Siri: What it is and how Apple’s virtual assistant works

The way you use your smartphone has changed dramatically in recent years. Instead of taking a long time to access an application or perform all functions by holding your finger on the screen, nowadays it is possible to use various functions of the device with only spoken instructions.

Much of this convenience came with the advent of virtual assistants, with each platform having its own. Apple’s, called Siri, started in a limited and discreet way, but today it is one of the most popular services for those who use the company’s ecosystem on a daily basis.

What is it for?

The most basic way to conceptualize Siri is from its function. It is a virtual assistant, that is, an application that performs basic tasks for you based on everything your device is capable of, saving time and actions.

In this way, she can perform tasks within applications, such as calling someone, setting an alarm and making an appointment in the calendar, among other assignments.

Siri can also answer questions from web searches, ideal for questions that come up suddenly.

In addition, Siri, integrated with the Casa application, can also serve as a kind of command center for connected homes, without the products coming from Apple. This applies, for example, to doors, sensors and smart lamps.

Siri was born outside the company as a project for an artificial intelligence research center. Apple bought the technology in 2010 and introduced the personal assistant as part of the iPhone 4s the following year.

It is available in 21 languages ​​and is constantly improving – whether through improvements made by Apple teams or through machine learning, making the personal assistant smarter in practice, based on trial and error on orders that are posted by the user. Over the years, it has received new commissions, greater integration with other apps, and a contextual understanding that takes into account previous responses.

How to activate?

There are several ways to activate Siri and prepare the platform to receive a question or command. The most basic is of a physical action, pressing a button on the Apple mobile device for a few seconds. The button depends on the model and generation of the device: it is the “Home” on older devices, the top on the iPad Pro line, and the side on the iPhone X and later.

Another classic way that works on practically all platforms is through voice commands, starting with the greeting “Hey there, Siri”. You can greet or change it first with a request such as “Hey Siri, set an alarm for tomorrow at noon”.

As of iOS 13, Apple has added an app called Shortcuts. It brings a series of icons that allow the user to save and select applications and collaborative actions with context. A shortcut that you can call “good night” is, for example, reducing the intensity of the lights, setting the alarms for the next day, and turning off notifications until a specific time.

From the watchOS 5 system, the smart watch also has an additional form of use: the “Raise to Speak”, where it is sufficient to lift the arm where the watch is located to a height close to the face and issue the desired command. to speak.

Finally, you don’t even need to use your voice: one of Apple’s accessibility features is enabling conversations with your assistant via text message, typing questions, and tasks.

In touch with your apps

Along with Apple Music, Siri can find new music based on your tastes, suggest albums and playlists for specific times of the day, play songs via voice commands, and answer questions about artists.

The Shazam app, which identifies what music is playing on the device or in the environment, can be directly activated by a Siri command.

In addition, it is fully integrated with native system applications. This means that Siri is capable of advanced search in photo files, in the browser, and even in the Finder manager on macOS.

Integration with other devices

Normally Siri is more associated with the iPhone, but it also works normally on the iPad, MacBook, Apple Watch, AirPods, Apple TV and HomePod.

Cars with the CarPlay system or the Siri Eyes Free app also have functions that allow the use of the personal assistant, which mainly requires hands.

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