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Your iPhone can alert you to breaking glass, smoke alarms and other dangers

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Get alerts for alarms, door bells, dogs, appliances and more.
Get alerts for alarms, door bells, dogs, appliances and more.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

The other day I was walking with music blasting through my AirPods when I almost stepped in front of a speeding ambulance.

Luckily, the magical Sound Recognition feature on my iPhone was turned on and my AirPods recognized the wailing sirens. They silenced the music and piped the sirens into my ears instead, saving my bacon. It was amazing and quite magical.

Your iPhone can also listen and alert you for crying babies, running water, knocks on the door, barking dogs and more.

Here’s how to use it.

Studio Display adds ‘Hey Siri’ to older Mac models, has 64GB of storage

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Apple Studio Display
That seems like a lot of storage space for a monitor.
Photo: Apple

Studio Display’s surprisingly powerful internals allow it to enable “Hey Siri” on a number of older Mac models that don’t usually support the feature — including the 2019 Mac Pro and several Mac mini variants.

Users also discovered that Studio Display has a surprisingly large (64GB) amount of internal storage. We already knew that it runs the same version of iOS 15.4 as iPhone, but still, all that space seems pretty overkill.

How to change the iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 default email application

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How to change iOS default email application
Changing the iPhone or iPad default email application is now possible. And easy.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple just removed one of the biggest remaining restrictions from the iPhone and iPad. It’s finally possible to change the default email application in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 to something other than Apple Mail.

Making the change is easy. However, a current limitation will delay many people from taking immediate advantage of it.

Apple’s unreleased over-the-ear headphones spotted in iOS 14 code

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airpods-max
Apple's making its own headphones to rival Beats.
Photo: 9to5Mac

The clearest look yet at Apple’s upcoming over-the-ear headphones was unearthed from an early build of iOS 14 this week.

Icons for Apple’s unreleased over-the-ear headphones were spotted by 9to5Mac, revealing a few features about the headphones’ design as well as a possible timeframe on when they might launch to the public.

What to expect from Apple’s innovation-focused iPhone event

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Apple 2019 Fall press event invitation
Apple is promising tons of innovation.
Photo: Apple

A whole lot of innovation is in the offing for Apple’s biggest hardware event of the year. CEO Tim Cook recently promised that Apple will unleash its strongest product lineup ever, and next week’s “By Innovation Only” event could be just the tip of the iceberg.

Thanks to a glut of leaked info, we have a pretty solid idea about what new hardware to expect during the event. iPhones obviously will steal the spotlight, but Apple might unleash a few surprises as well.

This is what we think we’ll see during the 2019 iPhone keynote, which starts at 10 a.m. Pacific on September 10. Apple will live-stream it from the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park in Cupertino, California.

Surreptitious Siri recordings spawn class-action lawsuit

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Siri Alexa in voice report
The recent controversy surrounding Siri recordings is headed for the courts.
Photo: Apple

A class action lawsuit has been proposed to prevent Apple from recording Siri commands without users’ express consent. And the plaintiffs want restitution, of course.

Apple admits it made recordings of people talking to the Siri voice-control system to improve the system. As part of the process, some of these were listened to by humans.

Siri accidentally overhears more than we realize

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Siri Alexa in voice report
Sometimes Siri is listening when we don’t mean it to.
Photo: Apple

It’s been widely reported that voice control systems like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri use people in their quality-improvement process, not just algorithms. But Siri and others might be accidentally overhearing to what we say more than we realize, and humans in the loop are getting an earful.

A new report warns that Apple contractors have heard “confidential medical information, drug deals, and recordings of couples having sex.”

Powerbeats Pro fuel 24-hour run through Iceland in breathtaking new ad

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powerbeats
The scenery in the new Powerbeats Pro ad is astounding.
Photo: Beats

The insanely beautiful landscapes of Iceland serve as the backdrop for Apple’s latest Powerbeats Pro ad that will motivate you to get out and run.

Seven runners from the Paris Running Club embark on a daunting relay that takes them 280km through the wilderness of Iceland in the new ad. The goal is to chase the sun that doesn’t set for days and Powerbeats Pro are there every step of the way to make the run more magical.

Watch the full 90-second ad: