| Cult of Mac

Microphone technology is Siri’s next big hurdle


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

Apple, Amazon and Google are all in a battle to create the next great breakthrough with microphones in order to make their digital assistants more powerful.

While machine learning and artificial intelligence are getting all the hype lately, few industry analysts say microphone technology will play just as key a role in taking Siri and Alexa to a new level.

#ProTip: One simple secret for designing better things


Dave Wiskus thinks many designers are in need of an attitude adjustment.
Dave Wiskus thinks many designers are in need of an attitude adjustment.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac is at WWDC and AltConf, fishing for ProTips. The world’s biggest gathering of Apple developers is a rich hunting ground filled with alpha geeks, experts par excellence. What’s a ProTip? A ProTip is a nugget of knowledge, a little bit of expertise from someone in the know — a pro.

SAN FRANCISCO — Designers can be a picky bunch, always ready to pick apart a colleague’s creation or slap down an idea with some withering snark.

But interaction designer Dave Wiskus is prescribing an attitude adjustment for his fellow creative types, especially those who seem to be engaged in some sort of bitchy competition to come off as the smartest person in the room.

“Just say no to cynicism,” he said Thursday during his talk at AltConf here. “It’s the enemy of everything.” (You’ll also want to avoid irony, sarcasm and passive aggression, which Wiskus called “gateway drugs” that can lead to full-on cynical addiction.)

Vesper Updated For iOS 7



Vesper, the iPhone note-taking app made by the all-star team of Brent “NetNewsWire” Simmons and John “Daring Fireball” Gruber, was already pretty iOS 7-friendly at launch a few months back. Now it has received an actual proper iOS 7 update, and it’s even better.

Vesper, A Sublime Note-Taking App By Daring Fireball’s John Gruber




There are hundreds of apps on the App Store that claim they’ll help you boost your productivity, keep your thoughts organized, and help you finish all of those great side project ideas you have floating around. Some of those apps are genuinely helpful, but famed Apple-blogger John Gruber just released a new note-taking app that challenges them all.

Vesper is a sublime note-taking app for iPhone that just hit the App Store. Its price tag is a bit steeper than most apps, but even at $4.99 it’s a pretty good deal. Designed by John Gruber’s new company, Q Branch, Vesper is a hybrid of notes and list-making features that helps you keep your thoughts organized.

“What’s the difference between a thought, an idea, and something you want to do? I don’t know exactly. That’s why we made Vesper.” – John Gruber