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Just when you thought the dust has settled over Apple’s digital personal assistant, Siri, and the company’s Google Maps replacement software in iOS, latest reports once again pan the two services over gross inaccuracies.
Worse, these stories paint Apple Maps and Siri in a not-so-favorable light – and very publicly, too.
The first report comes from Alaska and warns about people looking for directions to the Fairbanks International Airport, only to be instructed to drive onto an airport taxiway, which is located directly across the runway where airplanes take off and land….
According to AlaskaDispatch:
Twice in the past three weeks drivers from outside Fairbanks who relied on the iPhones built-in map app to get to the airport have driven onto Taxiway Bravo and proceeded to drive across the main runway. No one has been injured and Apple promises a fix by Wednesday.
The airport’s chief of operations, Melissa Osborn, warned Apple Maps instructed people to drive straight onto the airport taxiway. “These folks drove past several signs,” she said. “They even drove past a gate. None of that cued them that they did something inappropriate”.
Just out of curiosity, how come these folks did not notice they were being directed to the taxiway? I mean, it’s obviously not something one’d easily fail to grasp.
After airport personnel, police and the TSA converged on the driver of a rental car during the Sept. 6 daylight runway crossing, the airport staff complained through the attorney general’s office to Apple.
The airport has since closed the aircraft access route to Taxiway Bravo from the Float Pond Road. Even though Apple did promise a prompt fix by Wednesday, it was nowhere to be seen at press time, as per reports form the Apple legal department to the attorney general’s office and Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.
I’m not sure why exactly it’s taking Apple that long to respond.
At the very least, Apple should have temporarily disabled those specific directions until the Maps team is able to correct such a downright dangerous error. If anything, Apple’s numerous job posts for Ground Truth specialists indicates the company’s willingness to put more experts on the Maps team to deal with these inaccuracies.
Keep in mind that Apple partners with dozes of local data providers so correcting a specific error involves paperwork and is not a simple matter of flipping a few switches.
Meanwhile, Siri continues to experience issues of its own.
Conan O’Brien had actress Jane Lynch on his show yesterday night, who didn’t mince words describing her first world problem with Siri. Specifically, she said Siri told her “I have no listing for Let Pam Cookie Ian” when asked for directions to Le Pain Quotidien.
Lynch and O’Brien then did some live Siri tests that didn’t go down well.
We’ve all been there and it’s no secret Siri isn’t perfect.
But when your personal digital assistant gets ridiculed on mainstream late-night shows whose audiences count tens of millions of people, bad press is unavoidable.
In Siri’s defense, O’Brien didn’t do her justice by allowing Lynch to converse with Siri using his own phone. As you know, Siri adapts herself to the user’s unique voice signature and pronunciation, getting better over time.
Siri understands its owner best so voices new to her tend to yield poorer results. Regardless, Apple should be credit for improving Siri in iOS 7 in a number of ways.
For instance, she can now search the web, images and Wikipedia inline, has higher-quality male and female voices, can change your phone and app’s settings and responds faster, thanks to backend improvements.
Also helping Siri is Apple’s use of Multipath TCP networking in iOS 7 which helps the digital assistant automatically switch between Wi-Fi or cellular connection on the fly, depending on network conditions.
By the way, here’s Team CoCo’s take on the iPhone 5s and its fingerprint scanner.
Funny or not?
I’m torn because I love the new iPhone5S’s fingerprint scanner, but I also want to get away with some murders.
— Conan O’Brien (@ConanOBrien) September 15, 2013
Signing off, it’s worth mentioning we heard rumors of Apple potentially supplanting Siri’s Nuance speech recognition with an in-house technology of its own. And to help fine-tune the regional differences in language, Apple has filed for a patent on integrating geolocation with Siri’s speech recognition.
Just out of curiosity, do you use Siri much these days?
You're reading Apple Maps And Siri Woes Again Make Headlines
Maps on Apple Watch is probably one of those apps you only open when you really need it. Maybe you need directions or want to look up a recent spot. But you can explore Maps on Apple Watch just like you would on your iPhone or Mac.
Of course you can do things like see your spot on a map if you’re traveling and in an unfamiliar location. But you can also get the hours or phone number for a nearby business or check out one of the curated city guides introduced with iOS 14.
