With iOS 8, Siri is not simply a novelty feature that’ll answer your dumb questions, nor is she an encyclopedia to confirm any random fact that may pop into your head. She can actually carry out tasks and commands, and Apple has added a whole new slew of Siri features in iOS 8.
While some simply add functionality to put Siri on the same level as competing voice assistants Cortana and Google Now, there are also some new features specific to Apple’s newly unveiled iOS 8 services that make Siri more useful than ever before. But, there are also a few things I wish Siri could answer, features which I think should have been integrated but sadly, are missing. Below are some questions that Siri will now be able to answer, and some she still struggles with.
1) ‘Hey Siri!’
It’s not exactly a question, but before you ask Siri anything, you should know that the latest update has integrated hands-free voice commands, similar to Google Now’s ‘OK Google’ hands-free activation. If you want to ask Siri something, just shout ‘Hey Siri’, and she’ll respond to your command. It’s good for things like driving– when hands-free is a must– but your iPhone must be plugged in and charging for hand-free Siri to work.
Not exactly the response I expected from Siri.
2) Siri, what song is playing?
Asking Siri about a song was never a problem, but she was never equipped to tell you what song was playing. That is, until now. In iOS 8, Siri’s integrated with Shazam, meaning that all you have to do is ask her what song is playing to activate Shazam and get an ID for the song.
And she was right!
3) Siri, can you download SwiftKey?
Siri’s already capable of launching third party apps, but now, she can access the App Store too. If you want to download an app, simply ask Siri, and she’ll search for and open up the App Store for you.
When asked if she could download SwiftKey, she pulled up SwiftKey Note, which is technically right, but I should have been more specific– I was looking for the new SwiftKey Keyboard for iOS 8.
4) Siri, can you turn on the lights?
New services like Apple’s HomeKit have been integrated with Siri to make controlling your home even easier. Things like Philip’s Hue lights, which can be controlled with the Philips Hue app to turn lights off and on, will activate by voice command. It’s like a 21st century version of The Clapper, but even less work.
I don’t use any HomeKit services, but it looks like she’s willing to help if I decide to start using any.
Questions without the right answer:
5) Siri, how many calories have I burned today?
You’d think that with the addition of Health Kit, Siri would be able to pull up some of your health data on command. With links to apps like Nike+ Running or FitBit, you can get a ton of information about your health stats via Apple’s new service. Alas, it looks like she doesn’t have access to your most personal health information quite yet.
If the info’s on your phone, you’d think you’d be able to access it, right?
6) Siri, em pots entendre?
The answer is no, and the question (in Catalan) is ‘Siri, can you understand me?’ iOS 8 is rumored to have added Siri support for over 22 languages, but it’s yet to appear in the app. Noted languages include Arabic, Catalan, Czech, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Vietnamese. Check out all upcoming official languages here.
You know something’s not working when she understands ‘Siri, em pots entrendre’ as ‘CD unbuttoned Tinder’.
7) Siri, how do I look?
Okay, this might be a bit of a stretch, but wouldn’t it be convenient if by asking Siri how you look, it’d activate your front-facing camera so that you could do a quick spot check? Compliments never hurt, but sometimes it’d be nice to see for yourself (not to mention that it’d make taking selfies easier).
No Siri, I wanted the truth!
It looks like Siri is starting to play a more active role in the iOS operating system, maturing into more of an assistant than a novelty. Integrating Siri with some of Apple’s newest additions in iOS 8, notably HomeKit, not only make the services themselves more useful, but also bring Siri to the forefront when it comes to voice assistant selection.
Still, Siri isn’t perfect, and it’d be nice to see more integration with third-party apps and a hands-free ‘Hey Siri’. For now though, I’ll enjoy less of a scramble to open Shazam to ID a tune thanks to Siri’s newly expanded knowledge of music.
More about iOS 8:
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