Apple is rolling out Siri to some non-Apple devices – but you might need a HomePod to use the digital assistant

Apple HomePod
A HomePod smart speaker.

  • Apple said smart home device makers can work with Apple to integrate Siri into their devices.
  • However, the devices need to already be compatible with HomeKit, Apple’s universal remote-like app.
  • It’s unclear if customers will be able to use iPhones or will need a HomePod to make Siri requests.
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Apple said Monday that it would start allowing customers to make requests via Siri through non-Apple devices.

The company made the announcement at its annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference, where it also unveiled its iOS 15 software update.

Apple said in a press release that starting immediately, smart home device makers can work with Apple to integrate Siri into their products.

Apple said Siri can be enabled on accessories that are compatible with HomeKit, Apple’s universal remote-like app that you can use to control smart home devices.

Third-party accessory makers will be able to “relay requests through HomePod or HomePod mini and will support features such as Personal Requests, Intercom, timers, and alarms.”

Read more: Apple’s new major iOS change lets you decide if you want brands to track you across apps. Most people are opting out, and it’s already crushing advertisers.

It’s unclear if customers will be able to use iPhones to make requests via Siri on their third-party devices, or if the service is only available through HomePod and HomePod mini. Apple did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Apple said in March that it was discontinuing its original $350 HomePod smart speaker, but it will still focus on its $99 HomePod Mini, which is launched in fall 2020.

As Tom’s Guide notes, Apple’s HomeKit isn’t compatible with as many third-party devices as Amazon and Google’s digital assistants are.

And when Apple launched its original HomePod in 2018, it competed with the likes of Amazon Echo and Google Home but fell flat with consumers.

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Siri says the date of Apple’s next launch event is April 20

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

  • Siri has told Apple device users when the tech giant’s next launch event will be.
  • After asking Siri when the next Apple event is, Siri says “The special event is on Tuesday, April 20, at Apple Park in Cupertino, CA.”
  • Apple usually announces the launch event a week before the date – it could be confirmed Tuesday.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Apple’s voice assistant Siri has revealed the company’s next launch event will take place on April 20.

MacRumors first reported that after asking Siri, “When is the next Apple Event,” ‌it responded with, “The special event is on Tuesday, April 20, at Apple Park in Cupertino, CA. You can get all the details on Apple.com.”

Siri provides a link to the Apple Event page on its website, but the launch event isn’t listed here yet.

Users will only get this response if they have a US Apple ID.

Apple usually announces the date of its launch event one week in advance – so the tech giant could confirm later Tuesday.

The April event is expected to showcase new iPads, according to a Bloomberg report on March 17. People with knowledge of the matter told the publication that Apple wants to add a quicker processor and a better camera onto the new iPad Pros.

The people also told Bloomberg the iPads will look similar to the current 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros which are priced at $799 and $999 respectively. Apple has not yet officially announced the cost of the new models.

Reports suggested MacBooks and iPads could be in short supply due to the global chip supply shortage and Apple has pushed back some component orders to the second half of 2021.

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Nuance leaps 18% on Microsoft’s deal to acquire the AI speech-technology software maker

Satya Nadella

  • Nuance Communications shares shot up 18% on Monday on a deal by Microsoft to buy the company in a $19.7 billion deal.
  • Microsoft plans to buy the speech-recognition software maker for $56 a share and the deal will include Nuance’s net debt.
  • Microsoft shares were slightly higher as the new trading week got underway.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Nuance Communications shares surged 18% during Monday’s session following a deal under which Microsoft will purchase the AI speech-recognition software maker for $19.7 billion in cash, with the price to include Nuance’s net debt.

Microsoft, in a joint statement, said it will buy Nuance for $56 a share, which is a 23% premium to Nuance’s closing price on Friday at $45.58. Bloomberg reported late Sunday that the two companies were in talks, citing sources who asked not to be identified. An agreement with Nuance would be Microsoft’s largest since it purchased professional networking site LinkedIn in 2016.

Nuance climbed 18% to $53.93 as regular-session trading got underway. The stock during pre-market trade climbed by as much as 31%. Meanwhile, Microsoft shares edged up 0.1% to $255.97 as Wall Street’s new trading week kicked off.

