Voice-recognition dev sues Siri for infringement

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Siri
Company alleges that Apple has infringed on its patent.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Siri has plenty of problems, but it just got one more: a lawsuit claiming Apple’s technology is infringing on patents belonging to another company.

The company in question, Advanced Voice Recognition Systems, is suing Apple for infringing on its previously held patent “Speech Recognition and Transcription Among Users Having Heterogeneous Protocols.”

Apple’s allegedly offending products include *deep breath* the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, HomePod, and Apple TV. Everything that runs Siri, basically!

Ex-Google AI expert will fix Siri’s serious flaws

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Meet Siri's new boss, John Giannandrea.
Siri's new boss, John Giannandrea, has the job of making this voice assistant less terrible.
Photo: Apple

Craig Federighi is no longer in charge of Siri. Responsibility for Apple’s troubled voice assistant has been given to John Giannandrea, who is now in charge of all Apple’s artificial intelligence efforts.

Siri is seen as poor competition for Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, and Google Assistant. Its weakness is hurting sales of Apple products, including the HomePod.

How to use Apple’s new Shortcuts app

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A shortcut.
A shortcut.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple has made its new Shortcuts app available for beta testing, and over the weekend I took a look. Shortcuts is Apple’s new automation app for iOS 12, which integrates with Siri and lets you build all kinds of amazing automated workflows, from shutting your house down when you go to sleep, to downloading videos from YouTube and saving the them to iCloud. Shortcuts is really just the new name for Workflow, an existing iOS automation app that Apple bought a year or so back.

Let’s take a look at what Apple has put in this first Shortcuts beta.

Siri Shortcuts app is now ready for testing

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Siri Shortcuts
iOS developers can now play with a beta version of Siri Shortcuts.
Photo: iPhone Hacks

Apple said Siri would be smarter with iOS 12. The digital assistant will also multitask with the help of a native app.

A single command will kick Siri into high gear through an app called Siri Shortcuts, now available in a beta version to developers through the TestFlight platform.

iOS 12 beta 3 arrives with more detailed Maps data

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Apple Maps
Big changes are coming behind the scenes at Apple Maps.
Photo: Apple

Developers received an early 4th of July present from Apple today in the form of banging batch of new betas for iOS 12, watchOS 5 and tvOS 12.

The third beta for iOS 12 arrives two weeks after Apple seeded the last software update to developers that contained a number of UI tweaks and performance enhancements. iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV all received some software loving from Apple today, but it looks like the next macOS Mojave beta is still baking.

5 key areas Siri needs to improve in

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Siri Problems
A survey found what people use their smartspeakers for, which should serve as a blueprint for Siri improvements.
Photo: Apple

Most people would agree that Siri is way behind its competitors. But Apple recently made moves that indicate it’s working to improve this voice assistant.

A British survey discovered what smartspeaker owners actually use them for. This could help Apple decide what new features to add to Siri, as well as the ones that need shoring up.

How to add your own iOS 12 Siri Shortcuts right now

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Siri
Siri Shortcuts could become super powerful.
Photo: Apple

Siri Shortcuts are the iOS way to automate actions you do over and over. The WWDC 2018 keynote gave an examples of chaining together a bunch of these actions into one shortcut — order your favorite “coffee,” and give you directions to work, or switch on the lights at home one whole hour before you get there in order to, I don’t know, waste electricity? To trigger these little automations, you just tell Siri, using a pre-chosen keyword/name.

However, you don’t alway want to put together lots of steps. Sometimes you just want Siri to carry out a single action with a Shortcut. For instance, opening up your favorite news site in Safari, or sending a message to your spouse, or viewing your most recent photos. The good news is, you can do all of these today, in the first iOS 12 beta, even without the fancy new Siri Shortcuts app.

How to control your HomePod’s up-next queue from your iPhone

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The HomePod -- a beautiful body with the brain of an idiot.
The HomePod -- a beautiful body with the brain of an idiot.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Siri on HomePod is acceptable for quickly playing an album or a playlist, or even for adding a track to the existing up-next queue. But what if you want to switch the order of some songs in that queue, or delete tracks? Or maybe just use your iPhone to skip tracks, or control the volume of your HomePod without having to talk to the damn thing all the time?

Today we shall find out how.

Want World Cup results? Just ask Siri

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Siri
Siri stands ready to answer your World Cup questions.
Photo: Apple