Sunday, June 17, 2012

iOS 6 Feature and Enhancement List: Siri

At the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on June 11, Apple announced the latest version of its mobile operating system; iOS 6. The operating system comes with more than 200 improvements that Apple says will make it the best version of the platform yet. Judging by what was shown off at the keynote, it might be difficult to argue with that. Apple’s operating system finally comes with many of the features that today’s consumers and enterprise users not only have been expecting for years, but many have already been using on competing phones. From an improved Mail to an all-new Maps application, the operating system is finally getting close to making good on its promise of satisfying everyone who might want to use it.

As usual, Apple only announced a handful of new features that will be a part of the 200+ changes in the operating system. I will discuss some of the more obvious features that will be included in iOS 6, but I will also list some minor changes that you may or may not miss when you launch a device with the new iOS 6 device. Keep in mind that these features may not even make it to the final cut, but they most like will. Additionally, some features may not exist on older devices or may exist on the iPad, but not on an iPhone; or vise versa.

Siri

Siri on the iPad is one of the more talked about feature of Apple's iOS 6. When Siri debuted on the iPhone 4s, everyone was surprised that it was not available on the iPad when iOS 5 was released.  At that time, the iPad 1 and iPad 2 were excluded from the devices for which Siri would work on.c Apple's new iOS 6, available in the fall of 2012, will add the new iPad to the short list of supported devices for Siri. The iPad 1 and iPad 2 are still excluded; in fact the iPad 1 will not even be allowed to load iOS 6 at all.c The iPad 2 can update to iOS 6, but it will not include Siri. These two facts will bum out many older iPad owners. Siri for iOS 6 will sport (pun intended) some new features.

Ask Siri for game schedules, scores from the current season’s games, or up-to-the minute scores from live games. Tell Siri to show you player stats and compare them against other players’ stats. Siri tracks team records, too, so you’ll always know how well your team is doing (or not doing). Siri will now be able to take on questions related to sports trivia and events. Siri will be able to provide information about Sports scores, team rosters, player stats, game schedules for baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer.

Asking questions about current movies will be improved with the iOS 6 version of Siri. Today when I ask Siri about "Movies near me", Siri will give me a list of movie theaters near me. The new Siri will give me a list of movies with the start times for each title. If I click on a movie title, I will see details about the movie including movie art, trailer (if available), studio, director(s), Starring, rating, Rotten Tomatoes score, description and number of theaters near me that I may watch the movie at. If I click the movie times, I will be presented with a list of each theater and their movie start times. Clicking the theater will provide the movie title, theater location and times available. If I click the address, the map app will launch. Siri handles movies in a way that is much better for the user. User are interested in a movie theater unless it is playing the movie they want to see.

Siri will handle restaurant inquiries better as well. Instead of providing a simple list of places with their ratings, Siri can provide the list sorted by ratings, price or closest proximity to your location. In addition to address and map, Siri may provide information like phone number, website, store hours, price indicator and even the ability to make a reservation.vThis is all done without exiting the current app that you are in when you ask Siri the question.

The most excite change to Siri is that it can be used to launch apps.  I listen to Stitcher Radio daily and using Siri to launch it and starting playing automatically is fantastic. If you have a few or a lots of apps on your iOS device, this feature will be very handy. The app launched properly when I said "Open Stitcher", "Launch Stitcher" or "Show Stitcher".

Another great feature of Siri will be the ability to update both Twitter and Facebook with your voice. I hope they include the ability for Siri to toggle Bluetooth, WiFi and Airplane mode soon.

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