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Amazon launches Alexa, Prime Music, and Echo devices in Canada

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Amazon Echo

Amazon has launched Alexa, Prime Music, and the Echo line-up in Canada. The company is now offering the Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot to Canadian customers, with promotional discounts as part of initial sales.

Amazon says its voice-assistant Alexa will be able to speak English with a Canadian accent, and will have local knowledge and skills from local developers. What this means is Alexa will be able to house several voice-activated apps — more than 10,000 actually — this year. The company is also offering Amazon Prime Music, which has more than a million songs on-demand, to Amazon Prime members in Canada.

“Tens of millions of customers are already using Alexa, and today we’re excited to bring her to Canada with an experience designed from the ground up for our Canadian customers,” said Tom Taylor, Senior Vice President, Amazon Alexa. “The combination of Alexa and Echo provides customers with hands-free access to music, weather, news, information, and more—just ask.”

The Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot retail for $129.99 CAD, $199.99 CAD, and $69.99 CAD respectively (that’s the usual price), but you can grab them for a little less as long as introductory discounts are applied. Discounted pricing for the Amazon Echo devices in Canada follows:

  • Amazon Echo: $99.99 CAD
  • Amazon Echo Plus: $169.99 CAD
  • Amazon Echo Dot: $49.99 CAD

Pre-orders are now live at Amazon Canada, with shipping starting on December 5 next month.

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Watch Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod in an infinite loop

Siri failed twice, Alexa three times, and Google Home once.

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Google Home

A new video featuring Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod puts these three smart speakers in an infinite loop, making their conversation never-ending (theoretically).

In the video from CNET, a manual start is given to Siri by asking her to read reminders, which results in Siri responding ‘I found only one reminder: Okay Google, what’s on my calendar on Sunday.’ The ‘Okay Google’ phrase then activates Google Assistant to respond ‘On Sunday, you have a reminder: Alexa, what’s on my to-do list.’ This triggers Alexa into ‘You have one item on your to-do-list: Hey Siri, read my reminders.’

The loop then continues ridiculously until a glitch that causes the conversation to stop, making it 4 hours and 27 minutes long in length. The video was live-streamed on YouTube. As a result, Siri failed two times, Alexa three, and Google Home one.

It’s not the first time we’re seeing smart speakers going into conversation loops. Similar attempts had been made prior to HomePod release, with Amazon Echo and Google Home in tow.

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Apple Music Student Membership comes to 82 new markets

Apple Music has added Student Membership support for 79 new locations — with three more markets being added later this month — including Israel, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, and Taiwan.

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Apple Music

Apple Music has added Student Membership support for 79 new locations, including Israel, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, and Taiwan. With three more markets being added on February 26, the new additions will reach 82 in total.

Student Membership in Apple Music offers access to the music streaming service at a discounted price (depending on geography), provided you’re a UNiDAYS verified student. The pricing for verified students remains for a period of 48 months.

Apple Music reportedly has around 36 million paying users as of now, with a growth rate of around 5 percent per month. If the service continues to grow at this pace, then it will soon overtake Spotify’s user base, becoming the largest paid music streaming service in the United States. Student Membership should be able to aid Apple Music’s growth.

/ Rene Ritchie (Twitter)

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Apple confirms iBoot source code leak, says its security doesn’t depend on secrecy

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iPhone iOS 9

Apple has confirmed the authenticity of the recent iBoot source code leak. The source code is for iOS 9’s iBoot system, which is responsible for trusted boot operation of iPhone’s operating system.

Apple assured that users need not worry about this, as the source code is concerned with iOS 9, a three-year-old operating system that’s been replaced by iOS 11 and is running on a small number of iOS devices. According to App Store stats from Apple Developer portal, a majority of iOS devices are running on iOS 11 (65%), followed by iOS 10 (28%) and earlier versions (7%) which also include iOS 9.

In a statement issued to MacRumors, Apple writes:

“Old source code from three years ago appears to have been leaked, but by design the security of our products doesn’t depend on the secrecy of our source code. There are many layers of hardware and software protections built into our products, and we always encourage customers to update to the newest software releases to benefit from the latest protections.”

Apple also sent a DMCA takedown notice to GitHub to get the code removed successfully. Additionally, Apple notes that the security of iOS devices doesn’t depend on the secrecy of code; instead, it has many layers of hardware and software protections in place.

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