Microsoft has a new TV commercial for its Windows Phone 8.1 Cortana assistant in which it’s taking new shots at one of its biggest competitors, Apple’s voice-based assistant Siri. The new ad, titled “Happy Anniversary,” shows a smartphone user issuing certain commands to an iPhone 5s (Siri) and a Lumia 635 (Cortana), with only the latter able to recognize them and deliver appropriate responses. More →
Siri is one of Apple’s crown jewels. The intelligent virtual assistant was introduced in 2011 alongside the iPhone 4S and the software has seen tremendous improvements since then. Siri has also seen its functionality expand exponentially, which is obviously a good thing — but it also means there are so many features packed in that there’s no way we can remember them all.
Luckily, there is now a ridiculously comprehensive guide to help us out. More →
Siri has gotten a lot of competition since its debut in late 2011 in the form of Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana. Now it looks like Apple has started taking some more aggressive steps to make sure Siri keeps up with its other voice-enabled assistant rivals, as Wired reports that the company has been going on a big hiring spree aimed at improving Siri’s overall intelligence and reactivity. More →
There are plenty of great features Android users enjoy that iPhone owners simply don’t have access to (and plenty of awesome Android apps that do amazing things the iPhone can’t). For iOS device users who don’t mind jailbreaking their handsets, however, the gap in functionality is significantly less wide. Now, thanks to one iOS developer, Apple device owners have access to yet another nifty Android feature that had previously eluded them. More →
Apple is always working on ways to make both Apple TV and Siri more useful and now it looks like the company is planning to bring them together at some point. 9to5Mac reports that new code found in the iOS 7.1 software development kit indicates that Siri is going to get integrated with Apple TV in a future release. More →
Apple will integrate Shazam song discovery features in its upcoming iOS 8 mobile operating system, Bloomberg reports, in an attempt to further increase iTunes music sales. Shazam integration will be built within iOS 8 in a similar manner to Twitter integration, the publication says, which means iPhone and iPad owners won’t have to download a separate app to enable it. More →
Siri is getting a lot of competition from Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana these days, but some young hackers have just made Siri much more useful, even if they did so without Apple’s permission. Engadget draws our attention to GoogolPlex, a new hack for Siri developed by a quartet of freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania that lets you use Apple’s voice-enabled personal assistant to adjust the temperature on your Nest thermostat or to shuffle through your Spotify playlist. More →
One of the main features of Windows Phone 8.1 is Microsoft’s voice-based virtual assistant called Cortana. While Microsoft has extensively demoed Cortana on stage during its Build 2014 opening event and in many videos it posted on YouTube, now that Windows Phone 8.1 is available the assistant can be tested in real life situations. That’s exactly what WPCentral did, comparing Cortana to its rivals from Apple and Google. More →
Microsoft finally got around to releasing its rival to Siri and Google Now this week and early impressions have been pretty strong. However, TechCrunch reports that Apple isn’t taking Cortana’s challenge lying down and has acquired speech recognition technology company Novauris Technologies to help make Siri better than ever. TechCrunch notes that while “Novauris may not have been a household name… its founders were internationally known speech researchers, and key members while at Dragon Systems, a company known for products like ‘DragonDictate’ and ‘Dragon NaturallySpeaking.’” This connection with Nuance and its Dragon NaturallySpeaking software isn’t at all surprising since Apple used Nuance’s technology to power Siri back when it launched in 2011. Just what the former Novauris team are doing to make Siri better remains a mystery, of course — unlike Google, Facebook and other big tech companies, Apple rarely tips its hand about what it’s really working on.
Of all the announcements at the Microsoft Build Developer Conference, Cortana certainly stands out as one of the most intriguing. With the addition of a worthwhile personal assistant, Windows Phone will finally begin to reach parity with iOS and Android, at least from a feature perspective. At first glance, it’s difficult not to compare Cortana to its iOS predecessor, so Microsoft has decided to approach the issue head on with a series of short videos comparing the two assistants. Microsoft argues that Cortana is a more personal companion, one which will learn about you and treat you as an individual, whereas Siri was built for everyone. Check out the videos below. More →
Apple on Wednesday was granted 38 patents, Patently Apple reports, including a Siri-related patent that stands out not only for describing advanced features for a voice-enabled assistant of the future, but also because the patent was first filed in early September 2006, well ahead of the first-generation iPhone’s debut. Even though work on iPhone and several of its components including a voice assistant has started well ahead of the phone’s launch, Siri was only added in late 2011, with the iPhone 4S becoming the first Apple handset to offer users the unique set of voice-based features that many have grown to love. More →
Want to know Siri’s backstory? All you have to do is ask the right questions. The engineers responsible for creating Apple’s virtual personal assistant Siri built in a number of fun Easter Eggs, or hidden features that can be discovered by asking specific questions or giving certain commands. Apple has continued to add even more fun new features as it continues to develop Siri, but perhaps one of the most interesting Siri Easter Eggs is one that has been present since the very beginning — but has yet to be uncovered. More →
Apple is apparently interested in further developing its voice-based virtual assistant Siri to offer users more advanced features, possibly akin to Google’s Google Now functionality. This, of course, could prove to be extremely useful on devices whose screens aren’t that big, a new The Information report seems to indicate. More →