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iOS 10: Siri Integrates With Third-Party Apps

As Apple gears up for its iOS 10 public beta in July, a select group of developers will now be able to sync up their apps with users' Siri demands.
iOS 10, MacOS, WatchOS Updates: WWDC Up Close
iOS 10, MacOS, WatchOS Updates: WWDC Up Close
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Apple's iOS 10 is slated for its public beta release in July, bringing expanded capabilities for its popular voice-recognition digital assistant Siri.

Developers can now use SiriKit to build messaging, phone calls, photo search, ride booking, personal payments, or workout apps that allow users to interact directly with those apps using just their voice via Siri. The software development kit (SDK) can also be used by automakers who want to let Siri control Apple's CarPlay apps.

"iOS 10 adds Siri intelligence into QuickType and Photos, automates your home with the new Home app and opens up Siri, Maps, Phone and Messages to developers -- while increasing security and privacy with powerful technologies like Differential Privacy," Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, said in a statement at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

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Developers who dive into the SDK will find that Siri's API will only work in the six categories of uses from messaging to photo search. But Apple may expand those categories over time. That is apparently the hope of users too, based on comments on the 9to5Mac site.    

"I'm very disappointed by this SDK. What, did they pick the six least used cases and enable those? I'm sorry, but this is not going to cut it against Alexa and Google Now in this day and age; way too little, too late," Warpedgeoid wrote in the site's comments section.

Responding to that comment, John wrote in the comments section, "I agree with you, they better get a move on with this SDK and opening its uses to more categories of applications. I was really hoping for Siri to be integrated with other music apps on my phone -- similar to how the apple tv can search multiple tv/movie services for content -- but of course they have their own music service so why would they make it easier for you to use something like spotify or google play."

[See Siri, Cortana Are Listening: How 5 Digital Assistants Use Your Data.]

According to 9to5Mac, iOS 10 will have Siri handle the issues of voice recognition and of determining users' intent, then deciding whether it can take care of a user's request, or if it should be handed off to a third-party-developer app. Also, developers will only have access to the particular data that is relevant to their app.

Users will be able to do certain things, like calling on Siri to order a ride from Lyft or Uber, or to activate Facebook Messenger and WeChat.

Third-party developer access to Siri is one of the latest changes Apple has added to Siri's capabilities. Apple also recently brought Siri to the Mac desktop.

Whether these moves with Siri will help Apple reverse its first decline in iPhone sales since the smartphone's launch has yet to be seen, but such steps are unlikely to hurt.