Siri gets smarter

Apple unveiled its upcoming iOS 12, the update for iPads and iPhones coming this fall, and what I found most interesting was some long overdue upgrades in Siri’s capabilities. You’ve probably noticed how when you get in your car, a message is often displayed on the lock screen anticipating where you’re going and telling you how long it’ll take to get there. Apple is now adding the ability for Siri to learn how you’re using apps, and to use that information to make suggestions. As Apple put it:

Siri can now intelligently pair your daily routines with third-party apps to suggest convenient shortcuts right when you need them.

You can also set up shortcuts, teaching Siri to perform a number of actions when a simple command is provided. When you’re heading home from work, a single command can adjust your home thermostat, tell you how long it’ll take to drive there, text your significant other that you’re on the way, and start playing your favorite podcast. There are other interesting examples in this article at TechCrunch, check it out if you’re curious.

iOS 12 should be available this fall, and will work on most devices (going all the way back to the iPhone 5S!)

Apple on 100% renewable energy

Apple achieved a milestone recently, powering 100% of its operations via renewable energy! That includes all offices, data centers, and stores…and they’ve accomplished this without having to pay more for electricity, either. Next up, they’re putting pressure on their suppliers to follow suit…and with a customer as large as Apple asking, I doubt much pressure at all will be needed! It’s cool to see tech companies like Apple and Alphabet leading the charge here. Read more here.

Uber self-driving car kills pedestrian

It was inevitable that eventually, someone’s self-driving car would be in an accident involving a pedestrian…and a 49 year old woman in Tempe, AZ, pushing her bike across the street, was the first victim. While the car was one of Uber’s, it really could have happened to any of the tech companies. Details are still scarce as the investigation continues, but it’s safe to say that the car stored massive amounts of data that will make for a quick conclusion.

Embark startup in the news

So, a funny set of stories passed through my newsreader this morning (Feedly, if you’re curious).  The first was about a company in Texas called Embark, offering DNA testing for dogs!  It’ll tell you your dog’s pedigree, as well as what diseases they may be suceptible to.  Cool!

The second article was about a company working on self driving trucks called…Embark!  Yeah, same name!  Though I don’t really envision these companies going head to head and confusing consumers!  🤣

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