All the ways Siri is chang­ing in iOS 14

Siri fi­nally has a new look, and it’s a big step for­ward for Ap­ple’s dig­i­tal as­sis­tant. Ja­son Cross re­ports

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

Ap­ple has made ad­vance­ments to its Siri per­sonal as­sis­tant in ev­ery ver­sion of iOS, but it’s still looks and acts nearly the same as it did back when it was in­tro­duced in iOS 5. Fi­nally, with iOS 14, Siri is get­ting a much-needed re­design. Here’s what you can ex­pect from Siri when you up­grade.

No more full-screen takeover

When you in­voke Siri, it takes over the en­tire screen. You can’t see what you were look­ing at,

much less in­ter­act with it! It was an un­der­stand­able com­pro­mise years ago, but it’s pos­i­tively back­wards on modern phones.

With iOS 14, Siri will fi­nally let you keep look­ing at your phone. Whether you in­voke it by say­ing, “Hey Siri” or hold­ing the Side but­ton or Home but­ton, you’ll just see a colour­ful orb at the bot­tom of your dis­play.

In the early iOS 14 be­tas, you can’t ac­tu­ally in­ter­act with your screen, even though you can see it. Ap­ple says that’s in­ten­tional, and it may ex­per­i­ment with al­low­ing you to tap and scroll as usual while the lit­tle Siri orb is in view.

It’s not just the Siri lis­ten­ing prompt that got smaller. Many of the an­swers and in­for­ma­tion that Siri de­liv­ers will now show up as small no­ti­fi­ca­tion cards at the top of the screen. And a lot of in­ter­ac­tions, like send­ing mes­sages, just use a rich no­ti­fi­ca­tion in­stead of a

full-screen takeover. Oh, and you can use Siri to send au­dio mes­sages, not just text.

More and bet­ter an­swers

Ap­ple has been greatly ex­pand­ing upon the num­ber of di­rect an­swers Siri can give you. The com­pany claims it has 20 times as many “facts” avail­able as it did three years ago. That may be true, but it’s not specif­i­cally an iOS 14 fea­ture, just a mea­sure of the com­pany’s progress. And it’s start­ing from a po­si­tion way be­hind Google As­sis­tant or Alexa.

But Siri does now give you more an­swers be­yond the facts it knows. Siri’s abil­ity to use web-based in­for­ma­tion to give you a web-based an­swer has got much bet­ter.

Share ETA and cy­cling di­rec­tions

Siri now works with the Share ETA func­tion added to Maps in iOS 13. If you’re nav­i­gat­ing some­where with Maps, you can just tell Siri to share your ETA with a con­tact. They’ll get a no­ti­fi­ca­tion, and can open it to get a live up­dated route. If the per­son you share it with doesn’t have at least iOS 13.1 (or is on an An­droid phone), they’ll get an SMS with your ex­pected ar­rival time, and au­to­matic up­dates if it changes.

Maps in iOS 14 adds cy­cling di­rec­tions, and you can now ask Siri to give you cy­cling di­rec­tions to a par­tic­u­lar des­ti­na­tion, too.

More lan­guages

Siri has been able to trans­late sim­ple phrases for years (for real-time con­ver­sa­tional trans­la­tion, there’s

a whole new Trans­late app in iOS 14), but lan­guage sup­port has been lim­ited. The list of sup­ported trans­la­tion lan­guages is ex­pand­ing to over 65 dif­fer­ent pairs in iOS 14.

In iOS 13, Ap­ple in­tro­duced a fancy new text-tospeech sys­tem that al­lowed Siri to sound nat­u­ral when say­ing al­most any­thing, be­cause it’s not just match­ing up pre-recorded pho­nemes. It was only avail­able for US English, though.

With iOS 14, Ap­ple is ex­pand­ing sup­port for that nat­u­ral lan­guage voice to other English re­gional set­tings (Aus­tralia, In­dia, Ire­land, South Africa, UK), French, Ger­man, Span­ish, Chi­nese and Ja­panese.

In­stead of a fully cov­ered screen, Siri is a small orb at the bot­tom

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