Microsoft revamps Cortana for iPhone in renewed bid to take on Apple's Siri

Posted:
in iPhone
Microsoft on Friday released a promised overhaul of its Cortana iPhone app, simplifying the way the AI assistant works on iOS and making it more practical as an alternative -- or complement -- to Apple's native Siri.




The refreshed app loads faster, and defaults into listening for voice commands and questions. The homescreen can also display Google Now-style information cards on items like news, weather, traffic, package deliveries, and nearby restaurants.

From most places in the app, tapping an icon in the lower-left will bring up "quick action" buttons for info and commands without speaking. In addition to news and weather, users can set and view alarms and reminders, check and organize meetings, and get help with the app.

Microsoft has in fact redesigned how reminders work, along with the app's calling and texting functions. When asking search questions, the app will now provide full-page answers.

Cortana is likely of less use to most iPhone owners than Siri, since Apple restrictions mean it Cortana can't be triggered outside of the app, and it doesn't hook into many native iOS services. It can however be handy for people who also use a computer with Windows 10, which has Cortana integrated.

Microsoft first promised today's update in December, saying it would rollout to iPhone owners in coming weeks.

A recent report noted that Cortana is second to Siri in language support, offering 8 languages in 13 countries versus Siri's 21 in 36. Apple is believed to be preparing enhancements to Siri in time for this year's iPhones, but it's not clear what those might be.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    Until you can go in to settings change the default from Siri to Cortana, which will absolutely never happen, there really is no "bid" to take on anything. A voice assistant that lives in a particular app might as well be non-existent.
    edited March 2017 calitallest skilpscooter63mikesay98watto_cobrajdwbrakkenchabigequality72521
  • Reply 2 of 18
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Too late :(

    Maybe they can add it to Siri API for added functionality?

    added functionality like Will.i.am's AneedA is the future. 
    watto_cobrabrakken
  • Reply 3 of 18
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,580member
    I wonder how many people actually use any assistant on any device, Siri, Cortana, or Google's? 
    Roger_FingasNumNuts
  • Reply 4 of 18
    red oakred oak Posts: 614member
    Cortana does not even rank in the Top 100 free apps in the iOS Productivity category.  It has gotten a total of 1k user reviews since it's launch Dec, 2015.  Bottom line:  it has almost zero distribution on iOS.  It is DOA

    Where does Microsoft think it is going to get volume usage?   On PCs and XBox?   On Android?  I don't think so 

    Another example of why it sports a PE ratio 2X Apple. /s
    caliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 18
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,580member
    It just seems to me that all of these companies are pushing these virtual assistants and I don't know how many people really care in the end. 
    pscooter63StrangeDayscali
  • Reply 6 of 18
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,906member
    Waiting for IBM to offer Watson as a free or paid service in an app.
    lmagoomontrosemacsbrakken
  • Reply 7 of 18
    Siri is utterly useless and ignorant for anything one needs. "I'm sorry, I'm unable to do that". "I didn't quite get that", "here's what I found on the web". Garbage. I've even got her turned off on my Macs. Until she smartens up, she's more frustrating than useful.
    calibrakken
  • Reply 8 of 18
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Until you can go in to settings change the default from Siri to Cortana, which will absolutely never happen, there really is no "bid" to take on anything. A voice assistant that lives in a particular app might as well be non-existent.
    Well, that’s the fight, isn’t it? Cortana can be a true competitor to Siri only if its functionality and accuracy surpasses Siri such that there is value added by taking the time needed to open the app over holding Home.

    And... is it? Cortana is disabled in my Windows install as part of me shutting down the telemetry entirely, so I can’t check.
  • Reply 9 of 18
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,691member
    macxpress said:
    It just seems to me that all of these companies are pushing these virtual assistants and I don't know how many people really care in the end. 
    Ideally, people shouldn't have to care at all about these virtual assistants. They should just work and be a seamless extension to the overall user experience offered by the platform in any form factor. If users have to explicitly acquire, configure, activate, and train a virtual assistant simply for convenience purposes the ROI is blown from the start. All of the current virtual assistants are still in a rather immature state so you may want to support the one that you think has the most likely probability of developing into a real feature (in 3-5 years) on your platform of choice. For Apple the choice is easy: Siri. 
    equality72521
  • Reply 10 of 18
    FolioFolio Posts: 382member
    macxpress said:
    I wonder how many people actually use any assistant on any device, Siri, Cortana, or Google's? 
    Never seen even a wild guess. But this may be of some interest. Google PM just weighed in at recent ChannelAdvisor Catalyst Conf in Nashville, TN conference on their estimate for 2020. See item #5:

