For a company that prides itself in protecting its users’ privacy, we imagine that Apple must have been mortified when a report surfaced that revealed that Apple had sent Siri recordings to outside contractors for analyzing. Following the report, Apple suspended the program and last we heard, they terminated the contractors that worked for them.
In July, a report from the Guardian revealed that Apple was sending Siri recordings to outside contractors. The company initially defending their decision, claiming that the analysis of the recordings were done to improve Siri, which we get, but the fact that they did not tell anyone kind of made it feel a bit shady.
Apple’s rollout of the HomePod has been a bit slow, where unlike its iPhones and iPads and Mac computers, the availability of the HomePod is still very much limited to a handful of countries. However, the company has been slowly expanding its availability and come 23rd of August, it seems that the HomePod will finally be making its way to Japan.
If there is a reason why digital assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant have a much bigger reach compared to Siri, it is because of companies like Amazon and Google who opened up their digital assistants to third-party developers pretty early on. Apple is slowly doing the same, and according to a report, Apple and Spotify are apparently in talks for deeper Siri integration.
A couple of weeks ago, a report from the Guardian revealed that a small percentage of Siri’s conversations were sent to outside contractors to analyze for improvement and quality control. The problem with this program is that it also sent in recordings users made while accidentally triggering Siri, meaning that these are not queries that users wanted to make in the first place.
These days a lot of our digital assistants can be activated using our voice and a trigger phrase. This is good because it no longer requires us to press a button to activate it, but at the same time, it has created some privacy issues, as per a report from the Guardian who claims that Siri accidentally overhears us more than we’d like.
Apple was the first to the market to launch a digital assistant for our smartphones. However, the feature did not exactly work as advertised at launch, and the fact that it was closed off to developers meant that Siri was extremely limited in its use. This led to competitors such as Amazon and Google to pull ahead of Apple in the digital assistant market.
At the moment, most of the major tech companies have their own digital voice assistants. Amazon has Alexa, Apple has Siri, Google has Google Assistant, Microsoft has Cortana, and Samsung has Bixby. Unsurprisingly, Facebook now wants in on the action and according to a report from CNBC, they have heard from their sources that the company is indeed developing its own voice assistant software.
When it comes to the digital assistant space, Siri is clearly behind the likes of Google Assistant and Alexa, both of whom are commanding pretty large market shares, largely thanks to their smart speakers. However it seems that Apple has plans to help improve on Siri with their latest acquisition.
If you use Waze on your iPhone, you might be interested in the latest update to the app in which it finally adds support for Siri Shortcuts. What this means is that with Siri Shortcuts, users will be able to record shortcuts for their drive home, drive to work, drive to their favorite locations, and more, all with a simple voice command to Siri.
These days there are certain things that you should not joke about if you don’t want to get into trouble with the law. For example joking about having a bomb on board an airlines could get you kicked off the flight and arrested. More recently a 13-year old boy was arrested after telling Siri he wanted to shoot up a school.
With iOS 12, Apple introduced Siri Shortcuts which was basically the company’s take on the Workflow app that they had previously acquired. Siri Shortcuts allows users to create shortcuts for certain actions, kind of like macros. The best part is that anyone can create a Siri Shortcut and share it with others.
We’ve heard that Apple could be working on a new set of AirPods. It is anyone’s guess as to what these new AirPods could feature, but if there is one feature that has more or less been confirmed, it would be support for the “Hey Siri” command where users can speak to Siri directly from the AirPods without having to tap on them.
#CES2019 – A couple of years ago, the headphones scene was very different. We were mostly treated to wired headphones that did pretty much what it was intended for. However these days with digital assistants being more commonplace, and with handset makers ditching the headphone jack, it is a very different scene.