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.

Sonos will add Google Assistant to its speakers this year

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Sonos supports AirPlay2
Sonos speakers connect to over 80 streaming services.
Photo: Sonos

CES 2019 bug Sonos is about to add a new weapon to its smart speakers that will help make it even more competitive against Apple’s HomePod.

The company revealed today that it plans to bring Google Assistant to its smart speakers later this year. Beta testing for the new feature has already begun, allowing Google’s Siri-competitor to be the main voice input on some Sonos speaker models.

This is the world’s most eco-friendly Google Assistant smart speaker

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Marley 2
The world’s most environmentally friendly Google smart speaker is made of bamboo and AI.
Photo: Marley

CES 2019 bug Smart speakers are something we expect to see a whole lot of at this year’s CES 2019, and the House of Marley isn’t disappointing us with its effort to get things moving.

Among the multiple new products the company has announced at the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the coolest is a portable Bluetooth speaker that runs Google Assistant. All packaged up in a natural bamboo and organic materials package, just as nature intended!

You can now open Google Assistant with your voice on iPhone

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Google Assistant
Google Assistant landed on iPhone last year.
Photo: Google

There’s great news for fans of Google Assistant with an iPhone: for the first time, iOS users can now access the smart assistant using a verbal command.

The solution is a little bit convoluted, but it’s a world better than the previous way of opening it. Here’s what you can do.

IQ test of virtual assistants shows Siri’s smarts are on the rise

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Siri Alexa in voice report
So selfless, that Siri.
Photo: Apple

If Siri seems to be of greater service to you lately, an annual IQ test comparing virtual assistants shows its definitely getting smarter.

Loup Ventures annually peppers the various digital assistants with five categories of questions and when it comes to accuracy and comprehension of a user’s question, Google Assistant remains the best. Siri, however, is right behind Google while Amazon’s Alex and Cortana lags behind in that order.

Theoretical improvements: The status of Siri in iOS 12

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The iPhone's home button could be going away.
Siri should be a lot smarter.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

WWDC 2018 bug Cult of Mac In the battle of digital voice assistants, people often mock Siri for lagging behind competing products from Amazon and Google. During Monday’s WWDC 2018 keynote, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, glossed over those failings, calling Siri the “world’s most-used digital assistant.”

What he neglected to mention was the increasing frustration of Siri users expecting more from a voice assistant. From simple requests returning inaccurate results to the inability to performthat he compound actions, Siri was in desperate need of attention going into WWDC. But will the Siri upgrades in iOS 12 do the trick?

Sonos busts out new Beam sound bar, plus AirPlay 2 support

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sonos beam
Sonos Beam is sleek but packs a punch.
Photo: Sonos

Sonos is making a power play to take over your living room with its latest smart speaker called Sonos Beam.

Beam is a new sound bar that is smaller than Sonos’ Playbar and Playbase, but it also packs some new features like a five-microphone array and it plays well with Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and of course, Siri.

Watch out HomePod, this thing looks amazing:

Processor update might make Google’s Wear OS a better Apple Watch competitor

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Qualcomm's upcoming processor might make Google's Wear OS more competitive.
Qualcomm's upcoming processor might make Google's Wear OS more competitive.
Photo: Google

One of the reasons Apple Watch has no problems fending off competition running Google’s Wear OS is that they all use a two-year-old processor. Qualcomm is finally readying a new smartwatch chip for release this fall.

In addition, the next version of Watch OS will make greater use of Google Assistant, the company’s artificial intelligence powered system for voice control.