Siri is Apple’s voice assistant and on this page you can find out what it is, how it works, which devices it is compatible with and other important information.
‘Siri, what’s the best pizzeria in town?’, ‘Siri, what are my appointments today?’, ‘Siri, tell me a joke!’.
These are just a few examples of the questions that millions of people around the world ask Siri to get information, solve problems, simplify the organization of their lives or simply to feel less alone.
And she always answers, punctual and precise, with a pleasant reassuring voice and a helpful tone, but above all with a very high intelligence quotient that allows her to interact in an extraordinary way with humans.
This is how the world has changed in recent years and if you are not yet part of this reality, you are missing out on something revolutionary that could change your way of life for the better.
This guide allows you, therefore, to get to know Siri better in all its facets and then it will be up to you to decide if you want to enter this new dimension or if, instead, you prefer to remain anchored in the past.
What is Siri?
Siri is the artificial intelligence voice assistant for Apple devices ; corresponds to Alexa for Amazon, Cortana for Microsoft and Google Assistant for Google.
We can ask her any kind of question, from the simplest ones like ‘What will the weather be like tomorrow?’ to the more complicated ones such as ‘How many calories are in Nutella?’ , but it doesn’t just answer questions: Siri can also do things for us , such as turn the lights on or off in the house, set alarms and appointments, activate calls, start the scrubber robot and so on.
We can therefore say that Siri is a kind of virtual secretary that allows us to find information in a few seconds and does an innumerable amount of things for us, giving us the most precious things: time and ease.
From a practical standpoint, Siri works by relying on artificial intelligence and natural language processing. The mechanisms on which it is based are 3:
- Conversational interface : it allows you to understand word by word what we are saying.
- Contextual user awareness : allows Siri to go beyond the literal meaning of words to predict and understand the meaning of our sentences based on statistics and machine learning thanks to which Siri can analyze the meaning of what we say by also referring to our personal habits and our language preferences.
- Delegation of the service : thanks to this system, Siri has unlimited access to all the apps integrated in our iPhone and can give the latter directives to take the necessary actions to provide us with the results we asked for.
To give Siri a task, simply say ‘Hey Siri’ to the iPhone , AirPods, connected bluetooth headphones, Apple Watch or HomePod.
But we can also do the same thing through the buttons: if we have an iPhone with Touch ID we have to hold down the Home button and say what we want. If, on the other hand, we have an iPhone with facial recognition, just press the on / off button for a few seconds and then ask the question.
On the Apple Watch we can hold down the crown, type (Digital Crown) or we can raise our wrist, wait a few seconds and say ‘Hey Siri’.
History and evolution of Siri
Siri has recently turned 10; was first integrated into the iPhone 4s in October 2011, forever changing the way we interact with technology.
Since then, it has come a long way and has developed in an extraordinary way up to the incredible functions it is able to perform with the latest models of smartphones, tablets and smartwatches.
In fact, as early as 2010 its creators had created an iOS app that attempted to integrate artificial intelligence into a cognitive assistant that its creators had given the name Siri, which in Norwegian means “beautiful victory”.
The app was actually created for Android and BlackBerry but Steve Job acquired it for Apple, only to die exactly the day after the iPhone 4S was announced with the beta version of Siri integrated.
Initially Siri presented some problems, first of all the fact that it was necessary to pronounce requests, rather simple, in an essential and precise way, but nevertheless it was the best voice assistant on the market.
Over time, Siri has improved more and more, being able to distinguish the various accents of the English language and providing more and more precise information.
But that’s not enough: Siri has become capable of giving proactive suggestions: if, for example, we are late for an appointment, it advises us to call the person who is waiting for us and is also able to suggest us which home automation devices we should activate in certain schedules or what strategies to use to do a precise search.
With the iOS15, futuristic levels have been reached that we can summarize as follows:
- Elimination of the cloud : Voice processing and personalization are now done on the device itself and this greatly increases the speed at which Siri processes commands and also makes the system much more secure as most audio requests are kept entirely on the device and they don’t end up in the cloud. In addition, Siri is now able to learn which contacts we interact with the most and recognize the new words you type.
- New Features : Siri can share everything on the screen such as photos, Apple Music songs, web pages and more, and has improved its ability to keep context between requests. But above all Siri can control HomeKit devices at specific times and also based on location, so for example we can ask her to turn off the lights when we leave the house.
- Offline Support : Plenty of requests can be handled offline such as turning alarms and timers on and off, launch apps, check audio, and access settings options.
- Immediate sharing : if we want to share a photo, song, podcast or other with one of our contacts, we just have to say ‘Siri, send this to…’. If it’s something that can’t be shared, like the text of a message, Siri takes a screenshot of it and sends it.
What can Siri do?
Let’s get to the point: what can Siri do?
The question doesn’t have a short answer because Siri can really do everything. It can assist us when we are out and about or when we are busy driving (if the car supports CarPlay) by giving us the information we need, advice, suggestions and managing phone calls and messages.
