The release of Apple’s iPhone 5 brought with it some major upgrades to the Siri software. The interactive, intelligent virtual assistant uses advanced voice recognition technology to perform the tasks users want the software to do. When Siri was first launched as an app for the iOS 5 on the iPhone 4S, it was described as ‘changing the way you use your phone’. The intelligent personal assistant was designed to integrate with services such as Google Maps, TaxiMagic, OpenTable and MovieTickets. Upgrades made to the Siri software for the iPhone 5 launch now mean that functionality has been vastly expanded.
Essentially, you’re able to talk to Siri as you would talk to a person. It understands the words you say and actually understands the meaning behind your words. The Siri software uses voice recognition technology that allows you to speak your instructions to your iPhone. From there, Siri can actively look up locations, make bookings or buy movie tickets.
Siri: intuitive voice recognition on the iPhone 5
The biggest difference in this incarnation of Siri is the level of intuitive interaction now available. You don’t need to give robotic commands for the software to know what you’re talking about. In fact, you can talk to it the same way you would talk to a person, even with breaks in between what you’re saying. Siri will still understand what you really mean.
For example, if you’re talking to Siri about finding a restaurant in a specific location, it will begin searching. However, if you decide a few seconds later that you want Italian cuisine, tell Siri this and she will immediately understand and upgrade the search.
- You might say: “any good places to eat around here?”
- Siri will respond with: “I found a number of restaurants near you.”
- You can then say: “uh… how about Italian food?”
Siri will understand that your last request was for a restaurant, so it will update the search to include Italian food and locate the nearest Italian restaurants to your current location. When she’s done, she’ll let you know what she’s found.
- Search for Information: ASK - "What is the weather like in Melbourne?"
- Get Directions: ASK - "Can I Get Directions to [location]"
- Communicate for You: SAY - "Message Lisa and tell her I am running late"
- Update Your Social Media Apps: SAY - "Update my FaceBook status, Cooling off at the beach"
- Find You a Restaurant: "ASK - Where is the nearest Italian Restaurant?
- Open Your Apps: SAY - "Launch Photos"
- Stay Organised: SAY - "Set a reminder to pay my mobile bill"
- Keep Up to Date with Sports: ASK - "What's the latest news in tennis"
Even these kind of disjointed conversations are easily understood by the software. If Siri can’t work out what you mean right away, she’ll ask you questions until she narrows down exactly what you’re looking for.
Advancing Siri for iOS 6
The Siri software has undergone multiple upgrades and changes so that the interaction levels now include looking up weather conditions, checking stock prices, making notes, finding music files, sending voice-recognized messages, and much more.
During the WWDC conference in June 2012, the announcement was made that further updates to Siri would be released with the iOS 6. The features touted during that presentation featured checking sports scores and information. The reality shows that Siri is also able to give game schedules along with scores and even the stats for favourite teams and individual players.
Wanting to learn more about what else was released with iOS6, and what is has to offer?
Using Siri so you keep your eyes on the road
Trying to use your mobile phone while you’re driving is known to increase your risk of having an accident. Development for integration into car systems also means Siri can be used in the car while driving. The ability to get Siri to give directions to a destination, call people, or send a message for you while you’re driving means fewer distractions and less need to take your eyes off the road or wheel for that matter. You don’t need to focus on your phone and tap various apps or icons to get what you need. Siri will do it for you.
When you’re in the car, the iOS 6 is now designed not to allow the phone’s screen to light up if you receive a call or a message. This helps to further reduce distraction while you’re driving.
- Instead, Siri can read out those messages or notifications for you.
Apple has been working closely with multiple car manufacturers in an effort to integrate the Siri software into voice control systems. You can ask Siri questions or ask it to perform tasks on your phone for you without risking your own safety.
Siri now Multi-Lingual
Early versions of Siri were available in English, French, German and Japanese. However, the newly-upgraded Siri is now available in 14 languages including Italian, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese. Its functionality is also far more interactive in more countries than ever before.
Apple also announced that the upgrades would include international expansion of some features that were previously limited only to the US. This includes Maps.
Of course, Apple has rehashed its own Maps app so that its own map information is used wherever possible. The app is designed to integrate with Yelp to include traffic information and even local business listings.
As part of the Maps app upgrade, Siri will also be able to offer vocal turn-by-turn navigation while you drive. She’ll direct you to any destination, letting you know when to turn as each exit comes up.
Google have released iPhone app for Google Maps that you can download from the App Store - it features turn-by-turn navigation, vector based loading and some golden oldies: street view, reliable directions and public transit routes.
What’s next for Siri?
Apple obviously intends to keep expanding on the usefulness and resourcefulness of Siri. The latest upgrades for the iOS 6 seem to be just the tip of the iceberg.
The much anticipated launch of the iPhone 5 was definitely worth the wait, if only to experience the increased interaction levels of the innovative Siri software. Of course, there are so many other exciting benefits the new iOS 6 offers that it’s easy to see why the iPhone 5 is selling out everywhere already.