One of the more intriguing features Apple announced on Monday at WWDC is a major update to Siri. Specifically, Siri Shortcuts, a feature that combines notifications, learning and voice commands to have Apple’s personal assistant do a lot more for you. Shortcuts has the potential to even the playing field for Siri with her rivals Google Assistant and Alexa, but you’re going to have to put in some work.
Customize your Siri with shortcuts
There are a few different shortcut methods for Siri in iOS 12, the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system, coming this fall. Siri will automatically identify common tasks or use your location and calendar to identify when you’re running late. In turn, you’ll find notifications on your lock screen to order your usual morning cup of coffee, or to send a text message to a meeting organizer if you’re running late. Read next: Apple’s new Siri shortcuts could get annoying fast
You can create your own Siri commands too, either within a third-party application or Siri’s Settings to carry out specific tasks without any further interaction on your part.
For example, Apple demonstrated the Kayak travel app asking to create a Siri shortcut during the WWDC keynote. The presenter was able to set a shortcut called Travel Plans. Then she triggered Siri, saying “Travel Plans” and Siri immediately began reciting her hotel address and check-in time. The same sort of shortcuts are available for actions such as sending a text message or starting a playlist at the gym.
Apple/Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET
A dedicated Shortcuts app
There will be a dedicated Shortcuts app for iOS users this fall. The app appears to look and work a lot like Apple’s Workflow app, which it acquired in early 2017. Through the Shortcuts app, you’ll have the ability to create your own shortcuts to do things like sending a text, turn on a podcast and get directions home, all at once.
Across all Apple devices
Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET
While it appears the primary method to create and set up Siri Shortcuts will be an iPhone ($799.99 at Cricket Wireless) or iPad ($299.99 at Best Buy), you can use Siri voice Shortcuts on any device where Siri is available. That means MacOS computers, iOS devices, the Apple Watch ($418.00 at Sam’s Club) and HomePod ($349.00 at Walmart).
iOS 12: Siri shortcuts, group FaceTime and “Memoji” — Animoji of you. WWDC 2018: Everything Apple just announced.
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