How to get the most out of Siri on your Apple TV

Use the power of your voice to watch TV. That’s not just something out of Star Trek, but the promise of Siri on the fourth-generation Apple TV. Beyond the basic commands to find your favorite TV show, you might not know how much Siri can actually do for you. But using Siri Apple TV voice […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


Amazon Echo will soon integrate with Nexia automation devices

Nexia has announced that they will be integrating with Amazon Echo in Q1, 2016, allowing customers to control automations in their house by simply talking to the device. Read more…

T-Mobile gets the snappily-named ‘Alcatel OneTouch Fierce XL with Windows 10 Mobile’

The ‘OneTouch Fierce XL with Windows 10 Mobile’ will be the first handset running Microsoft’s new OS to join T-Mobile’s range, with a 5.5-inch display, Snapdragon 210, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, and more. Read more…

New iPhone app Yallo lets you record your conversations

When I first became a reporter, I bought one of those little mics you could suction-cup to a telephone to record interviews. That was some gadget, except for having to tape it to the handset because the suction cup sometimes popped off. You can still buy this kind of microphone or use your smartphone with […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


Apple Releases iOS 9.2 With Safari View Controller Improvements, AT&T NumberSync Support and Bug Fixes

Apple today released iOS 9.2 to the public, marking the second major update to the iOS 9 operating system since its September launch. Prior to being released, iOS 9.2 was in testing since late October after being seeded to developers and public beta testers one week after the launch of iOS 9.1.

Today’s iOS 9.2 release is available as an over-the-air update to all iOS 9 users. Though it is the second major update, iOS 9.2 is actually the fourth update to iOS 9 in total, following the launches of iOS 9.0.1, iOS 9.0.2, and iOS 9.1. Xcode 7.2 is also available today.

iOS 9.2 includes a huge list of bug fixes, which we’ve outlined below.

This update contains improvements and bug fixes including:

– Apple Music improvements

–You can now create a new playlist when adding a song to a playlist

–Your most recently changed playlist is now listed at the top when adding songs to playlists

–Download albums or playlists from your iCloud Music Library by tapping the iCloud download button

–See which songs have been downloaded with the new download indicator next to each song in My Music and Playlists

–See works, composers, and performers while browsing Classical music in the Apple Music catalog

– A new Top Stories section in News so you can stay up to date with the most important news of the day (available in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia)

– Mail Drop in Mail for sending large attachments

– iBooks now supports 3D Touch to peek and pop pages from the table of contents, your notes and bookmarks, or from search results inside a book

– iBooks now supports listening to an audiobook while you browse your library, read other books, or explore the iBooks Store

– iPhone support for the USB Camera Adapter to import photos and videos

– Improved stability of Safari

– Improved stability of Podcasts

– Fixing an issue that caused mail attachments to be inaccessible for some users with POP email accounts

– Resolving an issue for some users that caused attachments to overlap text in mail

– Fixing an issue where Live Photos could have turned off after restoring from a previous iCloud backup

– Addressing an issue that could cause search in Contacts to display no results

– Resolving an issue that could have prevented Calendar from displaying all seven days in week view

– Fixing an issue where Camera screen on iPad could be black when attempting to capture video

– Addressing an issue that could cause instability in the Activity app when viewing the day of Daylight Savings Time transition

– Fixing an issue that could prevent data from appearing in Health

– Fixing an issue that could prevent Wallet updates and Lock screen alerts from displaying

– Addressing an issue where updating iOS could prevent an alarm from going off

– Fixing an issue where some users were unable to login to Find my iPhone

– Fixing an issue that prevented some manual iCloud Backups from completing

– Addressing an issue where using the iPad keyboard could unintentionally trigger text selection mode

– Improved keyboard responsiveness when using Quick Reply

– Improved punctuation input on the 10-key Chinese (Pinyin & Stroke) keyboards with new expanded view of punctuation symbols and better predictions

– Fixing an issue on Cyrillic keyboards where caps lock would be enabled when typing in URL or email fields

– Siri support for Arabic (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates)

