Ensure that only secure devices can access your cloud apps. It’s Zero Trust tailor-made for Okta.

The New York Times Declares that Voice Assistants Have Lost the ‘AI Race’

Brian Chen, Nico Grant, and Karen Weise of The New York Times set out to explain why voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant seem primitive by comparison to ChatGPT. According to ex-Apple, Amazon, and Google engineers and employees, the difference is grounded in the approach the companies took with their assistants:

The assistants and the chatbots are based on different flavors of A.I. Chatbots are powered by what are known as large language models, which are systems trained to recognize and generate text based on enormous data sets scraped off the web. They can then suggest words to complete a sentence.

In contrast, Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant are essentially what are known as command-and-control systems. These can understand a finite list of questions and requests like “What’s the weather in New York City?” or “Turn on the bedroom lights.” If a user asks the virtual assistant to do something that is not in its code, the bot simply says it can’t help.

In the case of Siri, former Apple engineer John Burkey said the company’s assistant was designed as a monolithic database that took weeks to update with new capabilities. Burkey left Apple in 2016 after less than two years at the company according to his LinkedIn bio. According to other unnamed Apple sources, the company has been testing AI based on large language models in the years since Burkey’s departure:

At Apple’s headquarters last month, the company held its annual A.I. summit, an internal event for employees to learn about its large language model and other A.I. tools, two people who were briefed on the program said. Many engineers, including members of the Siri team, have been testing language-generating concepts every week, the people said.

It’s not surprising that sources have told The New York Times that Apple is researching the latest advances in artificial intelligence. All you have to do is visit the company’s Machine Learning Research website to see that. But to declare a winner in ‘the AI race’ based on the architecture of where voice assistants started compared to today’s chatbots is a bit facile. Voice assistants may be primitive by comparison to chatbots, but it’s far too early to count Apple, Google, or Amazon out or declare the race over, for that matter.


Tripsy 2.15 Adds Weather Forecasts, Time Zone Support, and Other Customization Options

Tripsy is more than just an app for storing details about your upcoming trips. It does that and does it well, but it’s also a great way to revisit old trips and get inspired about places you want to visit in the future. We’ve covered Tripsy before, so for more on what the app can do, I recommend checking out our reviews of version 2.10 and version 1.0. With version 2.15, which debuted this week, Tripsy is focused on trip itineraries, adding several ‘quality of life’ features along with better organization for multi-location trips, and improved customization.

Read more

AppStories, Episode 320 – Listener Q&A

This week on AppStories, we answer listener questions about apps, automation, podcasting, tattoos, and more.

Sponsored by:

  • Kolide – Kolide ensures only secure devices can access your cloud apps. It’s Zero Trust tailor-made for Okta. Book a demo today.
  • Squarespace – Make your next move. Enter offer code APPSTORIES at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.

On AppStories+, we cover Untitled Goose Game’s rejection from the Mac App Store, and the curious case of Apple Music Classical.

We deliver AppStories+ to subscribers with bonus content, ad-free, and at a high bitrate early every week.

To learn more about the benefits included with an AppStories+ subscription, visit our Plans page, or read the AppStories+ FAQ.


Last Week, on Club MacStories: Federico’s RSS Experiments, Picking and Choosing Features from Complex Apps, and an Office Setup

Because Club MacStories now encompasses more than just newsletters, we’ve created a guide to the past week’s happenings:

MacStories Weekly: Issue 359

Arc by The Browser Company.

Arc by The Browser Company.

The Macintosh Desktop Experience: My 2023 Mac-Centric Office Setup

In the latest installment of my Club MacStories+ and Club Premier column, I share my new office setup

Apple TV+’s The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse Wins Oscar

Last night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced at the 95th Annual Academy Awards ceremony that it had picked The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse for Best Animated Short Film.

The Apple TV+ film, which also recently won a BAFTA Film Award and four Annie Awards, is based on a book by Charlie Mackesy. According to Apple’s press release:

The poignant journey follows the unlikely friendship of a boy, a mole, a fox, and a horse traveling together in the boy’s search for home. The film, featuring Mackesy’s distinctive illustrations brought to life in full color with beautiful hand-drawn animation, stars Tom Hollander as The Mole, Idris Elba as The Fox, Gabriel Byrne as The Horse, and newcomer Jude Coward Nicoll as The Boy.

