Siri is the name of Apple's personal digital assistant. It's basically voice control that talks back to you, that understands relationships and context, and with a personality straight out of Pixar. Ask Siri questions, or ask Siri to do things for you, just like you would ask a real assistant, and Siri will help keep you connected, informed, in the right place, and on time. You can even use Siri's built in Dictation feature to enter text almost everywhere by simply using your voice.
Siri and Dictation are online services, which mean they need a network connection (Wi-Fi or 3G/4G) to work. Siri is also still in beta, so not all features are available in all places or all languages yet. However, with iOS 6, Apple has added even more functionality to Siri, including support for the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPod touch 5, iPad 4, iPad 3, and iPad mini.
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While in most cases you can start using Siri right out of the box, in some cases you may have to enable it first. There are also some settings you can configure, including ways to make Siri more secure. Since Siri can, if you choose, bypass your PIN lock and get to your contacts and other data, you should check out all your options and make sure you pick whatever blend of convenience and security makes the most sense to you.
Siri isn't just another voice control system, it remembers context and it can understand relationships. That means, for example, you can tell Siri to call your wife's iPhone, and Siri will know who that is and which phone number to dial. Not only that, Siri can send iMessages or SMS, and even email any of your friends, family, or co-workers. No matter how you like to communicate, Siri makes it incredibly easy to stay in touch.
Siri ties right into the iOS Clock app on your iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPad 4, iPad mini, and iPod touch 5, which means if you want to be woken up at 7am, have a timer set for 10 minutes so the cookies don't burn, or find out what the hour is in Australia before you call, Siri can keep you alerted and on time.
Siri was designed to help you get things done, and part of that job description is creating and updating your to-dos and lists of to-dos in the Reminders app of your iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPod touch 5, iPad 4, iPad 3, and iPad mini. If you need to be prodded to pick up milk on the way home, order that present in time for the big party, or set up that lunch meeting before the end of the day, Siri's there to help.
Since is meant to be your personal assistant, it only makes sense to have it schedule and manage your meetings and events on your iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPod touch 5, iPad 4, iPad 3, or iPad mini. Asking Siri to create a Calendar event only takes a few seconds and is much faster than creating them manually and entering all the data yourself. Whether you need Siri to schedule a meeting, tell you what's on the agenda for the day, or move an existing meeting to another time to make room for a conference call or a power nap, Siri will help make sure your schedule is set.
Siri can't be your financial advisor or broker -- yet! -- but Siri can look up stock prices and exchange positions for you. Whether you want to find out what's happening with APPL or GOOG, or if the DOW or NASDAQ is up or down, Siri's got you covered. (Just not your positions. Sorry.)
Being a virtual personal assistant, of course Siri can take a note! In fact, Siri can not only take a note, but update them as well. If you need something that's more permanent than a reminder, something more like an idea you don't want to forget, or a draft you want to get down while you're driving, Siri and the Notes app are the perfect combination.
Siri not only makes for a great digital assistant but a great weather forecaster as well. With a little help from Siri, you can make sure you're never caught without your umbrella, raincoat, snow shovel, or suntan lotion again.
Siri can help you access your music more easily than ever. With Siri you can play tracks, albums, and entires genres without ever having to open your Music app. If you're in the car, Siri also makes for a safe way to keep your tunes going while keeping your hands on the wheel.
If you need information, chances are Siri can help you find it. Apple currently enables Siri to search Google (or Yahoo! or Bing) for general information, and Wolfram|Alpha for computational knowledge. You can use Siri to find anything you would normally type into a web search box, only there's no typing needed. Just ask, and you'll get back everything from the latest celebrity gossip to the answers to that nagging math questions to a listing of the best free apps for your iPhone.
With iOS 6, Siri has become quite the movie buff, able to tell you not only what films are playing at which theaters, but provide you with their ratings and reviews, and even play you their trailers.
Siri in iOS 6 has become a full blown sports fan. Whether you're on the road and desperate for the latest news, or at a bar and just as desperate to win a bet, Siri now has you covered. From current game scores to upcoming schedules, player stats to team rosters and standings, you can query and compare your soccer, football, baseball, basketball and hockey favorites from Italian Seria A, English Premier League, Dutch Eredivisie, Major League Soccer, French Ligue 1, Spanish La Liga, and German Bundesliga, Major League Baseball, NCAA Football, NFL, NCAA Basketball, NBA, WNBA, and the NHL
With iOS 6, Siri can now help you find restaurants and even book tables. You will need the OpenTable app from the App Store to complete your reservations, but Siri do a lot of the heavy lifting, including finding places and times, and showing you Yelp-powered reviews and pictures.
With iOS 6, Siri can now launch your apps for you as well. Instead of scouring your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or iPad mini Home screen, or digging through folders, for that app you know you have but just can's find, as long as you remember its name, you can open it with Siri and a word.
Thanks to the latest version of the Apple Store app, you can shop for anything Apple right from your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or iPad mini. Get product info, pricing, and more with the Apple Store app, the press of a button, and the sound of your voice.
If you still need help with setting up or using Siri, or with any Siri feature, head on over to our Siri Forum and ask away!
Ally Kazmucha contributed significant sections of this guide