iOS 7 Feature: Siri Improvements

Apple launched Siri, the virtual assistant feature in 2011, and was initially only available on the iPhone 4S. However, Apple has added Siri to the iPad 3 with the release of iOS 6, and is included on the iPhone 5, iPod touch 5, iPad 4 and iPad mini that were launched last year.

In iOS 6, Apple introduced a number of improvements to Siri such as the ability to respond to your sports, restaurants and movie related queries, give you turn-by-turn directions, open apps and update your status on Facebook and Twitter.

In iOS 7, Siri has received another overhaul. Here’s how Apple describes the new features and improvements coming to Siri in iOS 7:

Siri in iOS 7 gets a new look, a new sound, and new capabilities. It features a redesigned interface that fades into view — on top of whatever’s on your screen. A clearer, more natural-sounding female or male voice makes Siri even easier to understand. It’s faster at answering questions and it checks more sources, such as Bing, Wikipedia, and Twitter. And Siri takes on extra tasks, like returning calls, playing voicemail, controlling iTunes Radio, and more.

So here’s what new in Siri in iOS 7 based on information we’ve received so far:

  • The first thing you will notice when you tap and hold the Home button to launch Siri is the all new user interface. In iOS 7, Siri’s UI takes over the entire screen rather than sliding up from the bottom of the screen and just occupying just a portion of the screen. It displays “What can I help you with?” when you activate it, and displays a waveform along the bottom, to give you a sense of feeling that it is listening to you. The background of the user interface is translucent like the Notification Center. The information icon has been replaced with a question mark, which gives you information about some of the things you can ask Siri.

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  • One of the biggest changes in Siri in iOS 7, has been Apple’s decision to ditch Google in favor of Bing for web search results. The web search results powered by Bing are now displayed within Siri’s UI, instead of launching Safari. As you scroll down, Siri also offers suggestions under the “Did you mean” section, to ensure it understood your query correctly.

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  • However, don’t worry, you can still use Google for the web search as there is a workaround for it. Simply say “Search Google for” and your search term, it will launch Safari and display the search results on Google, just the way it works in iOS 6.x currently.
  • It also gives you an option to search Twitter for your query below the “Did you mean” section. Tapping on Twitter displays the Tweets that match your search query within Siri’s UI.
  • You can also search Twitter for tweets on certain topics, or a specific user. You can ask Siri questions like “What is Twitter user saying” and it will display 10+ tweets by that Twitter user.
  • Siri in iOS 7 is also integrated with Wikipedia, so queries such as “Tell me about Niagara Falls”, will display information from Wikipedia within Siri’s UI. The consolation of integrating Wikipedia and web search results powered by Bing in Siri’s UI is that, it should make it a lot more easier to use Siri when the device is locked. Currently, since Siri needs to launch Safari to display the search results, you need to unlock the device, which is quite a pain.

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  • You will be able to enable or disable system toggles such as Airplane mode, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Do Not Disturb etc. All you need to say is “Turn on Wi-Fi,” “Turn off Bluetooth” etc. You can also adjust the screen brightness using Siri. You can use commands such as “Turn up the brightness,” or “Turn down the brightness”. It doesn’t understand commands such as “Turn brightness to 50%” etc.

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  • Siri gets new voices in iOS 7 for some languages. For example a new male voice for English (United States) and a new female voice for French (France) etc.

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  • The voice is also a lot clearer, more natural sounding. The demo video shows Siri on iOS 6 and iOS 7, both with a female voice, but there’s a very noticeable difference between them.

While we’re a little disappointed that Apple switched to Bing for web search, the integrated web results in Siri’s UI offers a much better user experience.

Overall, Siri’s user interface is sleeker and a lot more user friendly, and the ability to enable or disable system toggles using Siri should make many of you very happy. These improvements will be available in iOS 7 when it is released later this fall.

Let us know what you think of the improvements coming to Siri in the comments below.

Related:

Check out our iOS 7 category page to find out everything you need to know about iOS 7.

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Categories: iOS 7, Siri

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  • Golf Pro

    I installed ios 7 beta 3 on iphone 4s, Siri does not work. Does any one have same problem?

    • Jimothy

      Restore your phone, try again. Also, you shouldn’t have this if you’re not a developer. I’m not saying anything bad, or hating or anything, it’s just not released to the general public for a reason.

      • Golf Pro

        I have restore about 10 times to 6.13, and installed iOS 7 that many times

        • Keoni

          You may need to do just a clean set up as new phone. I’m not having a problem with Siri on my 4S. Your backup may have incompatible files cached. And for real, if you aren’t a developer this is a Beta and shouldn’t be out in the public, although I appreciate the desire to be ahead and try the new. Thanks Jimothy for feeling the same way.

          • Daniel

            Just wondering, how is apple supposed to get feedback on the iOS without people using the Beta? Pretty sure they wouldn’t have made it easily accessable if they didn’t want non-developers to get their hands on it.

  • Dave Foshee

    Bing? Yuck. Maybe a great JB tweak will come out to fix that. : ]

    • Jimothy

      Oh it will. :)

      • Keoni

        Absolutely, something that’s possible, although we really would need to concentrate on being able to jailbreak iOS 7 before even thinking of tweaks. Or maybe even a more permanent solution. I don’t praise those that use jailbreaks for stealing apps, but I do support the need for the ability to customize our personal “out-of-pocket paid” devices. I for one liked being able to ask Siri to define things from Urban Dictionary, a feature I’d be more than happy to add to iOS 7 just for the sheer humor.

        • Jimothy

          The Evasi0n team has almost enough exploits for a complete jailbreak. Plus, iOS 7 is overhauled so expect possible exploits.

          • Keoni

            Of course, completely expected in such a drastic change, although I hate the fact that some major contributors to the JB scene treat iOS 7 as an ugly redheaded step-child and threaten to move on to other OS’s or quit entirely. I hope that icon redesign and drastic UI change just didn’t discourage some of the great minds. I for one, welcome the change. Tweak programmers are going to have to step up since it seems that Apple may have took heed of some user feedback and gave us features that normally would determine whether a JB is even considered for some.

    • ehamawy

      The jailbreak community ALREADY MADE A JAILBREAK FOR IT!!!!! (only the beta version)

    • Daniel

      “Search Google for…” uses Google as the search engine. Still needs to open Safari :/

  • Anonymous

    Now they just need to make the male voice sound like Jude Law. :-)

    • Jeff Mason

      How about Chuck Norris? :-D

  • Darryl

    Finally, it lets you toggle settings. Why Jobs thought it was more important to have a pretty phone, over making people press ten things to turn off wifi or change the screen brightness I’ll never understand. Yes, ten, by the time you press the home button five times to get away from the search screen.

  • Mitch

    y can’t I install siri on my iphone4.

  • Iron man fan

    I would prefer a voice that sounded like Jarvis from iron man

  • Cat

    It doesn’t know where to hide a body anymore….not that I need to know, but she should know these things