The Voice-For-Themselves Edition Thursday, April 1, 2021

Apple Adds Two Brand New Siri Voices And Will No Longer Default To A Female Voice In Latest iOS, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

Apple is adding two new voices to Siri’s English offerings, and eliminating the default ‘female voice’ selection in the latest beta version of iOS. This means that every person setting up Siri will choose a voice for themselves and it will no longer default to the voice assistant being female, a topic that has come up quite a bit with regards to bias in voice interfaces over the past few years.

Artists Reimagine The Baseball Card With iPad Pro And Apple Pencil, by Apple

“iPad Pro is very intuitive,” says Efdot. “And together with Apple Pencil, it’s like an extension of my hand and my brain.”

His canvas today is a baseball card. While it might seem like an unexpected place to find modern art, there’s a renaissance under way for these collectables, thanks in part to visual storytellers who are transforming sports memorabilia into pocket-sized masterpieces.

The Mac Needs Shortcuts, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The problem is that today, everything about user automation on Apple’s platforms is fractured. On the Mac, the technologies feel old-fashioned, adrift, and increasingly unsupported. On iOS, Shortcuts has some weaknesses and an every-app-for-itself mindset prevails. And between the two platforms there’s no connectivity at all.

This has to change.


iPhone 12 Mini: Best For People Who Don't Love Phones, But Love What They Can Do, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

iPhone 12 mini literally takes up less space in your pocket or bag, and it feels weightless in the hand thanks to the use of aluminum and not stainless steel. The device still feels premium, not because of shiny metal, but because it achieves most of what larger models achieve but in a miniaturized package.

HoverBar Duo: The MacStories Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The black aluminum and plastic stand has two articulating hinges with a clamp for your iPad that connects to the stand’s arm with a ball joint. The stand also rotates side-to-side at its base. The design, which is reminiscent of an attractive, modern desk lamp, provides a broader range of motion than most stands, making it useful in more scenarios. As a result, I’ve found myself using the HoverBar Duo far more than any stand I’ve tried before.


Apple's Tim Cook Says Voting "Ought To Be Easier Than Ever", by Mike Allen, Axios

Apple CEO Tim Cook, an Alabama native with a lifelong interest in civil rights, joins condemnations of Georgia's new voting law.

Apple's Second All-Virtual WWDC Will (Hopefully) Be Its Last, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

But I believe that internally, Apple hopes that WWDC 2021 will be its last developer conference in a purely digital format—and that the return to in-person media events will begin by early next year. The company makes hardware: It wants attendees, as well as more of its employees, back in-person to use, test and develop those products.

Apple Commits To Build “Grid-scale” Energy Storage In California, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Apple announced Wednesday that it will build a "grid-scale" energy-storage project in California capable of storing 240 megawatt-hours of energy. The storage will work closely with the 130-megawatt solar farm the company already built to power daytime energy needs at its headquarters in Cupertino. Additionally, Apple says that 110 of its manufacturing partners are moving to 100 percent renewable energy as part of a commitment by Apple to make its supply chain and products carbon neutral by 2030.

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I do wish Apple will allow Shortcuts -- when it comes to the MacOS -- to do even more stuff. For example, I will very much want to have a shortcut on my Mac to trigger a notification on my iPhone.


Thanks for reading.