We have compiled for you a list of its most requested and frequent functions, just to give you an idea of the breadth of things it is capable of doing, but obviously this is not an exhaustive list:
- Make calls
- Send / read texts
- Send messages on third-party messaging apps
- Set alarms / timers
- Set reminders
- Check the calendar
- Start FaceTime
- It makes divisions and calculations
- Play music (specific tracks, artists, genres, playlist)
- Identify the songs and provide all the info about them
- Check out HomeKit products
- Plays TV shows and movies while also answering questions about them (if you have any)
- He does translations and conversions
- Offers sporting results
- Check stocks
- Takes photos based on person, location, object and time
- Offers Apple Maps navigation and directions
- Make reservations
- Opens apps and interacts with them
- Find Files (on Mac)
- Send money via Apple Pay
- Check out movie times and ratings
- Look for nearby restaurants and businesses
- Find the shortcuts
- Search and create notes
- Search on Twitter and other apps
- He opens the camera and takes a photo
- Increase / decrease brightness
- Change the control settings
- Tell jokes, roll the dice, flip a coin
- Play voice messages
- Check the weather
This is the official list of things to ask Siri.
What devices are compatible with Siri?
Some devices compatible with Siri
Siri is available on virtually all Apple devices , so:
- All iPhones starting from 4S
- All iPads from June 2012
- iPod Touch
- Apple TV HD
- Apple TV 4K
- autonomous Siri remote control
- Apple Watch
- AirPods from September 2016.
- HomePods since February 2018
- HomePod mini
Most Apple devices support the “Hey Siri” activation command, but the latest iPad, iPhone, Mac and Apple Watch offer hands-free activation even when not connected to power.
This means that you can use the “Hey Siri” wake-up phrase at any time to activate it. This is the list of compatible devices:
- iPhone 6s and later
- 5th generation iPad and later
- All iPad Pro models except the 1st generation 12.9-inch model
- iPad mini 5th generation and later
- iPad Air 3rd generation and later
- 2nd generation AirPods (iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch connection required)
- AirPods Max
- AirPods Pro
- HomePod e HomePod mini
- All Apple Watch models
- MacBook Pro 2018 or later
- 2018 MacBook Air or later
- iMac Pro
Home automation integration: Apple HomeKit
HomeKit by Apple (here a discussion) is a software that is used to make smart home devices work; was launched for the first time in 2014 as part of iOS 8 and since then the manufacturers of home automation devices must comply with specific technical standards and support the Apple HomeKit interface, as well as adhere to the hardware guidelines, to be certified HomeKit.
Until 2017, Apple required a specific hardware security chip for HomeKit-compatible devices, but then replaced this requirement with software.
On the Apple website you can consult the list of all the home automation accessories supported by Homekit which includes famous brands such as LIFX, Elgato, Honeywell, Hunter, August, Kwikset and Logitech. Here you will find a selection of the best devices compatible with Siri.
Once the various devices have been installed in our smart home, we will be able to control them using Siri which is able to recognize every part of the house and the various automations present in it. To give you some examples, here are some of the commands that Siri is able to understand and execute:
- “Turn off the lights in the bathroom.”
- “Set the brightness to 70%.”
- “Alza at a temperature of 22 degrees.”
- “Did I lock the front door?”
- “I am home.”
- “Turn on the air conditioning in the bedroom at 9pm.”
- “Turn off the lights left on in the house by the sea”
For safety, some devices will not work with Siri unless we unlock the phone; for example the locks, so that if someone steals our phone they cannot enter our house.
What are the differences between Siri and Google Assistant or Alexa?
All three are, of course, voice assistants: Siri for Apple, Google Assistant for Google, and Alexa for Amazon.
Comparison between Siri and Google Assistant
- Technology : The main difference is that Google Assistant uses natural language to interact with the user while Siri uses natural language processing. In addition, Google is integrated with Google search and uses it to answer our questions, whereas Siri uses the phone’s default search engine to do so.
- Power : beyond the normal functions that both can perform, Google can be used in a more ‘natural’ way and offers the best in the management of search-based Web Queries which is its strong point. Siri, on the other hand, gives its best in web browsing and dictation, and is the voice assistant with the longest history behind it, as well as being the most used.
- Integration : Google works with more than 5,000 smart home devices from more than 100 brands, while Siri is limited to the Apple world, but allows you to do everything faster on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV and iPod Touch.
Comparison between Siri and Alexa
- Technology : Alexa uses conversation-related AI techniques, while Siri uses natural language processing and needs some time to adjust to the user’s voice.
- Power : Compared to Siri, whose strengths we already know, Alexa is strong with shopping apps and entertainment services, excluding music where Siri is certainly better.
- Integration : as already mentioned Siri is limited to Apple devices while Alexa easily connects to a really much longer list.
Conclusions and final considerations
If at this point you seem to know everything about Siri , you should know that many news are coming: we don’t even know them, but we talk about the studies that Apple is doing on the recognition of environmental noises in order to adjust its volume, the increase the possibilities of personalization and even the ability to perceive emotions.
We have no doubts, therefore, that Siri will surprise us again in the near future, but above all it will help to make our life more and more simple, organized and interesting.