Amazon is working on a new Echo designed to compete directly with Apple’s HomePod, and it’s expected to ship this fall.
Amazon is relying on its own smart home consultants to help make it only place you go shopping.
In Amazon’s perfect world, Alexa would be able to talk to Siri, and that this would be good for customers.
Read on to learn how to link Alexa and your Echo or Echo Dot to iCloud Calendar.
With connected devices and voice assistants becoming more common in our households, children are seeing them as friends. Sometimes, they might even see the device as a trusted confidant. Could that encourage legislators to make the devices report child abuse? Jeff Butts has been thinking hard about that, and suggests it might not be a terrible idea.
Amazon’s Alexa Calling feature works great on the Echo and Echo Dot, from the testing TMO staff have done so far. Jeff Butts and Jeff Gamet also took the time to check out how the feature works from the Alexa app on the iPhone. Here’s what they found out, and how you can use it, too.
Apple, Amazon, and Google want voice assistants to be a bigger part of our lives. Jeff Butts and John Martellaro join Jeff Gamet to look at the social and privacy implications as voice assistant appliances become more deeply intertwined in our lives.
The conceit of AI agents like Alexa, Cortana, Google Home and Siri is that they are to be always listening, invited to be treated as trusted family members. Or the loyal computer of our family’s starship. John Martellaro doesn’t like these analogies at all.
With Alexa Show and Microsoft Invoke, Bryan and Jeff envision the Siri smarthome of the future to make the case for an Apple Siri device. They also talk about what Apple might do with sleep tracking technology from Beddit, as well some sexy new renders of Apple’s unannounced iPhone 8.
With Amazon Alexa being joined in our living rooms by Google Assistant and now Microsoft Cortana, it’s clear that Apple needs to step up to the plate and take back the home. Jeff Butts makes the case for why Cupertino needs to develop an Echo-like device for Siri.
The biggest un-surprise of the day comes from Amazon and its just announced Echo Show. The well-leaked new Echo model includes a built-in display and camera so you can get visual responses to your Alexa queries and make video calls, too.
If Apple really is making an Amazon Echo competitor, what does their Siri speaker appliance really need? According to Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller, it needs a screen.
Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus joins Bryan and Jeff to talk about his new book, Working Smarter for Mac Users. It’s all about beating procrastination. They also talk about Apple, toasterfridges, and touch-screen Macs, and whether Apple would compete with Amazon’s Alexa in the home.
Will Apple release an Alexa-like device as a Siri-powered hub? Bryan Chaffin and John Martellaro join Dave Hamilton to discuss how wrong the latter two are. They also chew over Apple’s escalating royalty battle with Qualcomm.
Several things have become clear regarding AIs in our lives. There is little regulation. AIs can be manipulated in clever ways. Small devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo have very indirect business models so that they can be priced for the middle class, but have hidden drawbacks. John wonders where all this will lead with family service robots if Apple doesn’t step in and do it right.
Say hello to the first standalone device to give you the Alexa assistant, OK Google, and plenty more. The folks at Indiegogo have more than funded the Clarity Speaker. Still, you can preorder yours until the end of April 2017. One great thing about Clarity is you get a portable Bluetooth and Wi-FI speaker with a seven-inch fully-featured touchscreen. Additionally, Clarity includes a built-in Alexa assistant and “OK Google” functionality. It’s also a fully functional Android tablet, running Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Clarity Speaker is extremely portable, weighing less than two pounds. The device is powered by a quad-core processor. Clarity includes two 5-watt speakers and a 2MP camera. Internally, you’ll have access to 16GB of memory. You can expand storage with a micro SD card. The speaker is available for preorder at US $149 until April 30, 2017. The regular retail price is $199, and the device begins shipping in June.
If you use the Amazon app on your iPhone to shop you can use it to talk to Alexa, too, even if you don’t own an Echo or Echo Dot. The online retailer is rolling out in-app Alexa support for iPhone users over the next week which means pretty much everything you do with an Echo or Echo Dot can happen right on your smartphone.
Amazon filed a motion to block a search warrant demanding recordings from an Echo in its ongoing fight to protect user privacy. The warrant is part of a Bentonville, Arkansas homicide investigation, and Amazon says communication with the Echo and its Alexa voice interface are protected as free speech by the First Amendment.
Siri started out with a female voice exclusively, but now it can be changed to male. Alexa uses only a female voice. Cortana’s voice, for now, is strictly female. Why is that? Is it sexism? Is it for better intelligibility? John looks into the matter.
In the battle of virtual personal assistants, Apple and Amazon have strong contenders. Which one is “smarter,” though, Siri or Alexa? Perhaps it’s too early to really call the race, since both personal assistants keep growing and evolving. Be that as it may, Jeff Butts has put both through their paces, and shares his thoughts.