Zack Van Amburg, Apple’s head of Worldwide Video, commented on the Oscar win:

We are so proud of Charlie and the brilliant team who brought The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse to the screen and we sincerely thank the Academy for tonight’s recognition. This powerful story has deeply affected audiences around the world and has shown that no matter what age you are or where you live, it’s never too late to spread more compassion, empathy, and kindness in our daily lives. Congratulations to everyone involved, including our teams across the globe. We are all celebrating with you tonight.

Last year, Apple TV+ was the first streaming service to ever win the Best Picture Oscar for CODA.

Kolide: That Ticking Noise is Your End Users’ Laptops [Sponsor]

Here’s an uncomfortable fact: at most companies, employees can download sensitive company data onto any device, keep it there forever, and never even know that they’re doing something wrong.

Kolide’s new report, The State of Sensitive Data, shines a light on an area of security that is often ignored, but is nevertheless a massive hole in many companies’ Zero Trust fortress.

These findings are particularly alarming given the overall state of device security. IT teams routinely struggle to enforce timely OS updates and patch management, meaning that end users are storing your most sensitive data–things like customer records, confidential IP, and plain-text access credentials–on devices that are vulnerable to attack.

This problem has gone unaddressed because until now there hasn’t been a good solution for it. MDM solutions are too blunt an instrument for dealing with sensitive data, and DLP tools are too extreme and invasive for most companies. After all, you’re not trying to ban downloads together, nor regard every download as suspicious. You’re just trying to make sure employees aren’t keeping data for longer than they need or keeping it on an unmanaged or unsecure device.

Kolide offers a more nuanced approach to setting and enforcing sensitive data policies.

Our premise is simple: if an employee’s device is out of compliance, it can’t access your apps.

Kolide lets admins run queries to detect sensitive data, flag devices that have violated policies, and enforce OS and browser updates so vulnerable devices aren’t accessing data.

Our unique approach makes device compliance part of the authentication process. If a device isn’t compliant, users can’t log in to their cloud apps until they’ve fixed the problem. But instead of creating more work for IT, Kolide provides instructions so users can get unblocked on their own.

To learn more and see our product in action, visit

Our thanks to Kolide for sponsoring MacStories this week.

MacStories Unwind: Everything Is a Remix, Part 4 and Blanc


Sponsored by: Kolide – Ensures only secure devices can access your cloud apps. It’s Zero Trust tailor-made for Okta. Book a demo today.

This week on MacStories Unwind, Federico recommends Kirby Ferguson’s final video, Everything is a Remix, Part 4 and I have been relaxing to Blanc on the Nintendo Switch.

Federico’s Pick:

John’s Pick:

Apple Music Classical to Launch on March 28th

Source: App Store.

Source: App Store.

On March 28th, Apple will launch Apple Music Classical, a free app that’s already available for pre-order that will offer a catalog of over 5 million classical recordings to Apple Music subscribers at no additional cost.

The app, which will be iPhone-only at launch, has been anticipated for months. Apple acquired Primephonic, a classical music streaming service in August 2021, and said at the time that it would release an Apple-branded classical music streaming service the following year. 2022 came and went without a new app, but references to the new service began appearing in iOS beta releases, leading observers to believe that a release was imminent.

Apple says that Classical’s 5 million tracks, which include thousands of exclusives, is the largest in the world and has “complete and accurate” metadata. The company also says in the app’s release notes:

Apple Music Classical also makes it easy for beginners to get acquainted with the genre thanks to hundreds of Essentials playlists, insightful composer biographies, deep-dive guides for many key works, and intuitive browsing features.

Classical’s search will also be optimized for the genre, include editorial content, and be streamed at up to 192 kHz/24-bit Hi-Res Lossless, with thousands of tracks supporting spatial audio with Dolby Atmos.

Users can pre-order the free app today from the App Store, which will be downloaded to their iPhones on March 28th when the app goes live.

AppStories, Episode 319 – The Future of Web Browsers

This week on AppStories, we cover the increasing competition among web browsers and the emerging features we find most useful.

Sponsored by:

  • Kolide – Kolide ensures only secure devices can access your cloud apps. It’s Zero Trust tailor-made for Okta. Book a demo today.
  • Fitbod – Get stronger, faster with a fitness plan that fits you. Get 25% off your membership.

On AppStories+, I struggle with security cameras, Federico’s desk setup continues to evolve, and we share our theories on the popularity of web-first apps.

We deliver AppStories+ to subscribers with bonus content, ad-free, and at a high bitrate early every week.

To learn more about the benefits included with an AppStories+ subscription, visit our Plans page, or read the AppStories+ FAQ.