Make the most of the Maps app on your Apple Watch with these helpful tips.Maps on Apple Watch
1. Quickly find a nearby business
One of the best features of any map app is seeing popular or common businesses near your current location. You don’t have to spend time searching for a coffee shop or gas station. These types of places are only a tap away with Maps on Apple Watch.
Open Maps on your Watch and tap Search. Right below your search options you’ll see a section for Nearby that offers locations like restaurants, pharmacies, hotels, and more.
Tap the type of spot you want, select one from the results, and then get details or directions.
2. See location details
It’s not always about how to get somewhere, but when you can go, how long it will take, and if it’s worth the trip.
Tap any location to get details that include hours, directions and travel time with various transportation types, the phone number, address, and of course, its spot on the map. Also powered by Yelp and TripAdvisor, you can see the star rating for the location and tap to see reviews. (Note: You may have to open your iPhone to read the Yelp reviews.)
3. Search your favorite way
If you don’t see the type of nearby location you need or have an exact address, you can perform a search. And you can use the Maps search feature in a few ways, so use the one that’s most convenient for you.
Tap Search and then pick the Microphone icon to dictate or the Scribble icon to jot it down with your finger. But don’t forget about your handy virtual assistant! Yes, you can use Siri on Apple Watch to search for a location. Access Siri on your wrist as you normally would and make your request.
4. View your surroundings
If you’re traveling and want to view your current area, this is also easy in Maps on your Watch. Tap Location, to the right of Search. Your current spot will pop up on the map and from there, you can do the following.
Use the Digital Crown to zoom out and back in.
Double-tap to zoom in.
Drag with your finger to move about the map.
Tap and hold to add a pin.
Tap a pin to view the location details.
Tap the three dots in the bottom right corner to search within your area or get a transit map.
5. Browse city guides
With iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, Apple brought a nice feature to maps for curated city guides. These guides help you find great places to visit in major cities around the world. Any guides that you find and save on your iPhone or iPad are also available on your Apple Watch.
Open Maps on your Watch and scroll down below Favorites to see your Guides. This section includes both guides you’ve saved from before and after upgrading to iOS 14. So if you saved other places, those will be in the list with the city guides too.
The Maps app has a connection to your Contacts app. So if you want to see a friend’s address, or even give them a call, you can also do this in Maps.
In Maps on your Watch, tap Search. Then tap the Contacts icon and select someone. You can call them, message them, or send an email. And if you scroll below those options, you’ll see their address. Note: You’ll need their address stored in your Contacts app.
If you want to see a contact’s current location, you’ll use the Find My app. Check out our tutorial for using Find My on Apple Watch for your friends and family.
Take control of Maps on Apple Watch
Whether you want to do more with Apple Maps on your Watch, or even less, here are some helpful articles to help you control how Maps works on Apple Watch.Wrapping it up
Obviously, you can see your Favorites in Maps on Apple Watch and get directions quickly. But Maps offers up a lot more on the Watch than you might expect. So the next time you’re in a hurry for a quick bite to eat or simply want to browse your city guides, don’t forget about Maps on Apple Watch!
What are your favorite features of Apple Maps on your Watch? Are there any features you think are missing and hope to see in the future? Share your thoughts below or hit us up on Twitter or Facebook!
Smarts tailored to iOS users
Comfortable to wear
Incredible beamforming mic technologyCons
Doesn’t fit all ears perfectly
No custom eartips
Mid-range audio qualityOur Verdict
The second-gen AirPods are a great iterative upgrade, offering improved connection speed, talk time and Hey Siri support, although a lack of improvements in the audio department will leave audiophiles wanting more.Best Prices Today: Apple AirPods
Apple’s second-gen AirPods are more of a refinement than a reimagining of the original model, but I’m sure there’s enough here to tempt consumers.
The H1 chip makes the new AirPods faster, more responsive and capable of handling hands-free Siri activation, improving the industry-leading experience Apple created back in 2023, and there’s wireless charging this time around too – well, at least there was until the release of the third-gen AirPods, at which point Apple pulled the wireless charging variant of the AirPods 2 from sale.
