point.

Apple took the number one spot with a total score of 840. Meanwhile Samsung somehow crept up to the second spot with 839 points, even though it had a disastrous last half of 2016 with the exploding Note 7 fiasco.

With eyesight failing, CEO hurries to make voice-enabled tech mainstream


Chris Maury leads the charge towards smarter voice-enabled technology.
Chris Maury leads the charge towards smarter voice-enabled technology.
Photo: Conversant Labs

Cult of Mac 2.0 bug When Chris Maury tried helping an elderly blind woman use voice commands on an iPad, she thanked him but said, “I just wish Siri could read me the news.”

Maury understood her frustration. He, too, was losing his vision and could foresee a struggle to remain productive using the visual interfaces common on all computing devices.

Win a chance to wire up your smart home with Amazon’s Alexa [Deals]


Enter to win a suite of smart home products, centered around Amazon Echo.
Enter to win a suite of smart home products, centered around Amazon Echo.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Making your home ‘smart’ means more than giving it a computerized brain — it takes a whole central nervous system. That’s exactly what this giveaway offers. It includes four devices that will transform how you interact with your house — from controlling your appliances and lighting, to the thermostat and even answering the door — all centered around Amazon’s hands-free hub, Echo, controllable via their digital assistant, Alexa.

Why I love both of Amazon’s new Echo smart speakers [Reviews]


The Amazon Echo Tap is the portable, battery-powered member of the smart speaker family.
The Amazon Echo Tap is the portable, battery-powered member of the smart speaker family.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Best List: Amazon’s Echo Dot and Echo Tap

Ask Amazon’s Echo smart speaker “How much does the Earth weigh?” and she’ll rattle off the answer in pounds. It takes about a full minute and is genuinely amusing. It’s just one of many surprises up Echo’s sleeve (see this crazy list of Echo Easter Eggs on Reddit). It proves she is by far the best computer you can talk to. Sorry Siri.

And now there are two new members of Amazon’s smart speaker family, both with significant advantages. I love them both, with a couple of caveats.