LONDON – Apple customers in the UK might be feeling that Siri is just that little bit more human. It is reported that the digital assistant’s British female voice has been given an upgrade. Cult of Mac noticed a number of users commenting on the improvement to the voice on iPhone, iPad, and HomePod. The male voice was improved earlier in 2019.
Apple launched a mission to make Siri sound less robotic in 2017. The release of iOS 11 that fall brought big improvements to Siri’s voice in a number of markets, and the improvements have slowly but surely continued since then. Apple is thought to be using machine learning techniques to make its assistant sound more natural. It hasn’t changed the voice artists behind Siri — at least not for the British accents — but they now sound more human.
The employee will have the power to lead “rapid-response solutions” to fix problems with Siri that are trending or viral.
Thursday’s update to Siri Shortcuts got writer Lance Ulanoff wondering if the feature is actually widely misunderstood. He saw it in action, working with apps that made an Espresso on command or could order your favourite pizza. He posted a column on Medium about the demo, and how Siri Shortcuts works. He concluded that the “ability to take deep dives into disparate apps without even touching your phone” is “the most compelling aspect” of the feature.
Getting Siri to launch an action isn’t that surprising, but what iPhone and iOS 12 users might not realize is the extent to which Siri’s been watching them and using local machine learning to build up a potential library of Siri Shortcut actions. It starts pretty simply. If you drag your thumb down on your home screen, you’ll immediately see a collection of 4-to-8 apps selected by Siri as those you use most often. There are also those Siri Suggestions that helpfully popup on your lock-screen offering to, for instance, initiate a call that its gleaned from your schedule.
Bryan Chaffin and John Martellaro discuss Siri with host Kelly Guimont: Both what Siri should keep to herself and team leadership changes.
We have a deal on an Apple HomePod. This is Apple’s Siri-based speaker with a built-in subwoofer, 7 tweeters, and microphones to hear your commands for Siri. It retails for $349, and our deal is for $329. But, our friends at Stack Commerce gave us coupon code “HOMEPOD10” that will save 10%, for a checkout price of $296.10. Our link points to the Space Gray mode, but you can also choose the White version in the deal listing. Get it while you can.
Ms. Gura-Sini performed the voice for Nuance Communications, which Apple acquired in 2016. She said she only authorized the use of her voice for “legitimate” purposes.
Although the journal entry is highly technical in nature, it’s a fascinating glimpse into the technology underpinning the HomePod.
Last week Andrew Orr wrote about a patent that Apple filed regarding more offline Siri capability. He thinks the latest news about Silk Labs provides stronger evidence for that.
Andrew Orr and John Martellaro join host Kelly Guimont to talk about Offline Siri and the latest data breach, (this one involves text messages).
Spreaker Studio has added Siri Shortcuts to its app. The Spreaker Studio app transforms mobile devices into fully-equipped audio studios, offers anyone an easy way to broadcast from live events, share original music, create an audio blog or podcast series and connect with the world over shared passions. In addition to the ability to pre-record podcasts or broadcast live, users can add music and sound effects, interact with audiences via live chatbot and share across Facebook and Twitter. With the capabilities of iOS 12, Spreaker Studio now supports creation of user-generated commands and includes two ready-to-use shortcuts for hands-free podcast creation: “Record Audio,” which triggers capture, and “Broadcast Live,” which triggers simultaneous capture and publication of content. Users also benefit from the pairing of Siri Suggestions and Shortcuts in iOS 12, which enables Siri to learn users’ frequent in-app actions to predict and proactively prompt them in the future. App Store: Spreaker Studio – Free
Today’s Quick Tip is about Siri Suggestions in iOS 12. Have you seen reminders to call people back on your lock screen? Don’t like those prompts? We’ll tell you what to do!
An Apple patent application suggests that Apple would want Siri to someday work locally when it can. John explains why.
In order to pull this off your iPhone would need the necessary processing power, as well as a big enough offline knowledge database.
Dr. Mac thinks Siri has gotten smarter in Apple’s latest operating system releases — iOS 12, macOS 10.14 Mojave, and watchOS 5. Find out why in Episode #305 of Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves, only at the Mac Observer.
This update adds several actions covering weather, alarms, measurements, photos, as well as better HomePod functionality.
Siri is a fairly good AI, but the fact that it stumbled on some basics is a source of disappointment for John.
The iPhone and iPad version of the VPN app TunnelBear got an update this week that adds in support for autofilling passwords from RememBear, plus a new button for adding TunnelBear to Siri for voice control. Tapping the button creates a Siri Shortcut to connect to the last used TunnelBear server, and lets you record your own Siri trigger phrase. The TunnelBear app is free, and the VPN service is free for up to 500MB usage a month. The unlimited data plan costs US$9.99 a month, or $49.99 a year.
For today’s Quick Tip, we’re going to cover how to shut Siri up on the Apple Watch—and it doesn’t involve Silent Mode. If you’re easily embarrassed by your voice assistant shouting at you, then you’ll like this!
John Martellaro and Bryan Chaffin join Jeff Gamet to share their thoughts on how Apple will promote its streaming TV content and follow up on yesterday’s subscription TV overload discussion. They also look at competition in the artificial intelligence space with Google’s new Call Screen feature.
Bryan Chaffin and John Martellaro join Jeff Gamet to look at the responses to Bloomberg’s China spy chip report, and what could account for the strong denials from Apple and Amazon. They also look at the state of Siri on the voice assistant’s 7th anniversary.