Apple’s virtual assistant Siri has been around for 12 years now, ostensibly serving as a way to interact with your Apple devices using only your voice. While Apple provides a wide-ranging list of things you could conceivably use Siri for, realistically you’re probably going to be using it to do things like set reminders, check the weather, ask otherwise easily google-able questions, and control your smart home devices.
First introduced on the iPhone 4S, the digital assistant can now be found on most Apple devices, including iPad, Mac, Apple TV, Apple Watch, HomePod, and the forthcoming Apple Vision Pro headset.
Here’s a quick primer on how to use Siri, and what you can do with it.
What is Siri?
Siri is the name Apple has given to it’s voice controlled, AI-powered assistant. It’s the voice you hear when you say “Hey, Siri” to your phone, or hold down the Side or Home button on your Apple device. Siri was designed as an easy way to interact with your Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, HomePod, and Mac.
As Siri is built into Apple’s various operating systems (including iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS), the voice assistant has direct access to certain built-in apps apps like Mail, Contacts, Messages, and more, allowing you do complete various tasks hands-free, using just voice commands.
Where did Siri come from?
Though the voice assistant has become synonymous with Apple, the company didn’t originally create Siri. The voice assistant was developed by a company called Siri Inc., a spinoff of a project from the SRI International Artificial Intelligence Center.
The first iteration of the Siri voice assistant was introduced back in February 2010 as a standalone app for iOS. At the time of launch, the Siri Inc. team was also planning on launching the Siri app for Android and BlackBerry devices, but a few months later, in April 2010, Apple acquired the company and its tech—including Siri.
In October 2011, Apple launched the iPhone 4S, with a beta version of Siri built right into iOS.
Where is Siri available?
You can find the virtual voice assistant on all of Apple’s devices. This includes iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, the iPod Touch (if you still use one), Apple TV, HomePod, and even AirPods (when connected to an iPhone or iPad).
Siri will also be onboard Apple’s “spatial computing” headset, Vision Pro, when it launches in February 2024. You’ll be able to use Siri to open or close apps in visionOS, and to provide voice dictation (the device lacks controllers or a physical keyboard, reportedly making “typing” a bit of a chore, so if you get one, you’ll probably be talking to Siri a lot.).
What can Siri do?
Siri can handle basic tasks like creating calendar appointments, checking the weather or traffic, playing music, and sending messages. Siri can also be used to identify songs (partially thanks to Apple’s acquisition of Shazam back in 2018) and give you turn-by-turn directions in Apple Maps. Since 2016, the tech has also been available to third-party developers, so you may also be able to use Siri to control smart home devices and perform other tasks.
If you’re just getting into smart home tech, Siri on iOS or HomePod can be used to control your devices that support HomeKit such as lights, thermostats, smart locks and more.
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