iOS 12: Apple finally makes Siri smart with new update to iPhone, iPad and HomePod

The virtual assistant can now actually do things for you

Andrew Griffin
in California
Monday 04 June 2018 19:32
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Apple's 'The Developer Migration' video for WWDC 2018

Apple has added a whole new way of interacting with Siri that could overhaul the way the digital assistant works.

The new Siri feature is based around “Shortcuts”, which allows the voice assistant to allow people to do things far more quickly on their phone. Those shortcuts can be used in any app, finally allowing a whole range of apps to interact with Siri.

For instance, if you always order coffee on an app in a morning, you can add those as a shortcut. Users can choose how to start them – so it can be programmed to hear “morning coffee” and make your usual order.

Siri will also be able predict when you might want one of those shortcuts. If you always use a certain app when you arrive at the gym, for instance, that will pop up and suggest that you set a Siri shortcut to trigger it.

It will even use other information, of the kind that Siri is analysing all the time. If it is your grandmother’s birthday, for instance, it will pop up and give an easy shortcut to do so.

And all of those can be combined. Apple showed, for instance, a short that could be started simply by saying “surf time” to trigger a whole host of features: checking the surf report in one app, looking at the weather, and even reminding you to put on sunscreen.

The features appear to have been borrowed from Workflow, an app recently bought by Apple that did many of the same things but without having access to Apple’s systems. The company revealed a new app called Shortcuts, which will presumably take Workflow’s place.

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