Watch Google unveil its new iPhone rivals right here

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Pixel 2 XL
Google's new Pixel 2 XL will be made official today.
Photo: Evan Blass

Google’s popular Pixel smartphones turn 1 today. To celebrate the birthday, the company plans to unveil two new models that will compete with iPhone 8 and iPhone X.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will be confirmed during a special event that kicks off at 9 a.m. Pacific today. You can watch the whole thing live right here.

Here’s how you’ll activate Siri on the new iPhone

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Sorry, Alexa: Siri still the most widespread AI assistant
Sorry, Alexa: Siri still the most widespread AI assistant
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

We might have a brand new way to activate Siri on Apple’s next-generation iPhones, according to one iOS developer.

References in Apple’s source code hint at a new gesture using the physical sleep/wake button, which will enable us to access the virtual assistant in situations where using the “Hey Siri” command isn’t ideal.

Apple code reveals iPhone 8’s virtual Home button secrets

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iPhone 8 concept
Don't expect this kind of functionality.
Photo: iDropNews

Bidding goodbye to the iPhone’s physical Home button won’t be easy, but there are some advantages to going virtual for iPhone 8.

Not only will it allow for a larger edge-to-edge display, but it also means you’ll be able customize the virtual button. Apple code suggests we’ll have the option to resize it and hide it away if we don’t want it to be displayed on screen at all times.

Samsung will fight HomePod with Bixby smart speaker

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Phil Schiller gives the world a sneak peek at the HomePod during WWDC 2017.
We'd love to see Apple lavish some more attention on the HomePod.
Photo: Apple

There isn’t an Apple product Samsung doesn’t have an answer to, so it’s not surprising to hear the South Korean company is developing its own HomePod rival.

It will be powered by Bixby, the Galaxy S8’s new virtual assistant, but it’s likely to be a while before it’s ready to hit the market.

Steve Jobs demanded Android-style back button for iPhone

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iPhone could have looked a lot different had Steve Jobs had his way.
iPhone could have looked a lot different had Steve Jobs had his way.
Photo: Apple

Since it made its debut in 2007, the iPhone has relied on just one physical button for returning to the Home screen. But if Steve Jobs had his way, it would have had two.

The Apple co-founder and former CEO tried to convince other executives that the iPhone also needed an Android-style back button for navigation.

Optimize your Wi-Fi, fix bad typing habits and more [Week’s Best Deals]

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collage-2017-06-06
This week's best deals include a time saving typing assistant, a Wi-Fi optimizer, and lots more.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

It’s finally starting to get hot out there, but few things are as hot as the new deals in the Cult of Mac Store. The best of this week’s batch include a game-changing tool for mapping and optimizing Wi-Fi connections, and an app that’ll save you time by shortcutting your typing habits. There’s also a massive certification bundle covering all of Microsoft Office, and a top shelf Bluetooth speaker. Everything is discounted by 60 percent or more, read on for more details:

Apparent iPhone 8 dummy unit is super-confusing

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iPhone-8-dummy-1
Is this the real iPhone 8?
Photo: Benjamin Geskin

Thanks to recent leaks, we thought we had a good idea what the iPhone 8 might look like. But forget what you thought you knew about Apple’s next-generation smartphone.

This apparent dummy unit blows all our previous conceptions right out of the water and leaves us with a lot of unanswered questions.

Should Apple make a standalone Siri device? [Friday Night Fights]

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Would you buy a smart speaker powered by Siri?
Would you buy a smart speaker powered by Siri?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple might have popularized virtual assistants, but Siri has fallen behind in recent years as rivals like the Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and even Microsoft Cortana pull ahead with greater capabilities and unique features.

Friday Night Fights bugOne area in which Siri is lacking is in standalone devices like smart speakers, such as Google Home and Amazon Echo. Isn’t it about time Apple caught up with a smart speaker of its own powered by Siri?

Join us in this week’s Friday Night Fight as we throw punches over a Siri speaker.