iOS 6 preview: Siri reserves restaurants

As any good personal virtual assistant should, Siri on iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S has always been okay at finding you places to eat and drink. Now, with iOS 6, Siri is hitting the iPad, and adding even more restaurant savvy to its repertoire, including all the information you need to pick a place, and even the ability to reserve you a table.

Here's how Apple teases it:

With Siri you now have a personal restaurant concierge. Ask to find restaurants by cuisine, price, location, outdoor seating, or a combination of choices. Siri will show you a restaurant’s photos, Yelp stars, price range, and reviews. When you find a place you like, ask Siri to make a reservation through the Open Table app.

Siri restaurant assistance is only available to beta testers right now, but Apple did show it off during WWDC 2012, so we have some idea how all the services will work together.

Here's the kind of information Siri will be able to present:

  • Type of food: Asian, vegetarian, American, etc.
  • Price: Average cost of a meal, from $ (cheap) to $$$$ (expensive)
  • Location: Street address
  • Distance: In miles/kilometers
  • Rating: Average, 5-star Yelp! rating and number of ratings
  • Operating hours: Days of the week and times of day
  • Reservations: Bookings available through OpenTable
  • Contact info: Phone number, website address
  • Map info: Where it's located and how to get there

Here's what you'll be able to do with Siri and restaurants:

  • Say "Find me a great place for dinner" and get a list of close by restaurants, sorted by rating.

  • You can tap into any one of them to get more information on that particular restaurant.

  • You can tap on reviews to see individual reviews, and tap on a review to go right to the Yelp app for even more.

  • You can also tap on reservations to go the Open Table app and secure your spot.

  • Say "Make me a reservation at Luce tonight" and get a list of spaces and times available. Choose your spot, and go straight to the Open Table app to confirm it.

When you tie that together with what Siri already provides under iOS 5, it becomes even more interesting. Add Siri's Pixar-like charm and natural language, context aware search capabilities, and you ask for anything from a type or quality of food to a specific restaurant, find out all about it, make a reservation, and be shown just exactly how to get there. All with the tap-and-hold of the Home button.

iOS 6 is scheduled for release this fall, perhaps as soon as September 19.

However, using Siri's existing location services, and the Yelp and Open Table apps, you can play around and get a taste of the potential right now:

For more on iOS 6 and Siri, check out:

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.