This week Siri sprung their Spring Loaded event announcement before they sent out the invites, the inventor of PDF passed away, we talk hacks and scams and of course Nick and Simon talk to guest Jeff Gamet about all of that, Jeff’s new MacVoices string “Up to Speed with Jeff Gamet” and more.
Steve at Geeks Corner has a podcast which is usually a 5-15 min show of his thoughts on tech. Also keep an eye on his site or follow him on Twitter @GeekCorner_uk to watch for regular giveaways.
Why not come and join the Slack community? You can now just click on this Slackroom Link to sign up and join in the chatter!
Slacker @MacJim has a family friendly Flickr group for listeners to share photos because the Darkroom channel in the Slack has become so popular – if you’re interested head over to to the Essential Apple Flickr and request an invitation.
The official unveiling of the HomePod Mini and New Apple TV hardware is just hours away, thats if you believe the rumour mill from some well placed Apple leakers. Apparently the HomePod Mini and Apple TV will be able to track your location indoors
In a recent article published on iMore, Rene Richie makes a very valid point regarding the recent comparisons between SIRI and Amazon’s Alexa. The tech press does seem to have a massive love for Alexa from Amazon without ever seeming to quantify the slight issue that if you are outside the borders of the United States of America then ‘Hey Alexa’ gets you “diddly squat”.
I know that most tech publications are US-centric but I have even started noticing a few UK publications gleefully lamenting the fact that SIRI can’t compete with Alexa when it comes to digital assistants… if you omit the rather tiny issue of it not being available that is. Yes Alexa is soooooo much better, I mean it must be, it’s not made by Apple so QED better, right? If we had ever had the opportunity to try it I’m sure it would be better…
Starz has decided to go over the top and it has landed on iOS and Apple TV. The second most popular premium channel in the US, behind HBO but ahead of Showtime, is now available to subscribers for $8.99 a month, no cable television subscription required.
Siri on the Apple TV has had a somewhat stumbled rollout. The main culprit being Siri needing extra training from different parts of the globe pronounce names being the main culprit. That explanation is all well and good if you happen to live somewhere where that training has happened, and Siri is live on your Apple TV.
Thankfully there is a simple way to enable the new Apple TV’s excellent Siri support but are not in one of the eight supported countries, then you’re not completely out of luck.
Just in case you are wondering Siri is supported in the UK, US, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Spain or Japan.
Putting aside those useless headlines stating the obvious that dropping your glass covered remote on the floor may cause the glass to break (shock horror…physics and all that), Siri and Apple TV has more up it’s sleeve than you realise. Here’s some tips to make the best out of your Apple TV and Siri experience.
It seems that Apple’s digital assistant, Siri, might be tied into Apple music a little deeper than we realise. Unless you subscribe to the Apple music service you aren’t going to get answers to those pressing questions like who’s top of the charts.
If you bought a Ford with the carmakers sync infotainment system before Apple’s car play was available it might pay to check again. Granted it’s not full on Apple Air Play but Ford has added Siri’s Eye to legacy vehicles with the synch 3.8.
So the new iOS update dropped on us the other week and despite myriads of improvements not everybody is happy. One of the main gripes that I often gets to hear is that they don’t like the new Siri voice. Even though the new voices or of a higher quality and contain more information some people, for some unknown reason, want the old British Siri
in iOS 7 .1 Seery no has two new voices. Even in the UK we can now choose between male and female voices. So if you are a fan of the old voices this is how you get them back.
Adjusting the Siri Voice Settings
You can adjust Siri using the Siri options found in Settings > General > Siri. Click on Language and choose from the following:
English (United Kingdom).
English (United States).
If you miss the old Siri, we find English (Canada) to be more like the old Siri than the new English (United Kingdom) setting. Canadian Siri is not exactly the same as the old British Siri but has a less stuffy mannerism and a similar accent. To our mind using Siri in a different language doesn’t make much difference to its usability.
How To Change Siri’s Gender
You can now choose between Female and Male Siri voices. Before iOS 7.a the English (United States) voice was female and English (United Kingdom) was male. Follow these steps to change the Siri Voice Gender:
Tap Settings > General > Siri.
Tap Voice Gender.
Tap on Male or Female.
We find it best to hold down the Home Button and say “Hi, Siri” and ask it a few questions to get a feel for which Siri Accent and Voice Gender we prefer.
How to get the old Siri voice back on an iPhone
If the Canadian version of Siri still isn’t enough like the old Siri for you, and you want to hear the old version of Siri, then you can hear the old British Siri voice in Voice Control. Voice Control was the technology that preceded Siri, and it isn’t as powerful as Siri.
You access Control Control on the iPhone by turning Siri off. Note that this Siri trick only works on the iPhone, not the iPad:
Go to Settings > General > Siri.
Tap on Siri to turn it to Off..
A warning will appear that disabling Siri removes information from Apple Servers. Tap on Turn Off.
Siri will now no longer work, but if you hold down the Home button on the iPhone you will receive the Voice Control interface. This is like Siri and uses the Siri’s old voice. So have a good chat. Voice Control has much less functionality than Siri. Because Voice control it doesn’t tap into Apple servers it isn’t as good at detecting what you’re saying. We find it often tries to call people in our Contacts list, for example.
If you turn Siri back on it will take time for Apple servers to get your personal information back (Siri adjusts to your requests over time). So for a while Siri may not work as well as it did before.
Siri, so close to being a dream come true for speech recognition fanatics like myself yet so far. A times you are a technological marvel, recongising every sylable with ease. At other times a frustrating mess of repeating the most basic of phrases before giving up and resorting to using my fingers. With that being said, here’s some more advanced commands you might not be aware you can do with Siri.
It is fair to say I’m a huge fan of speech recognition software especially when it works. The sheer amount of time and effort that can be saved with a decent bit of voice recognition kit is unbelievable. As a fan of Dragon Dictate for the Mac platform I’ve been waiting for ages to get my chance to review Dragon Express and finally that day has come.
Is the App store offering, retailing at half the price of its bigger brother, actually any good? We put Dragon Express for the Mac through some rather tough tests and see how well it intergrates with the daily routine. During the testing period we went between singing the praises of the Dragon Express to sheer and utter frustration
Well everybody its now official, invites have been handed out by Apple (where’s ours eh) for the a launch even on the 7th March. Quite what’s going to be announced is anyone’s guess and I’m sure you’ve all seen the news and speculation on what it could be.
The race for smart TV gets more interesting, even before the release of Apple TV. Nuance, the makers of dragon dictate products and LG have announced a speech controlled TV set to be released in early May.
Essentialmac was there at the Nuance Wednesday press event hosted in London to get some idea of what Nuance have been up to the in the world of speech recognition and where they are heading. One of the most exciting announcements came in the form ofDragon TV.