Microsoft opens sign-ups for testing Cortana assistant app on iOS

Posted:
in iPhone edited November 2015
Microsoft is now accepting public beta sign-ups for the iOS version of Cortana, which will bring a limited amount of the Windows assistant's features to iPhones.




Testers must be a member of the Windows Insider Program and fill out a short survey, Microsoft announced in an official blog post. The survey's contents hint that Cortana for iOS will be iPhone-only, and require iOS 8 or later.

People accepted into the beta should receive emailed download links in the next several weeks. Microsoft is also restricting the test to the U.S. and China.

Some Windows features will initially be missing, most notably the "Hey Cortana" voice activation command. iOS blocks third-party voice commands from being used at the lockscreen or homescreen, though they can be triggered in-app.

Microsoft is promising "frequent" updates to expand the beta's features, but hasn't said what those might contain, or when the finished app should be released.

On Windows, Cortana can handle a range of tasks including checking weather, setting reminders, making calendar appointments, and searching both the Web and local device content. iOS' lack of an open filesystem will prevent local search, but most other functions should be supported, presumably in sync with Windows.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15

    "Hey Siri, who's your new roommate? Can she not afford her own place?"

     

    Just kidding. Wonder how this will compare with Siri?

  • Reply 2 of 15
    Choice ain't a bad thing, but a redundant headliner service that comes from a redundant platform that nobody cares about. Does its integration into Windows 10 make it relevant? You decide.

    Colour me unimpressed. But it's still nice to see MS serving the top tier of tech consumers.
  • Reply 3 of 15
    tmaytmay Posts: 2,565member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post



    Choice ain't a bad thing, but a redundant headliner service that comes from a redundant platform that nobody cares about. Does its integration into Windows 10 make it relevant? You decide.



    Colour me unimpressed. But it's still nice to see MS serving the top tier of tech consumers.

    It's just another day seeing The New MS serving itself more data on the back of other platforms.

     

    Some people see that as a feature; others, not so much. Meh, I'll stick with Siri.

  • Reply 4 of 15
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,814member
    I have no interest to use an office assistant that I have to access through an app. Sorry, Google Now and Cortana, you both are good but ain't get used in iOS. At the end of the day, people want convenience and that's Siri because they just need to press and hold home button while the phone is locked or say Hey Siri to access it.
  • Reply 5 of 15
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,071member
    The fact Apple has blocked access to who is searching for what is staving the likes of Google and MS from valuable user information. So they are trying so hard to find ways back in.
  • Reply 6 of 15
    I really want to see what Cortana can do.

    Apple should not cripple this service; allow "Hey, Cortana!"

    You may blast me for this, but I find Siri incredibly stupid and usually cannot answer my question, often not understanding it correctly.

    Further, for dictation, Siri, or iOS, whichever is in charge of this, has no way to learn, thus it continually misspells my Kids' names and cannot spell them. I hope Cortana does better. Siri needs some serious competition.
  • Reply 7 of 15
    I signed up, no harm in trying other services. Competition is a good thing.
  • Reply 8 of 15
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,616member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by justbobf View Post



    I really want to see what Cortana can do.



    Apple should not cripple this service; allow "Hey, Cortana!"



    You may blast me for this, but I find Siri incredibly stupid and usually cannot answer my question, often not understanding it correctly.



    Further, for dictation, Siri, or iOS, whichever is in charge of this, has no way to learn, thus it continually misspells my Kids' names and cannot spell them. I hope Cortana does better. Siri needs some serious competition.

    Not true. Put your kids names in contacts and speak to siri. When you get a misspelling or mispronounciation, you just say, Thay's not how you say "Johnny". Siri will then ask you to say the name again and give you three choices and you choose the closest match. Works great especially for last names.

  • Reply 9 of 15
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    With iOS you get to pick and choose what you want from whichever ecosystem.

    There's some users who have all Goog apps under a folder on their iPhone.
  • Reply 10 of 15
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mike1 View Post

     

    Not true. Put your kids names in contacts and speak to siri. When you get a misspelling or mispronounciation, you just say, Thay's not how you say "Johnny". Siri will then ask you to say the name again and give you three choices and you choose the closest match. Works great especially for last names.




    You can go to contacts and select Edit. Then go to the bottom and select Add a Field. Select Phonetic First Name. Then directly under the real first name enter the phonetic spelling. Same with last name.

  • Reply 11 of 15
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,169member
    Maybe Apple should bring out Siri for Microsoft's mobile platform, just think of the extra devices Siri would be on ... Oh ... wait a minute ...
  • Reply 12 of 15
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,622member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by justbobf View Post



    I really want to see what Cortana can do.



    Apple should not cripple this service; allow "Hey, Cortana!"



    You may blast me for this, but I find Siri incredibly stupid and usually cannot answer my question, often not understanding it correctly.



    Further, for dictation, Siri, or iOS, whichever is in charge of this, has no way to learn, thus it continually misspells my Kids' names and cannot spell them. I hope Cortana does better. Siri needs some serious competition.

     

    So, you're too lazy to actually know how to use this service and you blame Apple...

    As for Access to Hey Siri, that would be a massively dumb move from Apple, like making them a mere conduit for someone else's critical service, while obscuring theirs, not going to happen.

  • Reply 13 of 15
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,735member
    mike1 wrote: »
    Not true. Put your kids names in contacts and speak to siri. When you get a misspelling or mispronounciation, you just say, Thay's not how you say "Johnny". Siri will then ask you to say the name again and give you three choices and you choose the closest match. Works great especially for last names.

    I just tried this. Brilliant. I had no idea.

    Thanks for the tip!
  • Reply 14 of 15

    After the stunt M$ just pulled with OneDrive, I'll never install another one of their apps on my iOS devices...

     

    I hope this fails as hard as Windows 8 or MS Bob did.

  • Reply 15 of 15
    justbobf wrote: »
    You may blast me for this, but I find Siri incredibly stupid and usually cannot answer my question, often not understanding it correctly.

    I respect your opinion but -- fortunately -- have had a very different experience.

    I use Siri frequently on my Apple Watch, and it typically works very well:
    - "Set timer for 10 minutes."
    - "Start outdoor walk for 1 hour."
    - "Pause music."
    - "Tell my wife I'll be home at 6 PM."
    - "How do I get to Disney World?"
    - "What's the temperature?"
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