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.

How to set up Apple’s Health app to unlock its awesome fitness potential

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Turn the iPhone Health app into a dashboard for your body
Turn the iPhone Health app into a dashboard for your body
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

If you think the Health app is just another pointless junk app that comes preinstalled on your iPhone, think again. Unlike Stocks, Compass or Tips, it is one of the few apps that Apple won’t let you delete. Set up the Apple Health app properly, and it becomes a powerful tool for getting (or staying) fit.

You see, the Health app lies at the heart of Cupertino’s growing health and fitness ambitions. And with its underlying HealthKit API, the Health app provides the framework that Apple Watch uses to gather data on your daily activity, heart rate and workouts.

But the Health app is more than just a place for storing data. With every iOS update, Apple makes major improvements to it. So, if you still think the Health app is a waste of space, it’s probably time you gave it another look. Especially if you own an Apple Watch. You’ll find it contains loads of useful, well-presented data that can help you achieve your fitness goals.

Why it sucks when fitness apps don’t share your workout data with Apple

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Who owns your workout data?
Who owns your workout data?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

The workout data I log with my Apple Watch belongs to me. It‘s not Apple’s — nor is it Nike’s, Strava’s or anyone else’s, for that matter. It is mine. I paid for it with my own blood, sweat and tears. (OK, it’s mostly sweat, but there were some tears along the way, too.) Over the years, I’ve logged more than 18,000 miles of running data and it is something I’m pretty proud of.

So it really bugs me when mega-corporations try to corral my activity data into their fancy walled gardens, like they think they own it. Apple used to be just as guilty of this as all the other workout rustlers. But the folks in Cupertino did a major pivot in iOS 11. They decided to actually put users in control of our workout data. Apple made it easy for apps to share workout route maps with each other via HealthKit.

The trouble is, none of the major fitness apps are playing ball, and that sucks. Luckily, some indie devs are doing the right thing.

Why Apple’s HomePod is poised to bomb

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Will Apple's HomePod smart speaker be DOA?

Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

HomePod, the first new Apple product of 2018, is about to arrive. And as a huge Apple fanboy, I couldn’t care less.

Apple’s been hyping its smart speaker ever since unveiling the device last June at the Worldwide Developers Conference. And yet HomePod has failed to really excite fans (except through leaks that gave us early details about the iPhone X). Apple bills HomePod as a powerful speaker that packs Siri to take your listening experience to an all-new level. But with its Feb. 9 release just weeks away, HomePod is looking more like Apple’s next big bomb.

Apple employees get big bonus thanks to Trump

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money
Apple is raking in the cash.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

President Donald Trump’s new tax law is doing great things for Apple employees’ wallets.

Apple told employees today that it plans to give all of them $2,500 worth of restricted stock, thanks to the revised tax law that goes into effect this year.

iPhone X makes stunning motion capture dirt-cheap

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Face ID iPhone X
Face ID can be used for more than just unlocking your iPhone X.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera system could soon make capturing Hollywood-quality motion capture as easy as snapping a selfie.

In a demo showing you don’t need millions of dollars in studio equipment, Big Screen VR founder Darshan Shankar tweeted a demo of some motion capture work that is being done using nothing more than an iPhone X and commodity body trackers.

Check it out:

iMac Pro packs more memory than every Apple II computer ever built

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Apple II
This amazing stat comes from Apple's first ever applications software engineer.
Photo: Computer History Museum

A midrange model of Apple’s new iMac Pro comes with a massive 11 times as many bytes of electronic memory as the Apple II, the company’s first breakthrough computer.

Doesn’t sound all that impressive? We’re not just talking about a single Apple II unit. Instead, that figure refers to the sum total of all electronic memory ever installed on all 6 million Apple II computers ever built!

Slow iPhone? Here’s how to check the health of your battery

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iPhone battery
Brazil demands easy iPhone battery replacements.
Photo: iFixit

With all the fuss about depleted old batteries slowing down iPhones, it might be a good idea to at least check the health of your iPhone’s battery. To do this, you can use a free tool called coconutBattery. This handy app digs into your iOS and Mac devices to tell you how old they are, and how strong your battery is compared to when it was new.

10 things I hate about iPhone X

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iPhone X
I love iPhone X, but some things really grind my gears.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iPhone X is the best smartphone Apple ever made. It could be the best smartphone released in 2017. Like its rivals and every iPhone that came before it, however, it’s imperfect.

As much as I love using mine, certain things drive me crazy almost every day — and no, the “notch” isn’t one of them. Here are 10 things I hate about iPhone X.

Apple patches HomeKit bug that left smart locks vulnerable

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HomeKit devices
This isn't good.
Photo: Apple

A huge vulnerability within Apple’s HomeKit software has been discovered that potentially could have allowed attackers to gain access to smart accessories like locks and garage doors.

The zero-day vulnerability was reportedly patched by Apple within the last few days but certainly shows that HomeKit might be quite as secure as some users think.