Meross HomeKit-compatible smart plug adds home automation on the cheap

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Meross Smart WiFi Plug Mini comes in 2-packs
The Meross Smart WiFi Plug Mini can be controlled or scheduled through Apple’s Home app.
Photo: Meross

A HomeKit-compatible smart plug is an easy way to try home automation. And the Meross Smart WiFi Plug Mini is an especially inexpensive option. It enables a lamp or other simple electrical device to be remotely controlled from an iPhone using Siri voice commands.

Marshall’s tiny new smart speaker will blast you with huge sound

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marshall
This stylish little box packs big sound.
Photo: Zound Industries

One of the most iconic brands in rock ‘n’ roll amplification is ready to give Apple’s HomePod some fresh competition.

Zound Industries unveiled its newest portable speaker today, the Marshall Uxbridge Voice. It comes with Bluetooth and Spotify Connect, plus you can control it with your voice using Alexa. Best of all, though, this thing is really freaking loud.

Marshall brings active noise cancellation and USB-C to over-the-ear headphones

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Marshall
These are some of the best looking headphones we've seen.
Photo: Marshall

Marshall’s best over-the-ear headphones finally gained active noise cancellation (ANC) with a big update that pushes the vintage-inspired cans into the modern age.

The new Monitor II ANC headphones were revealed by Marshall this morning and along with adding ANC to put them on par with AirPods Pro, the headphones also have a nifty multi-directional control knob that lets you easily control music and phone functions without touching your phone.

Sorry, Alexa: Siri still the most widespread AI assistant

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Sorry, Alexa: Siri still the most widespread AI assistant
Siri is found on a whole lot of devices.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Thanks to Amazon’s Echo devices, Alexa is probably the AI assistant most likely to come up in a conversation. But Siri is still the most popular virtual assistant of them all.

According to a new report by Futuresource Consulting, Siri currently leads the virtual assistant pack with a 35% global marketshare. Google Assistant follows behind with 9% of the marketshare, while Alexa makes up just 4% of AI assistants.

Apple joins rivals to create open standard for smart home devices

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Abode Iota is a security system by itself
Building your smart home is about to get a whole lot easier.
Photo: Abode

Apple is teaming up with Amazon, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance to create a new open and royalty-free standard for smart home devices.

Project “Connected Home over IP” aims to increase compatibility among smart home gadgets and make development easier for device manufacturers. It should also simplify smart technology for consumers.

Siri gets smarter, but still can’t keep up with Google Assistant

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Scorsese Siri
Director Martin Scorsese can count on Siri. Even more so than in the past.
Photo: Apple

Siri doesn’t have all the answers, but Apple’s digital assistant continues to get smarter.

Loup Ventures fires 800 questions at the leading digital assistants for its twice-a-year IQ Test to measure the practical use of voice as a means of computing input on smartphones. They are all improving, but not at the same rate.

Google Assistant is a better virtual pharmacist than Siri

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Apple debuts HomePod in India at its cheapest price yet
Would you ask Siri about your medication?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you have a query about your prescription drugs, you’re better off asking Google Assistant than Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. That’s the conclusion of a new piece of research, published in the journal Nature Digital Medicine.

While you’re best off asking a human doctor, of course, the research was intended to see how accurate Google, Amazon and Apple’s AI assistants are at explaining the 50 most commonly prescribed medicines.

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.