Need a coin toss or roll of the dice? Have Siri do it

By Anthony Bouchard on Jan 25, 2016

When it comes right down to it, you may not always have a coin or a die in your pocket, but fortunately, you probably have your iPhone with you, and all recent iPhones can take advantage of the pocket voice assistant Siri.

Siri is a powerful tool, and you may not have known this, but if you forgot your coin and die at home, Siri has you covered for all of your chance-taking needs – she never forgets hers! In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to have Siri flip a coin or roll a die for you. Read More


Get more intimate with Siri: teach her how to call you

By Anthony Bouchard on Jan 21, 2016

Siri is a great way to get to the things you want on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad without having to tap on anything – it works great for situations where you don’t really have your hands free, but who says using Siri has to be boring?

In this quick post, we’ll show you how you can spice up your conversations with Siri by configuring the voice assistant to call you something different. Read More


How to disable suggested places for Siri and Spotlight Search on iPhone and iPad

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 5, 2016

Siri and Spotlight Search are way more useful in iOS 9 with suggestions that update results as you type. In addition to relevant apps and people, proactive suggestions also include nearby places such as restaurants, gas stations, retail stores and other points of interest.

Should you find place suggestions unappealing and potentially impacting your privacy, you can turn them off with just a few taps.

In this post, you will learn how to disable suggested location in Siri and Spotlight Search on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad with iOS 9.0 or later. Read More


How to disable Siri Suggestions in Spotlight Search on iPhone and iPad

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 5, 2016

Siri on iOS 9 enables a more intelligent Spotlight Search with proactive suggestions that make your device more helpful even before you ask.

These Siri-powered suggestions automatically appear in Spotlight upon swiping down on any Home screen, offering suggestions for apps that you launch at specific times of the day, people you tend to contact at specific times and more. You’ll also see suggested news and nearby places such as restaurants, gas stations, retail stores and more.

However, some people find this additional content distracting and useless. If you would like to use Spotlight Search without Siri Suggestions, this quick post will teach you how to disable the feature with just a few taps. Read More


How to control the Nest using HomeKit and Siri

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 18, 2015

The Nest is one of the most popular home automation devices in existence right now, but due to incompatibility with HomeKit, iOS users can’t control their Nest Learning Thermostats using Siri.

Fortunately, a workaround has been found. It’s called Homebridge, and it’s a NodeJS server that runs on your Mac. Homebridge allows iOS devices to interface with incompatible home automation devices like the Nest using HomeKit.

This means that it is now possible to control the Nest with Apple Watch, iPhone, and iPad using Siri. No jailbreak required. Read More


New “On the Set” iPhone 6s advert showcases hands-free Siri

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 3, 2015

Apple has been on a roll as of late when it comes to advertising. Two days or so after posting two new iPhone 6s advertisements, Apple has uploaded yet another to its YouTube channel.

The latest ad, entitled “On the Set”, features Avengers executive producer Jon Favreau. In the spot, Favreau, who’s directing a gymnastics sequence, uses hands-free Siri to pull up example pictures of flying squirrels. Read More


Review: SiriMote—control media playback on your Mac with Siri Remote

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 2, 2015

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could use the Siri Remote that came with your new Apple TV to control media applications on your Mac? After all, the remote is Bluetooth-based and Mac itself has robust support for Bluetooth networking.

With SiriMote, a new freeware app, now you can. Created by Vienna, Austria-based Eternal Storms Software’s Matthias Gansrigler, SiriMote lets you control various functions of the Mac using your Apple TV’s Siri Remote. Read More


Apple posts new “Hey Siri” and “Ridiculously Powerful” iPhone 6s adverts

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 1, 2015

Apple has posted two new advertisements on its YouTube channel to highlight features found on the iPhone 6s. The first spot, entitled “Hey Siri”, is a 30-second clip aimed at showcasing the revamped hands-free voice assistant functionality. The second spot, entitled “Ridiculously Powerful”, is a longer 1-minute ad that shows off the speed and power of Apple’s latest flagship phone.

Both new spots can be found over at Apple’s YouTube channel, or you can continue reading to check out the embeds. What are your thoughts on the ads? Do you find them effective? Read More


iPad Pro doesn’t support untethered ‘Hey Siri’

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 12, 2015

Although Apple’s iPad Pro Tech Specs webpage states in black and white that the device’s A9X system-on-a-chip includes an embedded ‘M9’ motion coprocessor, just like its A9 counterpart powering the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, the tablet doesn’t support untethered ‘Hey Siri’ functionality when not connected to power, AppleInsider discovered yesterday. Read More


How to preview flight information and track flights on iPhone, iPad and Mac

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 10, 2015

Aside from several headline feature additions, Apple’s iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan software updates contain a bunch of little gems, among them data detectors for flight information.

This permits iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Mac owners to quickly look up flight status information found in notes, messages and emails using a rich interface with flight trajectory, flight status, arrival times and other information.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to quickly preview the current status and other information pertaining to an airline and flight number, with or without leaving the context of what you’re currently doing. Read More


Siri gains Apple Music support on Apple TV, now can search and play music on latest beta

By Jeff Benjamin on Nov 9, 2015

Siri has apparently gained some new functionality for Apple TV, at least on the tvOS 9.1 beta. You can now direct the remote assistant to play any song or album directly from Apple Music, even if the song or album isn’t in your library. Siri can even search for songs on Apple Music, play Play Beats 1 radio, and more.

