Apple is working on iOS 8 for a Summer WWDC 2014 reveal according to multiple reports and a new series of leaks point to extended iOS 8 testing and the ability to use Siri to figure out what song is playing — and then buy it in iTunes.
While it looks like the iOS 8 Siri features may only offer mild upgrades in what Siri can do, a 10 second Siri hack offers up control of Nest, Spotify and other services without a jailbreak. This new service shows users what Apple could really do to supercharge Siri and allow users to do more with the iPhone personal assistant.
Apple debuted Siri with iOS 5 on the iPhone 4s in 2012 with a fairly limited set of features, but at the time it offered more voice control options than Android. With IOS 6 and iOS 7 Apple added new features to Siri, letting users open apps, control phone functions and more, but there is still no third-party support or options to let users tie Siri into non Apple apps.
On iOS 7 and iOS 7.1 Apple does not let users ask Siri to play a Spotify track or to open an address in Google Maps. Instead Apple ties Siri into Apple Maps, iTunes and iTunes Radio. Google Now on Android is more open in regards to music, allowing users to pick a favorite music app like Spotify, even though there is a Google backed service.
It doesn’t look like iOS 8 will deliver third=party app access completely, but a new report suggests Apple wants to at least work with a third-party app to help users figure out what song they are listening to.
Right now if an iPhone users wants to know what music is playing they need to open up an app like Shazam and tap a button, which means the user might miss a song and trouble trying to do it while driving. On Android users can open Google Now, or say Ok Google on some models, and ask “What’s this song?” and Google will tell the user what is playing. Google Now can even detect a TV and users can tap Listen for a TV Show to figure out what they are watching.
Bloomberg’s sources claim Apple is working with Shazam to allow users to ask Siri what they are listening to and get a song title back. This will undoubtedly link up to iTunes, where users can buy the song or create an iTunes Radio station from a favorite track. The feature could arrive on iOS 8 later this year.
Shazam did not comment to Bloomberg, as is expected with many rumors involving Apple. Apple hosts WWDC 2014 on June 2nd in San Francisco where the company will show off the future of iOS. This is where Apple will likely offer an iOS 8 beta to developers ahead of a public release that is rumored for the fall alongside the new iPhone 6 release.
Apple purchased a small voice recognition company in 2013, adding technology and key employees to Apple’s roster. The Novauris purchase could supercharge Siri by letting the service match phrases instead of just words. Siri reliability currently drops dramatically if the service doesn’t understand one word, but this service could let Siri search for a phrase that makes sense instead of simply word, after word. This is just one of the ways Apple is working on a better Siri for iOS 8.
As WWDC 2014 approaches many websites are seeing an uptick in iOS 8 entries in server logs. When most visitors arrive on a website an analytics program can log the operating system, browser and device information tied to that visit. 9to5Mac shared this week that traffic from iOS 8 devices inside Apple jumped starting in early April. Gotta Be Mobile logs show similar uptick in March and April.
This small expansion likely means Apple employees are further testing the new iOS 8 update ahead of a release to developers. The iOS 8 beta that should arrive on June 2nd will undergo many updates during the following months that add features, fix bugs and other changes. Ultimately the public iOS 8 release will come after multiple betas and closer to a new iPhone release date.
There are already others trying to improve Siri without waiting for Apple. Most of these are Siri iOS 7 Cydia tweaks and hacks, but one promising new service called GoogolPlex lets Siri do much more by simply turning Google searches into commands to control Spotify, Nest and other apps and services like unlocking a car. You can set this up on your iPhone at Better Than Siri.
The video above shows how iPhone users can do more with Siri right now, and shows that Apple could offer a more robust Siri experience in iOS 8 by opening up the service to control other items that we already use apps to manage.