    "Rob Rekrutiak (Google Shopping Group Product Manager) participated in a fireside chat. Google continues to refine Google Shopping and is working to extend the shopping experience across its various platforms, including Search, Home, Express, YouTube, and local. Key takeaways include: 1) Google displaying shopping ads in image search and YouTube, providing more relevant ads for shoppers at the point of inspiration (i.e. makeup ads around YouTube makeup tutorials); 2) Local stores can integrate inventory and in-store pick-up information into Google search results so shoppers can find items at the right stores; 3) Google is working with brands to optimize TV ads to drive product discovery with specific call-to-action items in TV ads (i.e. Google attributed 24% of queries following a Dyson TV ad with custom search call-to-action); 4) Manufacturers are able to submit greater product detail to Google, which allows more customers to discover products through search results; and 5) Google expects 30% of all searches will happen without a screen by 2020 and, through Assistant and Home, is helping people complete tasks rather than just display information. We see Google's ability to leverage its data collection and analysis expertise to improve ad formats as an important positive, as search ad coverage growth seems limited, in our view. [From conference summary, Merrill Lynch report 09MAR2017)

    FWIW, while I shunned Siri in the past, now with better understanding, using her more frequently to simplify easy tasks to find scores, set reminders, etc. Hope Siri continues to improve, as ultimately can challenge some lucrative parts of Google's core search business. Eg "Siri, Find best deal on New Balance running shoes I like, Size 13E"

  • Reply 11 of 18
    App not even available in the Europe region App Store ...
  • Reply 12 of 18
    jdwjdw Posts: 632member
    Until you can go in to settings change the default from Siri to Cortana, which will absolutely never happen, there really is no "bid" to take on anything. A voice assistant that lives in a particular app might as well be non-existent.
    That post says it all.  Nothing else needs be said.
  • Reply 13 of 18
    brakkenbrakken Posts: 675member
    Siri is utterly useless and ignorant for anything one needs. "I'm sorry, I'm unable to do that". "I didn't quite get that", "here's what I found on the web". Garbage. I've even got her turned off on my Macs. Until she smartens up, she's more frustrating than useful.
    'Where's the nearest underground?'


    Apparently, 8000ks away in Zurich. I only need to choose walk or drive! ;)
  • Reply 14 of 18
    I'm very happy with Siri. I just wish she sounded like Jessica Rabbit.
  • Reply 15 of 18
    Until you can go in to settings change the default from Siri to Cortana, which will absolutely never happen, there really is no "bid" to take on anything. A voice assistant that lives in a particular app might as well be non-existent.
    You are right but you should not forgot that you can tell Siri "open Cortana od Google Now" and Cortana is listening and Google Now can be invoked by OK Google. So with a little hassle you can use them for info digging, Of course not for phone handling.
    I was playing with Google Now just yesterday. But accuracy vary also.
    Telling "Navigate to... " brings navigation but "Navigate me to..." bring web search. Quite dumb.

    edited March 2017
  • Reply 16 of 18
    I use Siri daily for iMessage, Maps, and Weather. Good results.

    I do hope that Siri evolves to support chatbot capabilities -- i.e., the ability to have an extended dialog with the user vs. just answering a single question.  The IT industry is painting chatbots as the "next big thing" in UI -- building on users' love of messaging -- so I hope that Apple's investment in AI and machine-learning results in a future Siri Chatbot.
  • Reply 17 of 18
    xmbxmb Posts: 12member
    Why no Apple Watch integration? This might make the Cortana usable with the iPhone.
  • Reply 18 of 18
    Siri is utterly useless and ignorant for anything one needs. "I'm sorry, I'm unable to do that". "I didn't quite get that", "here's what I found on the web". Garbage. I've even got her turned off on my Macs. Until she smartens up, she's more frustrating than useful.
    I find Siri useful and works a very high percentage of time.  If it doesn't work I rephrase the question.  If it still doesn't work I go on with my life.  Its an assistant, a very effective one at that which will only get better with time.  Remember, these assistants are rather new to the world.  
Sign In or Register to comment.