Apple announces Siri update, brings iPad, mapping, in-car support

Siri, the Apple voice assistant that the internet seems to love to hate, will have plenty of new features in its latest iOS 6 iteration.

On stage at this year's WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference), Apple's Scott Forstall, senior VP of iOS software, spoke about how Siri has been "studying up" to become a better functioning, voice-activated application.

When iOS 6 is rolled out, Siri will be compatible with the latest generation of iPads. No longer is your metallic-voiced friend restricted to just the iPhone 4S.

But that's not all. Apple also introduced Eyes Free, an in-car way to use your iPhone (or, indeed, iPad?) via the power of Siri. No need to touch or even look at anything - instead keep your eyes on the road - and Siri will do the work at your command.

That might not sound too futuristic, but here's the cool part: some manufacturers will implement a steering wheel button to dive in without going near your Apple device. And by "some" we mean a plenty: BMW, GM, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda are all said to be on board.

Smaller changes are present too. Siri is now more clever. Forstall used sports, movie and app examples to demonstrate the changes. If you want to know the latest score, or your favourite sportsman's height then Siri can find the answer; movies at your local theatre can be listed, allowing for quick access to trailers; and apps needn't be brought up in a list, instead you can jump right in and play all via the voice command.

Siri will also be integrated into Apple's latest Maps feature - which is set to near-on replace Google Maps on the Apple devices - though the company didn't fully demonstrate how this will work ... yet. We anticipate some useful directions and the like, but will Apple's Maps be able to stand up against the longstanding Google Maps?

The new Siri features will arrive with iOS 6, expected to roll out in Autumn 2012.

Will the latest Siri make your life easier? Or is it small changes to an application you rarely or never use?



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