But despite providing a great overall experience, the second-gen AirPods aren’t the perfect earbuds for everyone.Design: Wait, what’s new again?
You’ll struggle to notice the physical differences between the first- and second-gen AirPods, and that’s because, in terms of design, there’s no real change. That’s not a bad thing; the bright-white-and-chrome AirPods are iconic at this point, featuring a clean, premium look and long stems that, along with the iPhone’s notch, are becoming a big part of Apple’s design history.
The earbuds themselves are very comfortable, not protruding too far into your ear canals, and the stem that so many other manufacturers have ditched not only helps keep the buds secure in your ears, but improves the beamforming mic technology too. This makes them easy to put in and take out, and that simplicity is often underrated by consumers, especially compared to smaller earbuds like the Pixel Buds.
Of course, the simplicity of the AirPods has a downside: they don’t provide the perfect seal for everybody. Ears, like fingerprints, are fairly unique, so creating a design that works for everyone is a challenge. Apple has done an admirable job, but it’s not perfect. They stay secure most of the time, but I’ve found that I have to adjust the position of the earbuds every now and again to get the optimal seal.
I can’t help but wonder how much the experience would be improved if Apple included swappable eartips like it does on the superior AirPods Pro, providing a more secure seal while also providing passive noise cancellation.
And just like the buds themselves, the design of the AirPod charging case has been largely unchanged.
The charging case is well-designed, sporting a satisfying magnet seal to keep your buds secure and contact charging to keep your them topped up, while somehow managing to pack a battery providing 24 hours of charge into an exceptionally small form factor.
There was initially a more premium case available, with wireless charging and an LED on the front to let you know when it’s charging, but Apple took it off sale when it released the updated third-gen AirPods, meaning you can only get a basic charging with Lightning support right now.Features: It’s all about ease of use
The main reason why people like AirPods so much is arguably not the audio quality, but the ease of use and the overall experience the wireless earbuds provide.
The setup process takes seconds; open the lid of the charging case, unlock your iPhone or iPad (running iOS 12.2 or later) and follow the on-screen prompts to pair the device to your smartphone and link it to your Apple ID. From that point, it’ll be able to automatically connect to any Apple device linked to your Apple ID.
But it’s not just the setup that’s focused around simplicity; small features, like automatically pausing music when you take an earbud out and resuming playback when you put it back in, or automatically switching from stereo to mono output with no drop in connection when you’re wearing a single AirPod, are what make the AirPod experience stand out from practically every other pair of true wireless earbuds on the market.
That has been further enhanced with the second-gen AirPods thanks to the upgraded H1 chipset, bringing improvements to synchronisation and responsiveness that provides a generally quicker experience that’ll allow for low latency connectivity when playing games and watching movies – around 30 percent lower than the originals, according to Apple.
The H1 chip also brings enhancement to battery life, but it’s not as clear cut as you might expect; like the originals, you’ll get an average of five hours of charge listening to music, but average talk time has increased from two to three hours. That’s probably not exciting for everyone, but it’s good news for the chattier amongst us – especially those stuck in virtual meetings all day long.
There’s no change in the 24-hour life the charging case provides, but that’s still an industry average in 2023, with few offering longer battery life than the AirPods.
Another new addition is the same ‘Hey Siri’ always-listening tech used in iOS, iPadOS and macOS devices. This allows you to activate the virtual assistant simply by saying ‘Hey Siri’ – ideal for those times when you’ve got your hands full and need to reply to an incoming text, read out by Siri in your ear.
Apple’s virtual assistant works impressively well, and that’s largely down to the beamforming mics. The mics built into the AirPods do an incredible job at filtering out noise and focusing on your voice, even in loud environments, which is great news both for Siri use and taking calls when out and about.
There were certainly no complaints about call clarity or quality from recipients during my tests, and it’s something unmatched by most other true wireless earbuds on the market right now. There’s a reason why most video call interviewees on TV at the moment are using AirPods!
Crucially, the Bluetooth connection is consistent, with no annoying drop-outs in busy signal areas, something that many rivals suffer from – especially as the earbud form factor gets smaller and smaller – so it’s quite the feat from Apple. It might not sound like much, but it’ll negate those annoying quiet moments during your favourite songs.Audio: Same old, same old
Somewhat disappointingly, there’s not much of a change in the audio department. The second-gen AirPods sound almost identical to the first-gen earbuds, although I have noticed that the overall volume has increased compared to the original buds.
