By Jim Karpen on Fri, 03/07/2014
Apple is reportedly working on making Siri available to third-party apps, allowing you to use Siri for things such as booking flights or making hotel reservations. Currently Siri is limited to Apple's apps, and to interfacing with Apple partners such as Open Table for making restaurant reservations. It's likely, though, that if this is true, Apple would exert a fair amount of control over which apps Siri worked with, according to iMore. A post on AppleInsider says that this move toward compatibility with third-party apps is tied closely to Apple's rumored iWatch. The iWatch would be sensitive to context, and Siri would offer apps that the iWatch senses you need at the moment, depending on what you're doing. AppleInsider cites an example that appeared in a report on Monday in The Information, which said:
"The technology being developed at Apple can also be applied to determine what app to show a user when they have limited screen space, as they would when using a smartwatch the company has been developing, according to people familiar with the effort," the report reads. "If a user starts running, for example, Siri might show them a fitness app that could help them track their workout while moving other apps into the background."
What's odd about this Siri rumor is that it suggests that voice control will be an important aspect of the iWatch, yet it's unlikely the iWatch would have Siri built in. That would require an Internet connection for the iWatch, which would add greatly to the bulk of the device and shorten the battery life. But it's possible that the iWatch would simply activate Siri on your iPhone or iPad.
According to a report on Forbes, some college students have already figured out how to use Siri with third-party apps. They claim they'll be releasing an app soon that will allow this. Whether or not that actually happens, it suggests to Forbes that people are eager to have this functionality.
Regardless of whether these rumors are true, it's clear that Apple is making Siri a major focus and is increasingly relying on voice interaction as the basis for the human/machine interface. Apple's announcement this week of CarPlay shows just how important voice interaction is becoming. The whole idea behind CarPlay is that you can control the functions of your iPhone hands-free and eyes-free.
In their announcement, Apple said,
"CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car," Apple marketing executive Greg Joswiak said in Monday's announcement. "iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction."
Despite the claim that the hands-free interaction will cause "minimized distraction," according to MarketWatch, AAA is nervous about this new direction, concerned that CarPlay will adversely affect safety.