Siri may be one of the iPhone’s best features if you’re looking to waste time or enjoy a bit of humor. But Apple’s digital assistant has always been the most useful iPhone feature if you’re really looking to get something done. That’s going to change with both iOS 10, the upcoming release of Apple’s operating system for the iPhone and iPad, and macOS Sierra, the next version of Apple’s newly-renamed operating system for the Mac.
Siri has been a fun sidekick, but for years, users have been hoping that she’d get a little smarter and a little more useful. Apple is making that wish come true in a big way by finally opening Siri up to third-party developers, by integrating Siri into the Mac, and by making some other big changes that’ll make Siri a much more useful assistant across your Apple devices. Read on to learn about the five new Siri features that will make you want to download iOS 10 and macOS Sierra as soon as they’re released.
1. Tap into third-party apps
Here’s the big news: Apple is finally opening Siri up to developers. There are a few apps that are integrated with Siri already — like Yelp or Twitter — but any developer will be able to plug their services and features right into Siri’s interface. You’ll be able to send a message with Slack or WeChat, book a ride with Uber or Lyft, search your photos with EyeEm, start workouts in Runtastic or RunKeeper, make payments with Venmo or Number26, or make calls with Skype or Viber.
Natasha Lomas reports for TechCrunch that Siri rival Alexa, embedded into Amazon’s Echo speaker, has been open to outside developers for a year. Ben Popper reports for The Verge that Alexa now integrates with 1,000 different third-party services, while Siri has remained a “fairly closed-off service” since its launch. Siri, on the other hand, was launched in 2011 with tight control over app integrations and voice recognition technology with only hit-and-miss accuracy and usefulness. Siri has long been held back by Apple’s reticence to enable the assistant to interface with the wide variety of apps and devices that iOS users own and love. As Re/Code’s Ina Fried notes, it’s still unknown how Siri will decide which app to use when multiple apps are capable of responding, but many developers are eager to integrate their apps with Siri despite the unknowns.