This makes Siri a lot more useful on Apple TV, and means that you don’t have to look at the interface to start playing a song that you want to hear. The lack of Siri integration for Apple Music has been a popular pain point for early adopters of 4th-generation Apple TV.

I’m running the 9.1 beta on my Apple TV. For the record, Siri search for music was said to come as an update early next year, so it’s highly likely that this could be a beta-only feature. Other iDB staffers have tried to replicate this functionality on tvOS 9.0 boxes to no avail.

Watch our video that shows Siri integration for Apple Music on the Apple TV…
Read More


iOS 9.2 to bring Arabic support for Siri

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 6, 2015

According to a new report by 9to5Mac, Apple’s upcoming iOS 9.2 software update will enable support for Arabic in Siri.

With last year’s iOS 8 update, Apple has paved the way for Siri in Arabic with Arabic support for iOS’s Dictation and QuickType keyboard features.

The full support for Arabic will allow local users not only to converse with Siri in Arabic but search for local places and businesses and more. Read More


Here’s why Siri on Apple TV only supports eight countries so far

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 4, 2015

The new Apple TV ships with the same remote everywhere but Siri on the set-top box is only supported in these eight languages and countries: English (Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, German (Germany), French (France), Spanish (Spain) and Japanese (Japan).

Why is that? After all, Siri on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad support the most basic features in a total of 29 countries, as per Apple’s iOS Feature Availability webpage.

Based on an interview that the German-language blog MacPrime conducted with several Apple TV project managers, it’s all about the differences in the pronunciation of actor names, films and directors in various countries. But rest assured, Apple is already hard at work on training the Apple TV’s Siri for additional countries. Read More


Bloomberg: Apple’s penchant for secrecy slowing down its AI development efforts

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 30, 2015

According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple’s artificial development efforts are being hampered by the company’s legendary penchant for secrecy as the company is finding it difficult to hire top engineers in the field.

While Apple researchers attended an artificial intelligence industry conference in Montreal last year, they kept a low profile and “didn’t say who they worked for unless asked.” Read More


New Apple TV lacking Siri search for Apple Music and App Store apps

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 29, 2015

As the new Apple TV is scheduled to hit Apple’s retail stores tomorrow, first reviews are now in. Journalists who were given a chance to spend some quality time with review units are praising evolutionary improvements to the living room experience while highlighting untapped potential for the refreshed $149 device.

One of the common complaints focuses on Siri and its inability to search apps for the Apple TV in a dedicated App Store. In addition, reports are noting that users won’t be able to search Apple Music with their voice at launch, the omission Apple claims will be addressed with a software update due at the beginning of next year. Read More


Apple posts hilarious new iPhone 6s ad with actor Bill Hader

By Cody Lee on Oct 27, 2015

Apple on Tuesday posted a new iPhone 6s commercial, highlighting the hands-free capabilities of the just-released smartphone. The ad stars Bill Hader, the long-time Saturday Night Live actor who appeared in Apple’s “Backstage” video at WWDC this year.

The spot demonstrates how users can tap Siri to read and respond to emails using voice commands, with a bit involving the well-known “foreign prince wants to help you get rich” scam. As you can imagine, it’s pretty entertaining. Watch the 30-second clip below. Read More


New television commercials highlight iPhone 6s camera upgrades and hands-free Siri

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 25, 2015

Less than two weeks following its iPhone 6s commercial that focused on 3D Touch, Apple’s begun rolling some new ads for the handset.

Adopting the dynamic and to-the-point format inaugurated by the previous ad, a trio of new commercials—titled “Crush,” “The Camera” and “Flip a Coin” and all starring actor and singer Jamie Foxx—showcase other iPhone 6s capabilities, like hands-free ‘Hey Siri’ and a variety of camera features. Read More


iPhone 6s conserves power by disabling untethered ‘Hey Siri’ when face down or in your pocket

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 23, 2015

Apple’s iPhone 6s has introduced an untethered ‘Hey Siri’ feature which allows for always-listening functionality even when the device isn’t charging, by utilizing the power-efficient M9 motion coprocessor to always listen for voice commands.

But as AppleInsider finds out, the handset automatically switches off untethered ‘Hey Siri’ when it’s in your pocket or face down on a table.

This is another trick in Apple’s arsenal of technologies to extend battery life. Read More


Apple acquires AI startup Perceptio

By Cody Lee on Oct 5, 2015

Following news last week that Apple acquired UK-based voice technology startup VocalIQ, Bloomberg reports that the company has also recently picked up AI startup Perceptio. A spokesman for Apple has confirmed the buyout with the usual boilerplate statement of “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Read More


Apple promises to open up universal search on Apple TV

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 5, 2015

When the new Apple TV launches toward the end of this month, it will allow viewers to use their voice to search movies and television shows across iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime and HBO. Fans of the device were initially concerned that the new box would offer preferential treatment to the aforesaid services. Thankfully, that won’t be the case.

As CEO Tim Cook noted in an interview this weekend with BuzzFeed News’s John Paczkowski, the new box will allow apps beyond launch partners to expose and make their content discoverable and searchable via iOS 9’s universal search feature.

It’s a crucial confirmation: content from other broadcasters and studios such as NBC, Disney and CNN must be exposed through the Apple TV’s Siri-based search if the device is to streamline the user experience. Read More

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