iOS 6 preview: Siri for iPad

iOS 6 preview: Siri for iPad

Siri with iOS 5 was a decidedly iPhone 4S-only affair, with Apple choosing not to make anything more than Dictation available, even on their 2012 new iPad. That might have been due to the challenges involved in scaling Siri up from the full, albeit small iPhone interface, to the bigger iPad screen. With iOS 6, however, Apple has done it, and Siri is fully launching on the new iPad.

Not only will the iPad 3 get almost all the Siri functionality already available, but also all the new sports results, movie info, restaurant reservations, and Twitter and Facebook sharing, and app launching, iOS 6 has to offer.

The only thing Siri on the iPad will be lacking are the phone call features of the iPhone. Because: no Phone app or voice connection. However, FaceTime works and could fill in for the phone when "calling" other iOS users.

From the mockups shown on, it's easy to see how Apple has addressed the Siri interface on iPad -- pretty much how they addressed Notification Center. What we haven't yet seen is how they'll handle Siri's network connection requirements on non-cellular devices.

Right now, Siri is only on the iPhone 4S, which is expected to have cellular data available when Wi-Fi isn't -- so Siri can theoretically always connect to Apple's servers to bring back results (even if, practically speaking, it's a completely different story). While there are LTE 4G/3G enabled iPads, there are also Wi-Fi only iPads.

If you put an iPhone 4S in Airplane mode and try to use Siri, you get a network connection popup, similar to the one you get if you try to use Safari, Mail, or any other internet connected app. It's possible, perhaps even likely, a Wi-Fi iPad that's not on Wi-Fi will spit up the same error.

However, neither Safari nor Mail are attached to the Home button and marketed like a Pixar character, so the error could be more unexpected. Could Siri have a small, localized, canned response to stay in character while informing us it's off the network?

We'll find out soon enough. iOS 6 is scheduled for release this fall, perhaps as soon as September 19.

In the meantime, for more on iOS 6 and Siri, check out:

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iOS 6 preview: Siri for iPad


I'd love to see Siri have some offline capabilities such as dictation, launching app, or making calls - features that Android 4.1 already offers with my Nexus. Also, I wonder if Apple is going to bring Siri 'out of beta' with iOS 6 or will they continue to use the beta badge as an excuse for a feature that hasn't really lived up to the hype.

It is good. It also has the same hit and miss as far as predicting what you're saying. Hopefully they will both improve later this year.

I would like to see a minor warning, or pop up if my WiFi goes out, and it is only using the 4g. It is so smooth on the phone, you do not know unless you look at the screen. I do now want to use up data, unless I choose. Same with the iPad.