Latest iOS beta confirms ‘Hey Siri’ in AirPods 2

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iOS 12.2 makes it clear you’ll be able to set up AirPods with “Hey Siri.”
iOS 12.2 makes it clear you’ll be able to set up AirPods with “Hey Siri.”
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Buried in the just-released iOS beta is a clear reference to using “Hey Siri” with Apple’s AirPods.  It’s generally assumed this addition — which will make it much easier for people on the move to give verbal commands ot their iPhone — won’t work with the current version.

And this is just one of the features expected in Apple’s next-generation wireless earbuds.

Google and Amazon plan to copy AirPods in 2019

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Earphones
AirPods rule the roost now, but serious competition is coming.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has a real winner in AirPods. But the company’s slow pace of updating them is reportedly giving competitors a chance to catch up.

A respected analyst says Google and Amazon will have their own versions out next year.

Why HomePod’s ‘Hey Siri’ will blow you away

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Siri speaker
The HomePod's ability to hear at full volume is one of the most impressive feats.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple pulled back the curtain on some of the most complicated features of its HomePod smart speaker this morning with a new blog post that details the machine learning tech that goes into its ‘Hey Siri’ detection.

One of the biggest challenges with making a smart speaker is not only figuring out what to listen for but also what sounds to discard in the process. Apple’s engineers have come up with a number of interesting methods to make Siri work even when you’re blasting tunes our of the HomePod’s speakers.

AirPods could someday replace your Apple Watch

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airpods
Ear-worn devices like these AirPods could become the most-used type of wearable.
Photo: Ste Smith/ Cult of Mac

Smart watches are currently the most popular form of wearable, but ear-worn devices are expected to replace them in the coming years. The changeover will take place as AirPods and similar products gain additional features that people now get from Apple Watch and iPhone.

In less than five years, so-called “hearables” could outsell every other type of  wearable by a wide margin.

2018 MacBook Pro review roundup: Apple unleashes a speed demon

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2018 MacBook Pro
This isn’t good.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s new MacBook Pro offers buyers significantly improved performance at the same price as last year’s models, as well as a “quieter,” improved butterfly keyboard and a True Tone display. But is it worth the upgrade?

Early reviews of the 2018 update are out now. Here’s what they say about Apple’s fastest and most impressive laptop yet.

20 HomePod tips you need to know

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The HomePod is a lot smarter than you might think. Just take a look at these tips!
The HomePod is a smarter speaker than you might think.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The HomePod takes a lot of flak for being the dumbest smart speaker around, but it can do more than you might think. In today’s video, I’ll show you 20 HomePod tips you need to know.

(Just a quick heads-up: I’m going to be saying “Hey Siri” a few times in this video.)

New AirPods will bring water-resistant design, ‘Hey Siri’ support

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AirPods
New AirPods are coming with big new features.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is working on upgraded AirPods with a new wireless chip and “Hey Siri” support, according to a new report.

The refresh will arrive “as early as this year,” according to sources familiar with the matter. A future refresh, pegged for early 2019, will also bring a water-resistant design.

How ‘Hey Siri’ works with multiple devices

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hey siri homepod
Hey Siri is smarter that your thought.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Siri itself might be frustrating, but Hey Siri is great. And on the HomePod, the voice activation for your virtual assistant is even more impressive, because it hears you perfectly, even if you speak at normal volume while the music is hammering the walls, the floor, and your neighbors’ patience. Now it’s possible to have many Siri-equipped devices laying around a room, but somehow, when your say “Hey Siri,” only one device responds. Did you ever wonder how? Here’s the answer.

iOS 11.2.5 is out along with tvOS, watchOS and macOS updates

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iPhone plus model next to iPhone X
A new update is out for iPhone!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple pushed out a big batch of software updates this morning for iOS, tvOS, watchOS and macOS, bringing a host of bug fixes and performance improvements to all of its major platforms.

iOS 11.2.5 is the biggest of today’s software updates. The update for iPhones and iPads adds a couple new features, including support for Apple’s HomePod smart speaker, which opens for preorders this Friday.

iMac Pro packs new T2 chip for extra security

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iMac Pro
The internals are insane.
Photo: Apple

The iMac Pro is the most secure Apple desktop ever built, and it’s got a special chip to prove it.

Early review units are starting to trickle out to tech experts and according to iOS and Mac developer Cabel Sasser, the iMac Pro packs a new T2 chip that is basically like a secure enclave for the iMac.