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Siri to offer more options, new voices, iOS in the Car

updated 07:00 pm EDT, Mon June 10, 2013

French, German voices too; more languages coming later

As expected, Siri will be given an upgrade in the forthcoming version set for iOS -- incorporating new services including Twitter, Wikipedia and Bing among other new sources. The interface will be reshaped to fit into the iOS 7 design aesthetic, with a "waveform" look that fades into view on a layer over the current content on the screen. The program will also now feature a new choice of voices -- a new female voice, or a male one if preferred -- with new voices for French and German users as well (and more languages in the works).

The new voices (based on their brief debut during the WWDC keynote) sound to be more natural in tone and rhythm. The program can also take on more tasks than before, such as playing back voicemail or returning calls. Siri will also be able to control iTunes Radio in addition to its existing ability to control the Music app's playback. Siri can also be used to control settings, such as "turn Bluetooth off" or "increase brightness."

Due to the integration of Wikipedia and Twitter, commands such as "what is Marco saying?" or "Tell me about craft brewing" will result in Twitter messages or Wikipedia articles summarized and read aloud. A command like "where are the best beaches for surfing in northern California" will produce search results from Bing, Microsoft's search service -- continuing the exodus away from Google services wherever practical to do so. The program can also display images of certain things when asked.

Apple Senior VP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue also mentioned Siri when rolling out another feature, one Apple says is "coming in 2014," called iOS in the Car. While "95 percent of the cars being sold today have integrated music playback and control from an iOS device," as Cue stated, "we want to take this integration to a whole other level."

The app allows the iOS device to pump the interaction, video and audio of iOS into those 95 percent of current car models to essentially bring iOS to the screen used in the vehicles. This means drivers will be able to make phone calls, use Maps, get iMessages and more right on the screen (or eyes-free using Siri). Among the car manufacturers that will be integrating the iOS in the Car app into their current systems are Honda, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Chevrolet, Lexus, Kia, Volvo and Jaguar among others.

by MacNN Staff



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