Nuance and Microsoft have been working together since 2019, focusing on Nuance’s products that allow clinicians to capture patient discussions and integrate them into electronic health records. Microsoft said the deal will double its total addressable market in the healthcare provider space to nearly $500 billion.

“AI is technology’s most important priority, and healthcare is its most urgent application,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in the statement.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the calendar year 2021 and has been unanimously approved by the boards of both Nuance and Microsoft. Nuance’s CEO Mark Benjamin will remain in his role.

“For Nadella & Co., this is the right acquisition at the right time with Microsoft doubling down on its healthcare initiatives over the coming years,” said Wedbush analyst Dan Ives in a Monday note in which he called the Nuance deal a “strategic no brainer” for Microsoft. Wedbush lowered its 12-month price target on Nuance to $56 from $65 to reflect the deal but maintained its outperform rating.

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Microsoft reportedly in talks to purchase AI and speech technology firm Nuance Communications

GettyImages 1230794251
Microsoft shares rose in pre-market trading after its sales jumped

  • Bloomberg News reported that Microsoft is in advanced talks to acquire AI voice company Nuance Communications.
  • The deal would reportedly value Nuance at $16 billion, a 23% premium to Friday’s close.
  • Nuance Communications voice-technology was the framework for Apple’s Siri.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Microsoft is negotiating a deal to buy Nuance Communications, an artificial intelligence and speech technology company, according to a report from Bloomberg News.

Bloomberg’s anonymous sources said that the deal could be announced this week, and would value Nuance at roughly $56 a share. This would value the company at $16 billion, a premium of 23% where the stock closed on Friday, $43.58.

Microsoft declined to comment to Bloomberg. Insider reached out to both firms for comment but they couldn’t be reached before publication.

Massachusetts-based Nuance, with a market cap just shy of $13 billion, is the developer of the Dragon Naturally Speaking family of voice technology products. Its speech recognition engine is the basis for Apple’s voice assistant Siri as well as dozens of other real world applications with enterprise clients.

The take-private deal would be Microsoft’s second-largest purchase ever after the company acquired LinkedIn in 2016 for $24 billion. The company has also acquired companies like Skype and GitHub.

Microsoft appears to be in an acquisitive mood. The company has been reported to be in deal talks with online-chat company Discord for over $10 billion. It also purchased game studio ZeniMax Media, the company behind video-game classics “Fallout,” “Doom,” and “The Elder Scrolls” for $7.5 billion in a deal that closed this year.

Microsoft failed to win a bid to acquire TikTok last year.

Nuance and Microsoft began to collaborate in 2019 on medical applications such as automatic note-taking during doctors’ visits.

According to analyst Dan Ives at Wedbush Securities, Microsoft and Nuance Communications are two of the top three tech buys heading into first-quarter earnings season. Ives highlighted Nuance’s “hospital-wide deployments” of its technology, with has created a growing revenue stream. Wedbush set a $65 price target, above Microsoft’s reported bid.

Microsoft stock is up 15.4% from the end of the year at end of closing Friday.

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How to use Apple CarPlay and use your iPhone apps hands-free while driving

Man using Apple Carplay in car
Apple CarPlay lets you go hands free by connecting your iPhone and apps to your car’s touchscreen.

  • To use Apple CarPlay, your car must support the feature and your iPhone needs to be running iOS 7.1 or higher.
  • CarPlay is a custom iOS interface that presents important apps and information from your iPhone on the car’s touchscreen.
  • Once connected, you can run apps that are optimized for CarPlay on your car’s screen, navigate, make calls, use Siri, and more.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

While your iPhone adds a lot of convenience to your daily drive thanks to its music and podcast access, voice calls, navigation, and more, it’s also unsafe (and possibly illegal) to fiddle with your phone while driving.

Apple offers a safer alternative: Apple CarPlay. The custom interface puts the most important iPhone features on a display in your car, accessible using your car’s infotainment controls and your voice with Siri.

Apple CarPlay is built into every iPhone running iOS 7.1 or later. To take advantage of CarPlay, though, you need a car that supports CarPlay – the infotainment screen needs to work with CarPlay, or you need to add a CarPlay-compatible display to your vehicle.

