Each generation of the Apple iPhone brought something new to the table and the biggest innovation with the iPhone 4S in 2011 was the introduction of the Siri voice assistant. Since then, Siri has continually been updated to add more features.
What Can Apple Siri Do?
Siri is fully integrated into the iPhone from version iOS 5 onward. It can also be used with an Apple Watch, all editions of the iPad from 3 on, any iPad mini and versions of the iPod touch from 5th generation on. It can do many of the things you would do on your iPhone without having to type, open any specific app, or go through any menus. With Siri, just begin speaking. Siri then interprets your voice input and responds accordingly.
Practical Uses of Siri
Some of the most useful Siri functions include the following:
- Make a phone call: You can ask Siri to dial a number for you by the name of the person in your contact list. You can also ask it to initiate a FaceTime video call.
- Look up information: Siri can look up nearly anything available on the Internet, including movie listings, store phone numbers, and the local weather.
- Create calendar events: Give Siri a basic command to create a new calendar entry. You can also ask Siri to play reminders for you, set timers and alarms.
- Play music: Siri integrates with Apple Music so rather than searching for a song, you can tell Siri what to play and she will respond.
- Get directions: You could ask, "How do I drive from here to Madison Square Gardens in New York?" Siri would then direct you to the Maps app and provide the suitable driving directions.
- Send a message: Siri works with both iMessage and email. Simply dictate your message using speech-to-text.
- Make reservations: Siri integrates with OpenTable, so it's possible to say something like, "Siri, reserve a table for two at The Western Crab Bake at 6 p.m. tomorrow."
- Get recommendations: Siri can understand natural language and infer information you need. If you tell Siri, "I feel like watching an action movie tonight," it can look up movie showtimes and you can buy tickets. Ask for local restaurants and relevant information from the Internet will be relayed.
- Open an app: Siri will open any app on your iPhone by request.
- Manage your smart home: Siri can integrate with HomeKit-enabled accessories to turn on lights, change the temperature and work your security system.
- Send a payment: Using the Apple Pay app, Siri can send money to anyone in your contact list.
What Languages Does Siri Speak?
Compared to Other Digital Assistants
The most popular digital assistants currently are Apple's Siri, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Questions and Answers
One review of these three assistants asked them a series of 20 questions on various subjects. Though Siri's ability to find information is good, it gave the least reliable answers compared to Alexa and Google. Google came out on top in a similar review asking over 4,000 questions while Siri performed the worst.
All three assistants work best if you to subscribe to their specific services: Apple Music for Siri, Amazon Music for Alexa and Google Play Music for Google Assistant. Both Alexa and Google can be used to play home speakers from several companies, but Siri only works with the Apple HomePod. Google connected speakers can also recognize different voices while Siri and Alexa cannot. The updated Siri from 2017 can function as a DJ playing music based on general requests.
Google Assistant and Alexa work with many third-party systems, as well as control actual TVs with Amazon Fire and Google Chromecast devices. Siri can handle playing media via AirPlay, but it cannot control a device such as turning it on.
Siri generally fares better in terms of communication, because it allows you to make calls and send text messages, as well as emails. You can call or text anyone with another Alexa device as well as call anyone in your contacts. You cannot make international or emergency calls with Google Assistant and Alexa, nor can you send emails like you can with Siri.
Third Party Support
Choose Your Ecosystem
Your choice of digital assistant should be based on the products you use the most. If you use Google software and services heavily, you will gravitate toward Google Assistant. The same is true with Amazon and Alexa, which integrates better with third party services. If you are a diehard Apple user, Siri may be a better option.
Making Life More Convenient
At the end of the day, Siri on iPhone doesn't do anything that you couldn't do without Siri. The key selling point is that it's meant to make life simpler and more convenient.