iOS 7 Siri

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Cortana is coming to the iPhone, but it won't have all of its Windows Phone features

Microsoft will bring its Cortana digital assistant to the iPhone later this summer as a companion app for Windows 10, but it won't have all of the functions that it currently has on Windows Phone devices.

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16 Siri commands to save you time on your Apple Watch

Siri is a voice-controlled virtual personal assistant, and it's built right into your Apple Watch.

On the iPhone, Siri is a secondary interface used when talking is more convenient than tapping. On the Apple Watch, Siri is a primary interface. It's not just the only way to enter text and a much more convenient way to initiate actions, but it's also the only way to search web services like Wikipedia, Wolfram Alpha, and Bing images. Talking to your watch might seem like sci-fi, but Siri makes it a reality.

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'Hey Siri!' and the need for alternative activation phrases

"Hey Siri!" is an incredibly convenient way to activate your iPhone, iPad, and now... Apple Watch.

Update: The Apple Watch is here, which makes "Hey Siri!" even more convenient but can lead to even more collisions. Have your iPhone plugged in and your Apple Watch on, say the magic words, and how do you make sure the one that responds is the one you want?

The problem with "Hey Siri!" is everyone knows those words and every plugged-in iOS 8 device — and now Apple Watch —recognizes them. That leads to inopportune activations — mischievous and accidental alike. Google's "Okay Google Now" tries to learn your voice; if it hears someone else yell the activation phrase, it hopefully ignores it. That's an okay alternative if you're the only one who ever activates your device, you never get a stuffy nose or sore throat, or Kevin Spacey never manages to adequately imitate you. But if you do want your significant other, kids, or other friends or family members to be able to activate your iPhone or iPad, you'll still want magic words to work universally. You might just want different magic words.

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Siri 'third generation' architecture includes Apache Mesos and, yes, JARVIS

During a recent meet-up, a slide showed that Apple considered Siri to be on its third generation architecture.

Like any major online service, Siri is constantly being updated behind the scenes to improve stability, scalability, and performance. This presentation is specific called out Apache Mesos as helping with all of that, as well as efficiency and latency, and the ability to more easily build out additional services. The Mesosphere blog:

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Here's what Siri can do on your Apple Watch

Siri, Apple's voice-activated digital assistant, is a huge part of the Apple Watch — and we're oh-so-thankful it is. Wrist-sized screens don't do so well with digital keyboards; instead, you can use pre-built text suggestions, dictation, and Siri to accomplish the majority of the tasks you'd otherwise complete with traditional text entry.

Watch Siri may not be quite as full-featured as iPhone Siri, but your digital assistant can still do a bunch of tasks — and chat with its iPhone buddy when at a loss. Here's a quick overview of what Siri can (and can't) do on the Apple Watch.

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How to use Siri on your Apple Watch

Siri is Apple's virtual personal assistant and, with the Apple Watch, it's available right from your wrist.

Because Siri is voice activated, it doesn't require a keyboard or a lot of screen space to use. Because it's contextually aware, it can handle complex questions and commands. That makes it ideal for something like the Apple Watch, where it can often work faster and more conveniently than any other input method. What's more, you can activate Siri on your Apple Watch either manually, or simply with the power of your voice.

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Apple's refreshed Siri website serves as a primer for the digital assistant

Apple has launched an updated version of its Siri page today, detailing all of the digital assistant's capabilities and features.

The updated site features a number of different categories with details on how Siri can provide information on things like sports and entertainment, as well as tips and tricks for using the digital assistant for making phone calls and sending messages, staying organized, and tracking down nearby businesses and restaurants.

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How to view all the songs you've identified with Siri

Ever identified a song with Siri and then forgotten what the name was?

If you do several songs in a row, or it's been a while since you identified the song, it can be tough to remember. Luckily, when you ask Siri to identify a song, it keeps a record. In fact, it keeps an entire list right in iTunes. So, if you later decide you want to buy the song, or listen to it in your favorite music streaming app, all you have to do is know where to look!

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Siri and the potential for 'Voice ID'

Yell "Hey, Siri!" on podcast — or out loud at an event — and you'll get dozens of complaints from people whose phones suddenly went into voice mode.

That might sound like an edge-case for Siri, Apple's personal digital assistant, but here's something more common — a family charging station with several iPhones devices plugged in. How do you target yours and yours alone? How do you make sure only your voice can activate Siri on your iPhone or iPad? On your Apple Watch? In your car or around your house?

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How to find out what time it is anywhere in the world with Siri

Ever need to figure out what time it is in some other corner of the world? Just ask Siri!

Time zones can be confusing. While the Clock app for iPhone and iPad lets you add all the locations you want to monitor current times, it's way easier to just ask Siri. As long as you know the location, Siri can tell you the current time and how far ahead or behind they are from your current location.

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