| Cult of Mac

Apple is looking for psychologist to improve Siri


Sorry, Alexa: Siri still the most widespread AI assistant
Siri could become a lot more empathetic.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s digital assistant Siri could soon become your new psychologist.

According to a new job listing posted by Apple, the company is searching for a software engineer that also has some previous experience in psychology or counseling. Why? Because people are starting to talk to Siri like its a human.

How the movie Her inspired Apple to create a better Siri


The iPhone's home button could be going away.
Siri is set to get some big upgrades with iOS 11.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

For its next act with Siri, Apple is taking some cues from one of the tech world’s biggest sources of inspiration: Hollywood.

With the release of iOS 11 later this month, Siri is set to get some big upgrades. The most notable will be the AI helper’s silky-smooth voice. And according to one Apple exec, the movie Her played a big role in helping the company figure out the changes they should make.

A comprehensive guide to the best dating apps on iOS


Best Dating Apps
Don't spend another Valentine's Day alone.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Spending Valentine’s Day on your own isn’t all bad (just think of the money you’ll save), but you probably don’t want to do it every year. And you don’t have to! There’s now a large and ever-increasing library of dating apps that can help you find the perfect mate.

With our comprehensive guide to the best dating apps on iOS, you’ll have no trouble finding love on your iPhone. We’ve got apps for mainstream dating, LGBT dating, casual hookups, and niche dating for those who have a strong interest in salad, marijuana, dead bodies, and more.

Cloe is Siri with a human touch — and a life


Cloe, a concierge service that  provides recommendations and answers to texted requests, is currently working her magic in two major cities. Photo: Meet Cloe
Cloe, a concierge service that provides recommendations and answers to texted requests, is currently working her magic in two major cities. Photo: Meet Cloe

New app Cloe is a dutiful concierge service you can text to request a good jazz club or microbrewery and get an informed, cheery response in a minute or less. Think of the mad research skills of Siri with the personality of Samantha, the AI operating system from the movie Her.

Need a tailor? Cloe may ask if you need a custom shirt made or just a button sewn on a jacket before she sends you a recommendation based on where you are standing at that very moment.

How Siri became a 10-year-old autistic boy’s best friend


A boy and his best friend out to play. Photo: Louie Chin for the New York Times.
A boy and his best friend out to play. Photo: Louie Chin for the New York Times.

In Spike Jonze’s film Her, Joaquin Phoenix plays a man who falls in love with a Siri-like “digital assistant,” played by Scarlett Johansson. But falling in love with Siri doesn’t just happen in the movies. In The New York Times, there is a beautiful piece about a 10-year-old autistic boy named Gus whose best friend is Siri.

6 awesome sci-fi blockbusters to watch on your new iPhone



There are few feelings better in the world than sitting down in front of your latest shiny gadget to watch a great sci-fi movie. With the iPhone 6 launching tomorrow, your choice of shiny gadget has likely already been made. That leaves just one conundrum then: what to watch on it.

Scroll through our gallery for Cult of Mac’s picks of the 6 best modern sci-fi movies to test your new super-sized iPhone in style.

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

From recognizing music that’s playing nearby using Shazam to leaping into action just by saying “Hey Siri,” Apple’s virtual assistant has upped the ante for iOS 8 and iPhone 6. What better movie to celebrate, then, than last year’s tremendous sci-fi rom-com Her?

Written, directed and produced by the prodigiously talented Spike Jonze (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Her tells the story of a lonely Los Angeles resident, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who develops a relationship with his Siri-style A.I., voiced by none other than Scarlett Johansson.

It’s an immensely touching, and oddly human, film about relationships — and its smart, soulful look at the meeting point between tech and humanity is straight out of Apple’s playbook.

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

The iPhone 6’s higher resolution display allows 720p high-definition video, which Apple has labelled “Retina HD Display.” So what’s the best movie to pick then to show off its impressive 4.7- or 5.5-inch display to yourself, or else make non-iPhone owning friends green with envy?

