Siri’s ignominious honor: Most accurate Apple leaker

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Apple’s AI-driven voice-controlled digital assistant Siri
Siri beats Prosser, Gurman, etc. to become the most accurate source of Apple leaks.
Image: Apple

Last week, Siri leaked the date and time of the upcoming Apple event. And this wasn’t the first time Apple’s own virtual assistant told the world about an upcoming event before the official announcement.

So step back Jon Prosser. Stand aside Mark Gurman. Siri is now the most accurate Apple leaker.

Siri leaks April 20 date planned for Apple’s next special event

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April
Oh, Siri! Tim Cook won't be happy with you.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Siri may have just revealed the date for Apple’s rumored April event. According the voice assistant, Apple’s next event will take place one week from now on April 20.

This is likely to be the event at which Apple debuts its next-gen iPad Pro, the eagerly anticipated AirTags item trackers and a new iPad mini.

Microsoft buys speech recognition company that helped power Siri

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Apple’s AI-driven voice-controlled digital assistant Siri
Nuance tech helped give rise to tools like Siri.
Image: Apple

Microsoft has acquired Nuance Communications, the speech recognition AI company which helped* power Siri.

Microsoft snapped up Nuance for a massive $16 billion ($19.7 billion, inclusive of Nuance’s net debt). That’s the most it has spent on a company since buying LinkedIn for $26 billion in 2016.

How to change Siri’s accent on iPhone, iPad and more

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australian siri
Changing Siri's accent is easy.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Most folks refer to Siri as “she,” but that’s not always true. The original British English Siri, for example, was male-only up until iOS 7.1 added a female version. And in the latest iOS 14.5 beta, a female Siri is not the default option.

No matter what, you don’t have to stick with your local version of Apple’s comically bad voice assistant. U.S. English speakers, for example, can currently choose from American, Australian, British, Indian, Irish and South African accents for Siri, and also pick male or female versions — with more voices coming soon.

So, if you’re a U.S. native who views the U.K. Standard English accent as quaint, cute, respectful, sexy or reproachful, it’s easy to set your iPhone or iPad to sound like a Brit or whatever you want. And your choice of Siri accent will follow you on all Apple devices logged into with your Apple ID. (In addition to iPhone and iPad, Siri works with just about everything now: Mac, AirPods, iPod, Apple Watch, CarPlay, HomePod and Apple TV.)

Let’s see how to change Siri’s accent.

Siri gets new voices, and won’t default to female, in iOS 14.5

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Apple’s AI-driven voice-controlled digital assistant Siri
Siri just became more gender fluid.
Image: Apple

After almost a decade of using a female voice by default, Siri users will be given a choice of voices for the virtual assistant when they set up Apple devices. The virtual assistant will also come with two new English-language voices.

These changes debuted in iOS 14.5 beta 6 and the iPads equivalent, which Apple seeded to developers Wednesday.

Apple goes on AI shopping spree to make Siri smarter

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Siri Lights
A slew of AI-related acquisitions might make Siri less of a nimrod. Which is important considering it’s built into so many products, like HomePods.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple reportedly bought more companies developing artificial intelligence technology over the past five years than anyone else. A prime goal is to make the Siri voice assistant smarter, according to GlobalData, the market-research firm that compiled a list of AI-related acquisitions by many companies.

How to choose which HomePod listens to you when using two or more

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How to choose which HomePod listens to you
It's easier than you think.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Are you constantly being ignored by the HomePod that’s closest to you when asking Siri for assistance? Sadly, Apple doesn’t make it completely obvious how to manually specify which HomePod listens to you when you’re using more than one. But it is possible — and super-simple.

We’ll show you how.

HomePod mini sounds pretty big for such a little guy [Review]

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HomePod mini
The HomePod mini sounds great for such a small speaker.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple has been doing some remarkable things with audio lately. The sound coming out of a new MacBook or iPad Pro is nothing short of amazing, given the tiny speakers they have. AirPods sound spectacular. And then there’s the original HomePods, which punch way above their weight and are some of the best speakers out there.

But what about the new HomePod minis, which cost $99 and pack the potential to give Apple a much-needed boost in the smart speaker game? Do they sound any good?