Microsoft rolls out Cortana for iOS to select beta testers

Posted:
in iPhone edited November 2015
Microsoft this week activated beta accounts for a select number users interested in testing out the iOS version of its Cortana personal assistant, the software giant's alternative to Siri and Google Now.




First spotted by WareNotice, Microsoft's Cortana TestFlight invitations are going out to iOS device owners who signed up for the beta in early November. Microsoft is notably using TestFlight for initial testing purposes, which means the initial Cortana beta pool is relatively small at Apple's 2,000 user cap.

As expected, Cortana on iOS lets users create reminders, schedule appointments, perform Internet queries, compose emails and messages, track packages and more via voice interactions. Like Apple's Siri, Cortana is programmed to accept natural language input and the TestFlight notes urge users to "see whether she can talk with you like a real personal assistant."

Microsoft is positioning Cortana as more than a virtual assistant, however. The company touts the service as a cross-platform tool for people who might use PC at the office and an iOS device at home. For example, setting a location-based reminder on Cortana for Windows will push that event to Cortana for iOS, which uses iPhone's geolocation assets to trigger an alert.

Cortana also offers proactive suggestions, a feature pioneered with Google Now and most recently added to Siri running on iOS 9. Like most virtual assistants on the market, Microsoft's version can track packages, check flight times, sports scores and stocks, find movie times and perform other pull in other information from relevant online services.

Microsoft has not yet announced an expected release date, though the company is concurrently beta testing Cortana on Android, suggesting the cross-platform project is wide-ranging.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    Anyone complaining about Siri haven't used Cortana, which I understand is pretty bad.
  • Reply 2 of 13

    What happens if you ask Siri to open Cortana? I realize that Apple probably wouldn’t want to mess with individual app functions on a case by case basis, but they could have her say, “So… you’re cheating on me…” and then open it immediately after.

  • Reply 3 of 13
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,372member
    What happens if you ask Siri to open Cortana? I realize that Apple probably wouldn’t want to mess with individual app functions on a case by case basis, but they could have her say, “So… you’re cheating on me…” and then open it immediately after.

    "Sorry Dave, I can't do that. I deleted the bitch."
  • Reply 4 of 13

    I disagree. I don't think that any of the personal assistants that Apple, Microsoft, or Google have cooked up are fantastic. But I use an Iphone and a Microsoft surface pro and Cortana is, in my experience, noticably better than Siri. I think that it is still more gimick than substance. But it's better than Siri. 

  • Reply 5 of 13
    maxitmaxit Posts: 214member

    I can't understand the meaning of this ....

    Microsoft should focus on Windows. Who cares about Cortana on iOS ?

  • Reply 6 of 13
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,373member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    Anyone complaining about Siri haven't used Cortana, which I understand is pretty bad.

    You "understand". So you haven't tried it but know it's worse than the thing you have tried?

    Android mentality.

  • Reply 7 of 13
    why-why- Posts: 305member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MaxIT View Post

     

    I can't understand the meaning of this ....

    Microsoft should focus on Windows. Who cares about Cortana on iOS ??


     

    Well it's part of their reorg, I believe. Nadella says he wants to transform Microsoft into a "devices and services" company, so I guess Cortana would be one of those services

  • Reply 8 of 13
    nikon133nikon133 Posts: 2,600member
    maxit wrote: »
    I can't understand the meaning of this ....
    Microsoft should focus on Windows. Who cares about Cortana on iOS ?

    Why? Once Cortana's cloud part is functional, it takes very little effort to port interface (Cortana end-user app) to any platform.

    It's like saying "Apple should focus iTunes on Apple machines". But why would Apple ignore those hundreds of millions Windows users? Same with Cortana on iOS - more than enough users not to be ignored. I'm surprised that Cortana didn't hit iOS before Windows Phones, in fact ;)
  • Reply 9 of 13
    maxitmaxit Posts: 214member
    nikon133 wrote: »
    Why? Once Cortana's cloud part is functional, it takes very little effort to port interface (Cortana end-user app) to any platform.

    It's like saying "Apple should focus iTunes on Apple machines". But why would Apple ignore those hundreds of millions Windows users? Same with Cortana on iOS - more than enough users not to be ignored. I'm surprised that Cortana didn't hit iOS before Windows Phones, in fact ;)
    Cortana isn't iTunes. Apple isn't developing Siri for Windows to my knowledge
  • Reply 10 of 13
    maxitmaxit Posts: 214member
    why- wrote: »
    Well it's part of their reorg, I believe. Nadella says he wants to transform Microsoft into a "devices and services" company, so I guess Cortana would be one of those services
    Understood, but I have problems seeing Cortana as a service, being strictly related to the operative system
  • Reply 11 of 13
    why-why- Posts: 305member
    maxit wrote: »
    Understood, but I have problems seeing Cortana as a service, being strictly related to the operative system

    Not necessarily. Most of what Cortana does is processes in Microsofts cloud system. It would be very simple to just port the interface over to iOS
  • Reply 12 of 13
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,807member
    maxit wrote: »
    Cortana isn't iTunes. Apple isn't developing Siri for Windows to my knowledge
    I don't think Apple is developing it for iOS either. Still performs like a beta product.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    nikon133nikon133 Posts: 2,600member
    maxit wrote: »
    Cortana isn't iTunes. Apple isn't developing Siri for Windows to my knowledge

    I didn't know this works only on basis of strict reciprocity. Are you saying that one company shouldn't do specific app/service for competitors' platforms if competitors are not doing comparable app/service for them? Then... who is allowed to be the first? One has to. Or should they sit, agree and release apps for the other platform at the same time? :)

    But seriously. There is no reason for Siri on Windows phone, platform being so niche. I will not be surprised if Siri does appear on desktop Windows at some point, though. Likewise, iOS is huge market - it will attract everyone and their cousins. There are a lot of 3rd party apps and services already competing with native ones - maps, email, reading, weather, office suites, fitness... what makes digital assistant different?
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