– Accessibility improvements

–Fixing issues with VoiceOver when using Camera face detection

–Adding support for VoiceOver to wake up the screen

–Adding support for VoiceOver to invoke app switcher with 3D Touch gesture

–Fixing an issue with Guided Access when trying to end phone calls

–Improved functionality for Switch Control users when using 3D Touch

–Fixing an issue with speech rate of Speak Screen

Beyond bug fixes, iOS 9.2’s biggest change is a tweak to the way the Safari View Controller works within third-party apps. The Safari View controller is what allows a pop-up Safari window to be used within third-party apps, and with iOS 9.2, the Safari View Controller supports third-party Action Extensions, letting apps like 1Password to be accessed in the Safari view of other apps like Tweetbot.

In the Hipchat app for iOS, clicking a link brings up an in-app browser. In iOS 9.1, seen on the left, there’s no option for third-party extensions. In iOS 9.2, seen on the right, there’s support for third-party extensions like 1Password.

The Safari View Controller has also been updated with the ability to long tap on the Reload button to reload content without content blockers and it now supports the request desktop site function and an edge swipe to dismiss the Safari window.

iOS 9.2 also includes support for AT&T’s NumberSync Wi-Fi calling feature, allowing AT&T users to accept calls on any device even when their phone is not nearby.

Related Roundup: iOS 9
Tag: iOS 9.2
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Ford adds Siri Eyes Free functionality to 5 million of its cars

The Apple Car may be a few years off, but a new deal signed between Ford and Apple is bringing Siri to 5 million more cars. According to a new report, a software update available today means that any Ford owners who bought a Ford car with SYNC functionality after 2011 can take advantage of […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


Skype integration preview included in the Windows 10 November update

Two new apps start the ‘The Consumer Preview of Skype Integration for Windows 10’. Instantly reply from notifications and continue conversations from your existing Skype conversation history. Read more…

New Study Finds Siri More Distracting Than Google Now While Driving

Siri and other voice-activated systems can cause potentially unsafe mental distractions lasting several seconds while driving, according to a new research study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Siri’s score of 3.4 on the five-point scale is considered more distracting than Google Now’s 3.0 score, but less distracting than Microsoft Cortana, which received a 3.8 rating.

AAA’s mental distraction rankings also included vehicles, ranging from the least distracting Chevy Equinox at 2.4 to the Mazda 6 at 4.6, which is nearly the highest level of cognitive distraction. The study found that mental distractions can persist for as long as 27 seconds after using hands-free or voice-activated systems, as drivers readjust to the task of driving.

“The lasting effects of mental distraction pose a hidden and pervasive danger that would likely come as a surprise to most drivers,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “The results indicate that motorists could miss stop signs, pedestrians and other vehicles while the mind is readjusting to the task of driving.”

Researchers found that potentially unsafe levels of mental distraction can last for as long as 27 seconds after completing a distracting task in the worst-performing systems studied. At the 25 MPH speed limit in the study, drivers traveled the length of nearly three football fields during this time. When using the least distracting systems, drivers remained impaired for more than 15 seconds after completing a task.

AAA’s mental distraction rankings while driving are broken down into five categories:

Category 1: About the same as listening to the radio or an audio book
Category 2: About the same as talking on the phone
Category 3: Equivalent to sending voice-activated texts on an error-free system
Category 4: About the same as uploading social media
Category 5: Highly challenging, scientific test designed to overload a driver’s attention

The study did not include the latest in-dash systems such as CarPlay or Android Auto.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety published Phase I and Phase II of this study over the past few years. In the second phase, the foundation found Siri’s high complexity and low intuitiveness resulted in some of the highest levels of mental distraction compared to other in-car tasks such as adjusting the radio or navigating complex menus.



HomeKit makes Philips Hue smartbulbs even cooler

If you’re even slightly interested in having smart lighting for your house, the new Philips Hue bridge, which supports Apple’s HomeKit automated-home framework, should be in your shopping cart right now. Controlling your lights from your phone is one level of crazy future-stuff, but doing it with your voice drops you into an episode of […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)