How-To

Hi, Apple Siri, what has changed this year?

In recent years, Siri has become much more than a voice assistant. Here’s a look at how far it has come this past year.

Apple has made significant changes to its software lineup in 2020. In particular, iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur are packed full of interesting new features. As is often the case, Apple’s voice assistant, Siri, has also received enhancements in the latest software versions. Here’s a look at the changes and what they mean to you from now on.

First launched in 2011, Siri is a voice assistant available on various Apple platforms, including iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS operating systems. The assistant uses voice queries and a natural-language user interface to answer questions, perform actions, and make recommendations. In time, it also adapters to the language usages, searches, and preferences of each user.

New Siri Features

Apple has added the following new features to its voice assistant with iOS 14/iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, macOS Big Sur, and tvOS 14.

Now Available on iPhone and iPad

The most significant changes to Siri this year are accessible through iOS and iPadOS. These include:

  • A compact design that allows you to see more information onscreen.
  • The knowledge database includes more than 20 times the information than it did in 2017.
  • Siri now includes broader web answers to some questions. At launch, this expanded coverage is only available in English (U.S., UK, Canada, India, and Australia).
  • On iOS and CarPlay, you can now send audio messages using the voice assistant.
  • Integration with an all-new Translation app.

Apple Watch

Cupertino recently introduced the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE. However, you don’t need a new Apple Watch to experience Siri’s latest features. These include:

  • Like on iOS and iPadOS, Siri’s embedded in a new language translation app. To get started, you raise your write and ask something like, “How do you say I’m hungry in Chinese?” or “What’s the word “football” in French.” Siri answers by speaking the word(s) in the languages you requested, and also includes an audio link to hear the translation again. Yes, it’s that simple.  On Apple Watch, Siri can translate into 10 languages.

Apple Watch translation

  • The Apple Watch itself processes dictation now, as opposed to a connected iPhone. By doing so, expect quicker requests and more reliability.
  • Meanwhile, Siri Shortcuts are quicker to run on the wearable device. You can also add the shortcuts as complications on your watch face.

Mac

The upcoming macOS Big Sur update for Macs offers the same in-depth web knowledge for Siri mentioned above. This provides a broader set of questions for which Siri now has the answers. For example, you can ask questions like, “How do hybrid cars work?” or “What causes seasons?” The web knowledge search functionality is only available in English (U.S., UK, Canada, India, and Australia).

The macOS Big Sur update also lets the voice assistant identify possible reminders and make suggestions based on your Mail correspondence. Imagine being invited to an upcoming online event through email. The invitation includes the date and time and more information. Recognizing this, Siri would list this invitation in the native Reminders app as a suggestion.

Apple TV

Siri plays a big role on Apple TV. Using Siri Remote, you can ask the voice assistant countless questions centered around entertainment, sports, weather, etc. In tvOS 14, you can now ask Siri to show any of your HomeKit-enabled cameras and trigger scenes located in the new Home view in the Control Center. Additionally, the latest operating system update brings refined search capabilities to the set-top box.

Do You Want to Push Your Siri Use Further?

In recent years, Siri has become much more than a voice assistant. The most significant change has been the introduction of Siri Shortcuts. Initially launched in 2018 with iOS 12, Siri Shortcuts let you perform everyday tasks (or a series of functions) with your voice or a simple tap or automatically at a specific time or arrival. To get started with Siri Shortcuts, be sure to check out our top 10 favorites. Are you a music lover? These impressive Apple Music-based Siri Shortcuts are for you!

Currently, Apple has released publish versions of iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14. Apple’s likely to release macOS Big Sur for Mac in the coming weeks.

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