While some will inevitably be disappointed that Apple hasn’t improved on what is the most important part of an audio product, the AirPods – both first- and second-gen – do produce decent quality audio, it’s just not the best.
As with the originals, the new AirPods are suited to a wide range of music, though the output is tailored to favour bassy tones. That’s not a problem for those that love bassy music as it provides a more immersive experience, but it does so at a sacrifice of overall clarity.
It goes without saying the AirPods won’t be able to emulate the crisp audio of high-end headphones double the price, but even at a similar price, there are better-sounding wireless earbuds available right now.
But, the seamless connection with Apple devices is a huge selling point, as is the smart experience on offer. Apple is more focused on providing a well-rounded experience, from setup to everyday use, rather than providing the perfect audio experience – for now, anyway.Pricing and availability
The second-gen AirPods are available for a discounted £119/$129, down from the original £159/$159 following the release of the updated AirPods 3, and they’re available to buy from Apple and a little cheaper at third-party retailers like Amazon.
It depends how much you value the smarts, because there are certainly cheaper earbuds that sound just as good as the AirPods.Verdict
The second-gen AirPods are more of an iterative upgrade than a reimagining of the product – think of it like an ‘S’ upgrade of the iPhone range.
Fans of the first-gen AirPods probably won’t find enough here to warrant an upgrade, but it’s a great time for prospective buyers to take the plunge. Alongside the suite of smart features unique to Apple’s offering, improved connection speed, talk time and Hey Siri support are welcome improvements, and it’s often discounted at third-party retailers too.
But while AirPods easily provide the best all-around experience of any wireless earbuds on the market, there’s no improvement in the audio department, and while it was great by 2023 standards, there are other earbuds on the market in 2023 that provide better audio quality.
It all boils down to what you’re after; if you want a smart, fluid listening experience, the AirPods are the ones to go for, but if you’re looking for the best audio quality possible, you may want to look elsewhere.
Car tech and Siri slammed for driver distraction
Capable but complex infotainment systems built into modern car dashboards are dangerously distracting, a driver safety study has concluded, while voice controlled systems like Apple’s Siri have been equally criticized. Hands-free tech intended to maintain a driver’s grip on the wheel can, ironically, cause greater cognitive distraction than actually picking up a phone, a study by the AAA and the University of Utah revealed, testing a number of basic tasks like making calls or changing radio station across cars from Toyota, Mercedes, and other marques.
A five point scale for driver distraction was established, with 1 being a baseline of no distractions, and 5 representing the sort of extreme distraction of trying to perform complicated math and memorization tests while simultaneously driving. Earlier testing in 2013 by the same university found that even when drivers were watching the road, they could still be sufficiently distracted by hands-free systems to miss a pedestrian walking out in front of their vehicle.
Of the preinstalled car systems, Toyota’s Entune was the most successful, rated 1.7 for distraction. Hyundai’s Blue Link came in at 2.2, while Chrysler’s UConnect scored 2.7. Ford SYNC with MyFord Touch scored 3.0, and Mercedes-Benz’s COMAND came in at 3.1.
Worst of the five tested was Chevrolet’s MyLink, rated 3.7 for driver distraction.
Meanwhile, another study examined how different tasks compared for the distraction they involved when using voice commands. Simplest were issuing basic instructions for tuning the radio or adjusting the climate control, though such tasks still ranked 1.88 on the distraction scale.
Natural voice systems were found to be less distracting than more generic, computerized voices.
Not all navigation systems are created equal, too, and the difference in distraction between a good interface and a buggy one can be considerable. In an “error-free” navigation system, setting a destination by voice alone rated 2.83, the University of Utah found, but that increased to 3.67 when using “an error-prone” version.
As for Apple’s Siri, that ranked as the most distracting of all eight of the tasks tested, scoring 4.14 when drivers were asked to use navigation features, send or receive text messages, post to social networks, and use the calendar. However, it’s worth noting that the researchers did not use Siri Eyes-Free – the version specifically designed by Apple to keep the display inactive – but instead had drivers wear lapel microphones while people in the back seat actually pressed any on-screen dialogs required.
