Apple is toting over 200 new features with the upcoming release of the newly announced iOS 6 update and yesterday we were given a first look at some of the key additions headed to iDevices this year. Siri amongst them was of course featured, warming the crowd up at the start of yesterday’s keynote and later, Scott Forstall took to the stage to demonstrate just what she’s/he’s/it’s been up to since it first graced iPhones last year.
It would appear that Siri has been to school or rather, it’s picked up a little more life experience, been travelling and seen the world. The key additions to its knowledge base now include sporting, film and restaurant information and the service will become available in 60 countries when the update officially releases in the coming months.
Although the original Siri was an inclusion on iOS 5, a lack of fundamental functionality held the service back, confining it to typically more novel tasks such as proclaiming itself the greatest smartphone in the world. Of course it was also capable of calling or texting contacts using voice dictation, could identify family members in your address book, tell you the weather or show you stocks and shares, search services like Wikipedia for information it couldn’t readily identify or find and search the local area for businesses and shops, although this last feature was confined solely to the US, making it far less powerful elsewhere in the world.
The new Siri is as we said before, far more worldly. For one, local search, which we just mentioned, is finally making its way outside the US, which will allow users to search for all sorts of places and offer up a link through to iOS 6’s new Maps application, the much talked about new app which leaves behind Apple’s ties to Google’s location services in favour of its own in-house solution.
What’s more, searching for information on sports games and players is now supported, in the UK with Barclays Premier League, as well as being able to source cinema times and find your nearest screen through a partnership with Rotten Tomatoes. Restaurant information is fully fleshed out, with Yell reviews visible right within Siri and Apple has bestowed upon it the ability to speak a number of new languages, including Spanish, Mandarin, Italian and Korean.
No doubt developers will be experimenting with the newly available public APIs, expanding Siri’s functionality even further, and for the rest of us, we’ll have to wait a little longer to have more intriguing iConversations. Roll on the new parody videos too we say.