How to use Apple CarPlay

CarPlay should start automatically when you connect your phone to the car via USB.

If it doesn’t, tap the CarPlay icon on your car’s infotainment screen. The first time you do this, you might need to unlock your phone and allow your iPhone to connect to CarPlay when locked.

The CarPlay screen starts on the Home screen, which displays your most recently used apps in a column on the left as well as the map and audio control.

Apple Carplay on Subaru console
The CarPlay Home screen shows three most recent apps, a map, and music controls.

To see more apps, you can tap the view icon at the very bottom left or simply swipe to the left. Keep swiping to browse through all the CarPlay-compatible apps on your phone. To start a specific app, just tap it.

Apple Carplay on car console
Swipe to flip through your list of apps.

How to add Waze to CarPlay and set the navigation app as your default for drivingHow to add Google Maps to CarPlay to safely navigate with the app while drivingHow to turn off CarPlay on your iPhone in 2 different waysWhat is Android Auto? Here’s what you need to know about the smart driving platform

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How to translate live conversations with Google Assistant using its built-in Interpreter Mode

woman on phone in car
Google Assistant’s Interpreter Mode is particularly useful when traveling abroad and in situations that require navigating language barriers.

  • You can translate conversations with Google Assistant in up to 44 languages by using its Interpreter Mode, which is built into the Google Assistant app. 
  • Google Assistant is an artificial intelligence-based program, similar to Siri and Alexa, that has the capability to translate a conversation in real-time, among many other things. 
  • Its Interpreter Mode is now available on iOS devices and Androids, in addition to smart speakers and tablets. 
  • Currently, Interpreter Mode can only be used online, unlike Google Translate.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Google Assistant is a virtual assistant, similar to Siri and Alexa, that is fueled by artificial intelligence to perform various tasks. The company calls it “your own personal Google” – the artificial intelligence component, much like its search engine, brings the internet to you and answers your questions. 

You can ask Google Assistant to play music, look up sports scores, search for directions, and even control your home through its smart devices. Google Assistant is available on many “smart” platforms, including smartphones, Google Home speakers, tablets, and displays.

Real-time translation is among its many features and is particularly helpful when traveling abroad and navigating conversations with language barriers. After getting Google Assistant’s attention (just say “Hey Google”), command it to be your translator in any language. Interpreter Mode will automatically be activated. 

We’ll show you how to both use this feature and troubleshoot potential problems.

How to translate conversations with Google Assistant

Google Assistant for phones and tablets has a few more language options than the version for smart speakers and displays, one being Urdu, the official national language of Pakistan. 

1. If you’re using an iPhone, you’ll need to download the Google Assistant app from the App Store. (It’s already included in the operating system on Androids.)

2. Open the app and say “Hey Google” or hit the microphone icon. The AI is now listening.

3. Say something like “Be my French interpreter,” “Interpret from English to French,” or “Turn on Interpreter Mode.”

4. Google Assistant will ask you what languages you want to be translated if you haven’t yet specified. Depending on your settings, it can also detect the language according to your location. 

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Specify the other language or start speaking.

5. You’ll hear a tone when translation mode is on. Just start talking. The AI will know which language is being spoken.

6. You can also set it so that the keyboard types out the translations instead of speaking them. 

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You can choose to hear the translation or see it on the keyboard.

7. Swipe from left to right to turn off interpreter mode, or say “Stop.”

How to fix potential issues with Google Assistant

Artificial intelligence-powered technology isn’t always perfect, so there’s a chance you may run into issues while using Google Assistant.

Google Assistant won’t recognize every command. The following will not activate Interpreter Mode:

  • “Translate.”
  • “Speak French” (or any language).
  • “Can you speak French?” (or any language).

Remember to wait for the tone before speaking or Google Assistant may not catch everything you say. Also, double check that your device is compatible with Interpreter Mode.

Remain close to your device while speaking, speak clearly, and make sure your pronunciation is correct. Otherwise, Google Assistant may translate you incorrectly.

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Make sure you speak clearly so that Google Assistant can translate properly.

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