Similarly absent is any testing of CarPlay, Apple’s more integrated system which can take over a dashboard display or touchscreen and offer pared-down access to key apps and functionality.
Apple CarPlay hands-on:
The basic implementation of Siri was criticized by some test subjects for its habit of resulting in “different responses to seemingly identical commands,” the researchers wrote, while the virtual assistant’s sassy responses also failed to go down well with every user. “Some participants also reported frustration with Siri’s sarcasm and wit,” the study noted.
Automakers themselves aren’t entirely convinced by the research, however. “The results actually tell us very little about the relative benefits of in-vehicle versus hand-held systems,” Toyota spokesperson Mike Michels told the LA Times, “or about the relationship between cognitive load and crash risks.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is already considering weighing in on increasingly complicated dashboard tech, threatening touch-centric interfaces such as Tesla’s huge center stack display with maximum-tap limits. Nonetheless, other research has suggested that drivers simply “zoning out” could be a bigger risk than having them pick up their cellphone while on the road.
While not gaging safety implications, recent satisfaction ratings similarly criticized the majority of hands-free systems. According to J.D. Power, the majority of drivers were more concerned about the basic features in their cars not working as they expected than they were in seeing more technology added.
“If you want to buy one of these cars, make sure you can actually use the voice-based technology before you leave the lot,” University of Utah psychology professor and study lead David Strayer surmises. “Some of these systems are very difficult to use.”
VIA LA Times
SOURCE University of Utah
If you’re looking looking for a great deal on a non-Apple streaming device this Black Friday, there are plenty of options. All of the Amazon Fire sticks are on sale, as are most Roku products. But if you’re looking for a can’t-miss deal on a streaming device of the Apple variety, there is only one. Walmart right now is taking $40 off the Apple TV HD (2nd generation).
What you need to know:
This deal is for the Apple TV 32GB HD (2nd generation)
It streams in 180P HD and supports Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 Surround Sound
Includes an ethernet port for when you can’t or don’t want to go wireless
It has the older A8 chip, which is a substantial downgrade from the A15 Bionic chip including with the new 4K model
This is a $40 discount off the regular price, and the lowest price we’ve seen to date on *any* Apple TV product
Who is this for? Everyone who doesn’t care about 4K or high-end gaming. Seriously, this is an incredible deal. Today’s sale price is the same price Apple charges for the new Siri remote by itself.
See at Walmart for $59
Other tech dealsLogitech MX Anywhere 2S Mouse
What you need to know:
Works on virtually any surface, including glass, thanks to Logitech’s 4000 dpi Darkfield sensor
Logitech FLOW tech lets you seamlessly switch between three computers, as well as copy/paste text, images, and files between them
Supports both Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless technology – includes 2.4GHz USB receiver, but there is no internal storage for it
Rechargeable battery that lasts up to 70 days on a single charge
This model is previous generation, but still considered an excellent mouse for the features and price
Has a 4.6 star rating on Amazon, on nearly 1,000 reviews
Original price was $80, current street price is $60, today’s deal price matches all-time low
Shipping is free
See at Lenovo for $35
Anker magnetic wireless battery pack for iPhone
What you need to know:
5000mAh means you’ll get about 1 full extra charge on your iPhone 13
It has built-in magnets for use with MagSafe devices (but note, it is not MagSafe certified by Apple)
Uses a USB-C cable for charging itself and other devices that require a wired connection
This product has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon, on over 8,700 reviews
Protected by Anker’s 18-month warranty
Buy for $35Spigen 120W 4-port USB-C charging station
What you need to know:
120W of total output – single USB-C port outputs up to 100W, single USB-A port outputs 18W for quick charging
Will Charge up to 4 devices simultaneously (speed varies based on device)
GaN III technology dissipates less heat and ripple noise compared to non GaN chargers
Spigen Intelligent Safety tech lets you charge with confidence that the charger won’t overheat
Supports PD charging only, not PPS (like Super Fast Charge)
Includes Spigen’s 24 month warranty
Has a 4.3-star rating on Amazon, on over 260 reviews
Just clip the coupon located below the price tag on the Amazon page to get the 40% discount
See at Amazon for $60AirPods Max
Buy for $450 at Amazon
Note: we started a page to keep track of all the best AirPods deals, which we update daily. It should come in handy this holiday shopping season!
