Siri is shedding its default female voice. With the latest iOS 14.5 beta, Apple is introducing two new English-speaking voices for Siri alongside the ability to choose which voice to use when setting up an iOS or HomePod device. The new voices should also sound more natural, with improved inflection and smoother transitions between different words.
Apple’s move away from female voices as default could help to address gender bias implied by . A said that it “reflects and reinforces” the idea that assistants are female and they “not only replicate gender inequalities, but also widen them.”
Your intelligent assistant experience might differ, however. In the UK, Siri’s default voice is the male equivalent, and the same is, or was, true in Arabic, French and Dutch. Making the default voice option your choice could make it less of an issue.
— Mat Smith
It includes Google tech and branding for the 500, 500X crossover and 500L MPV.
Fiat has launched special edition versions of its 500 lineup, in partnership with Google. TThe Fiat 500 Family Hey Google brings Google tech — as well as a handful of design elements and Google badges — to the 500 city car, 500X crossover and 500L MPV. The Fiat 500 Family Hey Google will be available exclusively in Europe in 10 countries — and only in the ICE versions, not the 500 EV. It’ll go on sale in Italy, the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland.
Tests are expected to be available at major retailers within the next few weeks.
The FDA has now authorized multiple rapid tests for over the counter use (meaning without a prescription or doctor approval) to screen people who don’t have symptoms of the disease. According to the FDA, “The addition of the OTC and POC tests for screening will give schools, workplaces, communities and others several options for serial screening tests that are accurate and reliable.”
Separately, the CDC and the National Institute of Health are trying out a rapid at-home test initiative in two communities where thousands of residents will receive kits they can use on themselves three times a week for a month. They’re attempting to find out if frequent self-tests can help cut down on the spread of COVID-19, and they see this as a way to gather important data in North Carolina and Tennessee.
The studio says it wants to bring online to all of its franchises one day.
Off the back of a massive Cyberpunk 2077 patch, developer CD Projekt Red has outlined its roadmap for the open-world game. The bad news is that it’s “reconsidering” its plan to launch a Cyberpunk 2077 multiplayer mode, despite teasing the addition for a while.
The studio said it’s focused on bringing online to “all of its franchises one day,” but that doesn’t really mean much. CEO Adam Kiciński elaborated a little, saying the team doesn’t “want to go overboard or lose our single-player DNA. We want to take thoughtful steps to build robust online capabilities.”
Instead, expect more patches and fixes in a bid to get the game back on the PlayStation store with Sony’s approval. It’s also working on free DLCs, paid expansions and a next-gen update that’s still slated for the second half of 2021.
The $199 retro gaming system is now expected to land in October.
The Analogue Pocket, a $199 do-everything retro portable console capable of playing Game Boy, Game Gear, Neo Geo Pocket Color and Atari Lynx games from their original cartridges, has been delayed once again. Analogue says that “sudden and severe electrical component shortages” are making it harder to deliver on its release-date promises. The company is offering full refunds to anyone who already pre-ordered a system and isn’t willing to wait until October.
You can turn off algorithmically ranked posts while scrolling.
After allowing you to posts from select friends and Pages, Facebook is a new Feed Filter menu that gives you quick access to its Most Recent setting, so you can switch off its algorithmically ranked News Feed. There are some more News Feed controls, too, including a Favorites setting that boosts your chosen friends’ content. The update is currently available to Android app users when they scroll up on their feed and is slated for the iPhone app in the coming weeks.
Barbados will accept the pass on flights from London starting on April 16th.
After successfully trialing it on an international flight between Singapore and London in March, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says it will release its Travel Pass app in mid-April. The software allows airline travelers to store verified COVID-19 test results and vaccination certificates on their phones. It plans to launch the app on iPhones around April 15th, with an Android version to follow later. Virgin Atlantic plans to pilot the digital pass on its London to Barbados route. The Caribbean island will accept the app at its border, making it one of the first countries to admit a digital pass instead of paper documentation.