Upon introducing iOS 11 at the WWDC 2017 on Monday, Apple revealed as well that Siri was getting advanced enhancements in its next version. The assistant will support smarter features and functions, and SiriKit will be more open to third-party developers.
The Cupertino-based company showed increased confidence in Siri this week at San Jose, most notably with the unveiling of HomePod. The smart speaker is designed for music, but it is also powered by Apple’s AI to act as an assistant.
Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Assistant are more capable regarding machine learning capabilities, but Siri has a fairly extensive presence in the market with close to 400 million supported devices. Amazon wants to top those numbers by freeing up Alexa to third parties.
Apple’s virtual secretary becomes a translator
If Apple pays attention to anything that is aesthetics, and it has refreshed Siri’s tone to sound more natural. The male and female voices of the assistant will feature a more expressive register, making it clearer and easier to understand.
Both critics and fans say this is a welcomed improvement, but they are more concerned with whether Siri will recognize their voices just as well when the upcoming version launches. Apple fans have been complaining about voice recognition for a long time now.
iPhone and iPad owners will also get access to Siri’s new real-time translation features when iOS 11 launches. These allow the assistant to translate sentences and words from English to Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Mandarin.
Text Siri for help
Part of the evolution of Siri is not only getting more soft-spoken, but also becoming more useful. For that, Apple has engineered the assistant to be more integrated with other proprietary apps like Messages, Mail, Safari, and Maps.
Of course, this also entails that Siri is bringing text interface support so you can write your questions instead of asking them out loud. For instance, you might be reading a News article about a Chinese restaurant and Siri might show a pop-up notification suggesting nearby spots on Maps for you to try dishes or order delivery.
Similarly, it can be more intuitive about your Messages and Mail conversations, as well as your browsing sessions in Safari. Other apps can get similar functionalities using SiriKit, which was expanded to support tasks like note-taking, list making, and mobile transactions.
If you want to take a different approach and build a new app with Siri at its core, CoreML lets you do just that. It is a machine learning framework designed to use Apple resources optimally, including processing power by its A-Series chips.
Siri is coming to your living room and your wrist as well, with the HomePod speaker and a new watch face for the Apple Watch. The interface for the smart accessory shows the smart user notifications intuitively based on experience.
iOS 11 launches this fall for iPhone 5S and later, iPad 5th generation, iPad Mini 2 and later, iPod Touch 6th generation, and all iPad Air and iPad Pro models as a free software update.