Siri + AI

Big upgrade might bring control of individual apps through voice commands.

I’m in a tiny minority, I know, but I actually like Siri, Apple’s much-maligned voice assistant.

That’s because I use it only for a very limited set of tasks — setting timers, playing songs, asking for weather updates and a handful of other things.

Siri almost always works flawlessly for these things, and I don’t often get frustrated with it.

In fact, sometimes Siri is downright miraculous, like asking me through my AirPods if I want to start recording an exercise session when I forget to start it manually (which is more often than not). I respond with a simple “yes” and it just works.

I know this doesn’t sound particularly impressive, but this is exactly the kind of thing a smart assistant is supposed to do. Imagine if Siri were as smart about all the other things you forget or need to accomplish.

Hopefully, that’s about to happen, when Apple brings the power of LLMs to Siri in iOS 18 — due to be unveiled in a little over a week at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

Tidbits about Apple’s WWDC24 plans are starting to leak out, including making Siri capable of performing a much wider range of tasks inside apps. I, for one, am looking forward to a much smarter Siri.

Also in today’s newsletter:

  • The seemingly simple task of turning your iPhone off and on again has gotten more complicated with newer models. Here’s how to achieve this devilishly tricky thing. And don’t miss three secret iPhone gestures you should know.

  • We have a great sale on a great product: Save a whopping 40% on a comfy and durable magnetic Apple Watch band made from soft silicone — SwitchEasy’s Skin band is just $18 for a limited time. It’s the kind of band that would cost $50 or more from Apple.

  • There’s another great sale — and this is a rare one — on Sonos audio gear for Father’s Day. You can’t beat Sonos speakers. We have several around our house, including a great soundbar/subwoofer combo that rattles the rickety structure when cranked up.

  • I’ve never heard of Gallo Acoustics Micro Speakers, but apparently they’re great.

  • Don’t miss the first tweet in the “Tweetz o’ the day” section below. It describes how crazy counterfeit Apple gear has become these days. And take today’s poll: Have you ever bought knockoff Apple goods? I have. I got four sets of AirPods Pro 2 dirt cheap on eBay for my kids last Christmas. They look and sound almost perfect. We only found out they were knockoffs when my son took his to the local Apple Store for repair. Should’ve known the price was too good to be true.

— Leander Kahney, EIC.

A message from the Cult of Mac Store

A message from the Cult of Mac Deals team

Tweetz o’ the day

One more thing ...

And how are monopolies lost? Think about it. Some very good product people invent some very good products, and the company achieves a monopoly. But after that, the product people aren't the ones that drive the company forward anymore. It's the marketing guys or the ones who expand the business into Latin America or whatever. Because what's the point of focusing on making the product even better when the only company you can take business from is yourself? So a different group of people start to move up. And who usually ends up running the show? The sales guy. John Akers at IBM is the consummate example. Then one day, the monopoly expires for whatever reason. But by then the best product people have left, or they're no longer listened to. And so the company goes through this tumultuous time, and it either survives or it doesn't. Look at Microsoft -- who's running Microsoft? (Interviewer: “Steve Ballmer.”) Right, the sales guy. Case closed. And that's what happened at Apple, as well.

— Steve Jobs, 2004.

Today’s poll

Have you ever bought knockoff Apple gear?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Results from yesterday’s poll: Have you customized your Mac?

Best reader comments

Subscribe to The Weekender — Get the week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.

Join the conversation

or to participate.