Trapped In The Terminal — Mac Geek Gab 901

This week John and Dave find themselves trapped in the Terminal. Will your two favorite geeks escape? Press play to find out as they dig through a few Terminal commands, new and old, invoke some Shortcuts, talk about self-service repairs, empty the Trash, solve a draining battery, and more! You’re guaranteed to learn five new things or your money back!

A Quick Tips & Cool Stuff Found Bonanza! — Mac Geek Gab 893

You folks filled the mailbag this week with some of the best Quick Tips and Cool Stuff Found your two favorite geeks have seen in a while. Listen as John and Dave share your tips (and theirs) about iOS 15 Focus, Safari 15 Tab Groups, Refunds on AppleCare+, Follow-up Siri Commands, document scanning, iPhone cases, portable speakers, and running your own DVR the easy way. And they even have some time left to answer your questions, too! You’ll have no trouble learning five new things this week. Press play and enjoy.

Microsoft Purchasing Siri Partner Nuance

Microsoft announced Monday that it is purchasing AI firm Nuance. In a blog post, the company highlighted how this increases its progress in the cloud healthcare space. It’s also notable as Nuance’s technology was the foundation for Siri.

Microsoft’s acquisition of Nuance builds upon the successful existing partnership between the companies that was announced in 2019. By augmenting the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare with Nuance’s solutions, as well as the benefit of Nuance’s expertise and relationships with EHR systems providers, Microsoft will be better able to empower healthcare providers through the power of ambient clinical intelligence and other Microsoft cloud services. The acquisition will double Microsoft’s total addressable market (TAM) in the healthcare provider space, bringing the company’s TAM in healthcare to nearly $500 billion. Nuance and Microsoft will deepen their existing commitments to the extended partner ecosystem, as well as the highest standards of data privacy, security and compliance. “Nuance provides the AI layer at the healthcare point of delivery and is a pioneer in the real-world application of enterprise AI,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “AI is technology’s most important priority, and healthcare is its most urgent application. Together, with our partner ecosystem, we will put advanced AI solutions into the hands of professionals everywhere to drive better decision-making and create more meaningful connections, as we accelerate growth of Microsoft Cloud in Healthcare and Nuance.”

Three Annoying Apple Problems on the Way to Being Fixed

We all have particular bugbears with certain Apple products or services – the things that don’t work quite how we want. Over at MacWorld, Dan Moren lists three that are on their way to being fixed – the Apple TV remote, upgrades to Siri, and a battery health reporting in iPhone 11s.

One thing that surprised but didn’t delight owners of iPhone 11 series handsets was an issue reporting the health of their batteries. In some cases that meant the battery draining too fast or performance being degraded—but the bug, as it turned out, issued from software, not the batteries themselves. Apple says iOS 14.5 will attempt to rectify this issue by re-calibrating the battery health reporting system on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Siri on iOS 14.3 Can Mimic Sounds Like Animals

When you download iOS 14.3 released on Monday, ask Siri if she can quack like a duck. CNBC says she will play a short audio clip of a quacking duck. However, when I asked her she played me an album from Apple Music called “Quack Like a Duck.” But I don’t think I worded it correctly. Ask “What does <blank> sound like?”

If you ask “what does the fox say?”, Siri may simply quote the song that became a YouTube hit in 2013. But asking “what does a fox sound like” brings up an actual call from an arctic fox, which sounds like someone whooping.

Hints of an Apple Search Engine Resurface

A report in the Financial Times (which is paywalled so I’m linking to TechCrunch) claims that Apple could be creating an Apple search engine. Or, maybe the company is instead improving search for Siri or Spotlight.

Apple is now showing its own search results and linking directly to websites when users type queries from its home screen in iOS 14. For context, this is a behavior that has been known for a while as people have seen the feature pop up in beta versions of iOS. And the search volume being up on Apple’s crawler is something that Jon Henshaw of Coywolf had noted back in August.

I’m going with the “improving Siri and Spotlight” take. Apple isn’t known for creating products outside its ecosystem (Music on Android and Apple TV on other devices notwithstanding).

Will we see an Apple Search Engine in the Future?

Jon Henshaw of Coywolf speculates that we may see an Apple search engine in the future based on several factors.

Apple is investing heavily in search, as shown in their job postings for search engineers. The job listings reveal they incorporate AI, ML, NLP, and more into all of their services and apps.

In July 2020, Apple published a significant update to its About Applebot support page. The additions are very similar to the details Google provides to webmasters and SEOs.

It’s an interesting idea, for sure. It could be an Apple search engine, or Apple adding improvements to Siri.