As good an answer as any is Edge of Tomorrow, the 2014 Tom Cruise-starring blockbuster given the slightly lame home video re-title Live Die Repeat. It’s a Groundhog Day-inspired sci-fi romp about an average Joe who gets wrapped up in a war with aliens. It’s all great fun, and well worth checking out if you missed it in theaters. Which most people seem to have.

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Okay, so HealthKit’s last-minute problems mean that it was unceremoniously pulled from iOS 8’s launch lineup, but with the “quantified self” ethos at the heart of tech’s current obsession with mobile health and lifestyle tracking, who can blame me for going back and revisiting 1997’s Gattaca?

Sure, a bio-punk story about genetic modification and the perils of a perfect society is a far cry from an iPhone that helps you workout in the gym, but this is still a tremendous sci-fi movie that is more relevant than ever as time goes on. Its dystopian future’s not a world away from the one depicted in Apple’s famous "1984” Macintosh ad, either.

Photo: Columbia Pictures

Gravity picked up a ton of awards at this year’s Oscars — including (but not limited to) Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. Those three prizes more than qualify this movie for being a great one to try out your new iPhone 6’s speaker quality on. The fact that it is a constantly tense, fantastically performed, and always beautiful movie unlike any other is just icing on an already deliciously weightless cake.

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

With its gorgeously rounded form factor, the iPhone 6 is a big, beautiful beast. Which is a bit like the mecha in Guillermo del Toro’s epic 2013 movie Pacific Rim in fact. (Fine, I’m stretching the simile a bit — but don’t let that put you off a fantastic film.) Set just a few years in the future, Pacific Rim tells the story of an Earth at war with giant monsters from a portal on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. To fight them, mankind unites to build giant fighting robots.

The rest, as they say, is history. Or rather future.


I tried to come up with a way of tying Looper into the iPhone 6, but aside from a strained metaphor about planned obsolescence, I really couldn’t. But if you’re after a sci-fi film to leave you feeling as awestruck as Apple’s September 9 unveiling of the iPhone 6 (there we go!) this is absolutely it.

Directed by the talented Rian Johnson and starring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt, Looper tells the story of how time travel is used by future criminals who send people back in time to be killed by so-called “loopers.”

It’s way more fun than that garbled description makes it sound, and will go down in history as a sci-fi cult classic. Until it’s killed by its future self, that is.

Photo: TriStar Pictures

Scarlett Johansson Feels ‘Betrayed’ By Backstabbing Siri



In Spike Jonze’s latest film, Her, Joaquin Phoenix plays a man who falls in love with a Siri-like “digital assistant,” the titular Her, played by Scarlett Johansson.

But there’s no love lost between the two. If you ask Siri about ‘Her’, she’ll claim that Johansson’s “portrayal of an intelligent agent is beyond artificial” and “gives artificial intelligence a bad name.”

Looks like Scarlett Johansson caught wind, and now, her feelings are hurt by Siri’s harsh words.

Siri’s Sweet Voice Threatens Rude Moviegoers With Humiliation



Siri has a dark side. Try to send a text in a movie theater, and you might feel the life-destroying wrath of Apple’s perky AI helper.

That’s the message delivered in a new PSA-style video that’s the Alamo Drafthouse‘s latest salvo in the war on rude moviegoers. The creative clip, which will be shown ahead of screenings of Spike Jonze’s Her at the indie tastemaker’s theaters, uses the voice of Siri to send an anti-texting message.

Siri Gets Catty If You Confuse Her With Scarlett Johansson



In Spike Jonze’s latest film, Her, a mustachioed Joaquin Phoenix plays a man who falls in love with a Siri-like “digital assistant,” Her, played by Scarlett Johansson.

You’d think Siri would appreciate having a movie made about her, but instead, kitty’s got claws when it comes to her filmic counterpart: thanks to Apple’s cheeky and surprisingly timely programmers, if you ask Siri “Are you her?” she will respond: “No. Her portrayal of an intelligent agent is beyond artificial”, “No. You know that it’s just a movie, right?” and “No. In my opinion, she gives artifical intelligence a bad name.”