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  • Apple removes Siri team lead as part of AI strategy shift

    I played with Alexa the other day on a friend's Sonos: I was impressed and amused. I have never been impressed by Siri. The actual speech parsing is good but the reaction to so many enquiries is just to display a web page on the display; this defeats the object in many cases. A rethink is overdue if Apple intends to compete in this area.
  • Rumor claims 2019 iPhone will get 10MP TrueDepth camera, stick to Lightning

    command_f said:
    I think the Lightning connector is physically superior to USB-C (having used an all-USB-C MBP since late 2016). I do see the need for USB-3 speeds, especially when setting-up a new phone or pad, but I continue to believe that Apple could engineer that into Lightning in a backwards-compatible fashion.

    Putting USB-C on the other end of the cable seems more important to me. With my MBP 2 years old and Apple's apparent drive for USB-C, I couldn't believe that my new iPhone XS needed a dongle to connect to my MBP. So let's have a brave drive for the future at the charger/host end of the cable first.
    You do not require a ”dongle” to plug the XS into your MBP, you simply need a cable. 
    You are technically correct of course. The point is that what comes in the box is not interoperable: a MacBook Pro and iPhone XS, out of their respective boxes, cannot be connected using the cable supplied. I said dongle because, living in the real world with a laptop, I have found essential, and bought, a USB-A dongle (well, two actually). I have also now bought a USB-C to Lightning cable.

    If Apple believes that USB-C is the future (and the MBP, plus statements at its launch, suggest that they do) then why does the iPhone, two generations later, not come with a USB-C charger and cable? Or with a USB-C cable in addition to the USB-A one (which would be analogous to the inclusion of a headphone dongle with previous generation iPhones).

    It's not the cost at issue, it's the lack of system thinking and integrated ecosystem that used to be a hallmark of Apple kit (the "it just works" bit)  Transitions are always difficult but Apple doesn't seem to be consistent on this one.
  • How do a pair of HomePods compare to a $180 soundbar?

    When comparing audio systems, it is essential to equalise the sound levels of the systems. At all reasonable levels, a louder playback will gain a quality advantage; this is down to the extra detail revealed by boosting the volume of the quieter parts. This is a common problem when trying to compare sound quality, be it of different systems or different versions (eg remastered CD vs original CD - it may not be a coincidence that remasters are usually louder than their predecessors).

    While they were playing at a lower level, the HomePods were disadvantaged (I think the story acknowledges that but it's a bit subtle in saying so).
  • Here are all the big changes to Apple Maps from 2017 through 2019

    2 points that makes Google Maps much more useful than Apple Maps.
     - the global coverage.  Apple announces support for public transport city by city, Google does it country by country.  At the pace Apple is announcing a global coverage of public transport will be for the next century
     - the integration with search engine.  You look for something in the search engine and the location is automatically available in the Google Maps on any device you have.
    For developers: integration in your own developments.
    And another:
     - Streetview. See your destination before you leave: my favourite example is when I was driving into Sydney for the first time, lots of traffic and lots of one-way streets. My hotel was on a block corner but where was its car park entrance? Once I knew that, I knew which one-way street to approach on.
  • Apple confirms iOS 12's 'USB Restricted Mode' will thwart police, criminal access [u]

    I prefer to think of this as keeping out the bad guys. In my book, in the UK, that doesn't include the security agencies. YMMV.

    However, it's a Good Thing that Apple is doing this, the agencies should have (be given) different and better methods. Interestingly, the ex-head of GCHQ (UK's equivalent of NSA) is on record as opposing backdoors: he says they're technically difficult and and open to abuse ( About what has been said here in the past.

    BTW The original story is here (but it may not be accessible outside the UK):https//