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Today in Apple history: Siri debuts on iPhone 4s

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Sorry, Alexa: Siri still the most widespread AI assistant
Apple envisioned an AI helper like Siri way back in the late 1980s.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

October 4: Today in Apple history: Siri debuts on iPhone 4s October 4, 2011: With the unveiling of the iPhone 4s, Apple introduces the world to Siri.

A groundbreaking example of artificial intelligence in action, Siri’s debut fulfills a long-term dream at Apple. The company first predicted such a feature in the 1980s — with the Siri launch coming at almost the exact month Apple envisioned.

Italian leg of Euro tour nets honorary innovation degree for Tim Cook

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Tim Cook speaks with university students in Naples, Italy, after accepting an honorary Master's degree.
Tim Cook speaks with university students in Naples, Italy, after accepting an honorary Master's degree.
Photo: Federico II online canale 1

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s unannounced European tour has taken him to the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy so far. And on one of his latest stops, he received an honorary master’s degree Thursday from the Università Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II in Naples, Italy.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by an institution with such a distinguished history, one that has nurtured Italy’s brightest young minds for nearly 800 years,” Cook said, accepting the honorary master’s degree for innovation and international management.

Apple and its latest acquisition will make AI music together

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StaffPad being used on iPad
Soon your iPhone can write music just for you.
Photo: David William Hearn

Apple reportedly bought AI Music, a startup that uses artificial intelligence to create songs in real time.

The technology will most likely be integrated into the Apple Photos application for creating background music for slideshows and video montages.

SpotCam Pano 2 AI security camera offers free, continuous cloud recording

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The SpotCam Pano 2 AI security camera offers full-time continuous cloud recording -- forever.
The SpotCam Pano 2 AI security camera offers full-time continuous cloud recording -- forever.
Photo: SpotCam

SpotCam recently unveiled its new SpotCam Pano 2, a smart, 5-megapixel cloud security AI camera with free, full-time, continuous cloud recording to make sure you always have your footage. The company, founded in Taiwan in 2013, said it’s the only camera brand to offer that.

This AI tool can write your emails, blogs and more for you

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Get a top-of-the-line predictive writing AI to generate content for you.
You don't have to write those repetitive emails anymore with Rytr, the AI writing tool.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Writing is hard, but there are some great writing tools out there to make it easier. Rytr is an AI writing tool that can help you write quality copy using artificial intelligence that can be programmed for any tone or format — and right now it’s on sale for $75.

Klipsch launches wireless ANC earphones with artificial intelligence

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Klipsch T5 II True Wireless ANC McLaren Edition are some racy earphones.
Klipsch T5 II True Wireless ANC McLaren Edition are some racy earphones.
Photo: Klipsch

Founded in 1946 and known for quality speakers, Klipsch celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. Part of that blowout features the launch of two new sets of earphones offering not only active noise cancellation (ANC) but artificial intelligence (AI)-based gestures and a new sound-enhancement system.

Apple goes on AI shopping spree to make Siri smarter

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Siri Lights
A slew of AI-related acquisitions might make Siri less of a nimrod. Which is important considering it’s built into so many products, like HomePods.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple reportedly bought more companies developing artificial intelligence technology over the past five years than anyone else. A prime goal is to make the Siri voice assistant smarter, according to GlobalData, the market-research firm that compiled a list of AI-related acquisitions by many companies.

iOS 14’s adult-content blocker prevents searches for the word ‘Asian’

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Apple's adult block
It's likely an example of AI run amok.
Photo: Apple

iOS 14’s built-in pornographic content blocker stymies searches that include the word “Asian,” according to a computer science student.

This means searches for “Asian food” or “Asian countries” are blocked if the adult content filters are enabled. Similar blocks aren’t in place for search terms including “black,” “white,” “Arab,” “French” and other national or racial descriptors.

Apple could ‘lead the industry’ in AI, says Cupertino’s machine learning boss

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John Giannandrea
Apple's AI boss says machine learning is being used in more places than ever.
Photo: Apple

Apple is using machine learning technology in more and more of its features, John Giannandrea, the company’s senior vice president for machine learning and AI strategy, reveals in a new interview with Ars Technica.

Giannandrea, who joined Apple from a job at Google, said “there are increasingly fewer and fewer places in iOS where we’re not using machine learning.” This stands in strong contrast to a few years ago — and even the point at which Giannandrea landed his Apple job.

Apple keeps throwing money at making Siri smarter

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Siri Alexa in voice report
Apple’s latest acquisition aims to give Siri better data to work with.
Photo: Apple

Apple purchased Inductiv, a Canadian company that focused on using artificial intelligence to clean up data. They created HoloClean, which was designed to get useful predictions from “noisy, incomplete, and erroneous data.”

The employees of Inductiv joined the team developing Siri, Apple’s voice-driven AI assistant, according to Bloomberg.