Apple TV 4K w/ new Siri remote (32GB) – $99 at Amazon
Roku Streaming Stick 4K w/ voice remote – $25 at Amazon
Please Disconnect From VPNs or Proxies and Try Again [Steam Fix] The obfuscated servers of the leading VPN will bypass Steam restrictions
In case your VPN isn’t working on Steam, check out our quick-fix guide to remain anonymous and encrypt your traffic while gaming.
One of the best solutions you can try in this case is changing your Steam store country.
We recommend using a specialized VPN, so you won’t have to worry again that your VPN is not working on Steam.
Some users managed to solve this issue by allowing Steam traffic on VPN.
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Steam has some strict rules against using a VPN, but that doesn’t stop users from trying anyway. It’s only problematic when you get banned or when Steam doesn’t work with your VPN, no matter what you try.
Don’t worry since we’re here to point on the right path. But first, let’s clear the air on Steam’s policy against VPN and proxy usage.Can you get banned for using a VPN on Steam?
Yes, under certain conditions. Let’s take a closer look:
”You agree that you will not use IP proxying or other methods to disguise the place of your residence, whether to circumvent geographical restrictions on game content, to purchase at pricing not applicable to your geography, or for any other purpose. If you do this, Valve may terminate your access to your Account.”
What we can draw from this is that:
You can’t use a VPN on Steam to bypass geo-blocks and access games early
Similarly, you can’t use a VPN to buy games cheaper
The third part mentions that you can’t use a VPN for any other purpose. However, when a Reddit user contacted Steam support to ask for clarification on this issue, they got the following message:
Playing games or operating Steam while using a VPN is not strictly prohibited.
However, it may affect gameplay and the Steam client itself.
A Steam account will only be restricted for actions that violate the Steam Subscriber Agreement or Steam Online Conduct Rules, so please keep in mind that purchasing games while your VPN is active is a violation of our Terms of Service.
This should tell you that it’s OK to use a VPN to stay secure and protect your privacy when using a VPN.Does VPN work on Steam?
You can use a VPN indeed to hide your actual location and gain complete privacy on the Steam client.What can I do if VPN is not working on Steam? 1. Change your Steam store country
Some users have reported that Steam doesn’t work with their VPN when trying to connect to another country.
However, the problem isn’t caused by the VPN. It’s still necessary to manually update your store location in Steam, even after already connecting to a VPN server from another region.2. Use a specialized tool to bypass Steam VPN detection
Although it’s incredibly tempting, we have to consider whether or not a free VPN can be trusted to always keep you safe when navigating online.
They have few VPN servers and rarely work properly. Plus, most free VPNs log your VPN traffic.
This VPN also supports modern and secure VPN protocols: OpenVPN and WireGuard. It’s one of the best VPNs for reducing ping.
And, if you encounter any connectivity issues with Steam, you can get in touch with the PIA support team using 24/7 live chat.
Private Internet Access
Looking for a VPN that will always work with Steam? Make sure you try PIA.
Check price Visit website3. Allow Steam traffic on your VPN
Some VPN services can negatively affect Steam’s performance. But it’s possible that your VPN isn’t wired to work on Steam.
For example, if you have VPN split tunneling enabled on your PC, make sure that you haven’t accidentally excluded Steam from the secure tunnel.
To summarize, if your VPN isn’t working on Steam, you can fix this problem by changing your store location and allowing Steam traffic on the secure tunnel.
But we also recommend avoiding free VPNs and resorting to a premium VPN service instead, such as Private Internet Access.How does Steam detect VPN?
There are various ways that Steam service can use to detect your VPN. For instance, their algorithms may detect blacklisted IP addresses used by VPNs or inspect data packets from your Internet traffic.
If you receive the Steam please disconnect from VPNs or proxies and try again error message on Steam means that your IP address is not recognized.
However, you don’t have to worry about Steam banning your account unless you make restricted purchases from other countries.
So, these are the best options to try if it seems like Steam is not working on a VPN.
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