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

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Siri IQ
Developers reportedly can’t decide how Siri should help us.
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.

Live blog: Google I/O 2018 delivers the future of Android and more

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Sundar Pichai at Google IO
What does Google have in store for us this year?
Photo: Google

Google I/O 2018 kicks off in less than an hour.

There’s loads to look forward to this year, including an update on Android P, and previews of what’s to come for Chrome, the Google Assistant, Android Auto, and more. The recently-rebranded Wear OS may also get some much-needed attention.

Google is live-streaming its big keynote, which kicks off at 10 a.m. Pacific. If you can’t tune in, follow our live blog below to stay up to date with everything that’s happening in Mountain View.

Fortnite, Textor, and other awesome apps of the week

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Awesome Apps
'Appy weekend, everyone!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Fortnite, arguably the most anticipated iOS game of 2018, is just one of our selections for “Awesome Apps of the Week.”

In addition, we’ve got Google’s AI assistant newly landed on iPad, a neat update to one of the most popular third-party keyboards around, and a great basic text-editing app for iOS. Check out our picks below.

Google Assistant lands on iPad

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Google Assistant now runs on iPad, including side-by-side with Google Calendar.
Google Assistant now runs on iPad, including side-by-side with Google Calendar.
Image: Google

Anyone wanting to try out Google’s rival to Siri can now do so on their iPad: A version of the Google Assistant optimized for iOS tablets just debuted.

With the press of a button, the application will answer questions and retrieve information from the internet, but that’s just the start.

Over half a billion devices now ‘actively’ use Siri

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Siri
Siri usage is climbing rapidly.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Siri is now “actively” used on more than half a billion devices, Apple has revealed. The virtual assistant, which will be used to control HomePod, has been attracting users at a rapid rate despite falling behind its competitors in features and accuracy.

This smoke detector can also run Siri and be an AirPlay 2 speaker

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smoke detector
That's one versatile alarm.
Photo: First Alert

CES 2018 bug Want a smoke detector that can double as a premium HomeKit-enabled smart speaker? Of course you do, and smoke detector company First Alert is here to help.

Debuting at CES 2018, First Alert’s Onelink Safe & Sound smoke and carbon monoxide alarm is an in-ceiling device that could save your life. But it also can be utilized as an entertainment system, with support for Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Google Assistant AI voice assistants.