Essential Apple Podcast 217: When Siri Sprung Spring Loaded

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.


  • Glenn Fleishman’s book Take Control of Securing Your Mac can be found at along with many other titles by him, Joe Kissell, Jeff Carlson and others.
  • 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.

Continue reading → Essential Apple Podcast 217: When Siri Sprung Spring Loaded

Apple Getting Serious About SIRI?

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…

Continue reading → Apple Getting Serious About SIRI?

How To Enable Siri On Apple TV 4 In Unsupported Countries

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.

Continue reading → How To Enable Siri On Apple TV 4 In Unsupported Countries

Siri New iOS voices

How To Get Back Siri’s Old Voices in iOS 7.1

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:

Siri Language How To Get Back Siris Old Voices in iOS 7.1

English (Canada).
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.

Siri Settings How To Get Back Siris Old Voices in iOS 7.1


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.

Voice Control How To Get Back Siris Old Voices in iOS 7.1


Advanced Siri Commands, Dealing With Numbers, Paragrahs, New Lines and No Spaces

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.

Continue reading → Advanced Siri Commands, Dealing With Numbers, Paragrahs, New Lines and No Spaces

Nuance Dragon Express Review : A week of talking to the Mac

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.

Dragon Express Window Nuance Dragon Express Review : A week of talking to the Mac

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

Continue reading → Nuance Dragon Express Review : A week of talking to the Mac

Nuance Dragon TV The Apple iTV Competitor?

Dragon TV Speech Controlled TV Coming In May Before Apple’s iTV

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.

Nuance Dragon TV Dragon TV Speech Controlled TV Coming In May Before Apples iTV

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.

Continue reading → Dragon TV Speech Controlled TV Coming In May Before Apple’s iTV

Siri Double Data Usage

Bloomberg : Apple’s Siri Feature Doubles IPhone Data Usage

According to a somewhat vauge report at Bloomberg, iPhone 4s phone users consume double the data of iPhone 4 users thanks, mainly, to Siri.

Network analyst Arieso claims that the voice navigation software could see users incur significantly higher bills, and mobile networks struggle with the volume of data being transmitted.

Arieso reached the conclusion after analysing the data usage of one million smartphone owners on an unnamed European network.

Continue reading → Bloomberg : Apple’s Siri Feature Doubles IPhone Data Usage