Apple opens up Siri, other systems to woo developers

June 13, 2016
Apple says it is opening up its Siri digital assistant to outside applications, enabling iPhone users to connect with non-Apple services to send messages, make payments, and search photos

Apple said Monday it was opening up its Siri digital assistant to outside applications, stepping up its artificial intelligence efforts to compete against rival services from Amazon, Google and Microsoft.

The new feature will enable iPhone users to connect with non-Apple services to send messages, make payments and search photos.

"Now you'll be able to tell Siri 'send a WeChat,'" said Apple vice president Craig Federighi, referring to the Chinese messaging application.

Federighi said Siri will also work with apps such as Slack, WhatsApp, Uber and Lyft.

The announcement at the kickoff of Apple's annual developer conference in San Francisco marks a new approach for Apple, which has largely kept its leading services self-contained on the iOS mobile operating system.

The new feature will debut on the iOS10 operating system expected later this year.

Also opening to outside developers will be the Apple Maps application, which had a rocky debut marked by glitches in 2012, and the iMessage platform.

This will mean that iPhone users navigating with Apple Maps can, for example, make a restaurant reservation using a third-party service such as Open Table, said Apple vice president Eddy Cue.

By opening up its messaging platform, Apple will also developers to create anything from silly "stickers" to payment programs within iMessage, ramping up competition against Facebook Messenger.

Apple's AI push

The announcements come with Apple aiming to move deeper into services amid slowing sales of its profit-leading iPhone, and a weak tablet market that has hurt sales of its iPad.

Apple also announced it was bringing Siri to its Mac computer system, allower users of the PCs to search their machines or the Internet with voice commands.

Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering, introduces the new macOS Sierra software at an event at the Worldwide Developer's Conference on June 13, 2016 in San Francisco, California

The moves expand the footprint for Siri, which is facing increased competition from Microsoft's Cortana, Amazon's Alexa and Google Now, which also use .

"In some ways, the star of the show wasn't a particular product but Apple's refutation of accusations that it can't compete with Google and Facebook in artificial intelligence and deep learning," said Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research in a blog post.

"Apple has been accused of being behind in this area, and also of being handicapped by its privacy stance, but its on-stage demos today showed that it's capable of competing effectively regardless."

Dawson said the changes to Siri "should make it substantially more useful and effective as an assistant, and keep it competitive with alternatives from Google, Amazon and others."

Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy agreed that Apple appears to flexing its deep learning muscles.

"Opening up Siri will make an enormous effect on the experience," Moorhead said.

"I don't see anything Google can do that Apple cannot, and they're doing it with the highest levels of privacy, which is unique. It's apparent Apple has been working on this for a long time and in many ways, appears ahead of where Google is with their developers on an intelligent agent."

Separately, Apple said it was expanding its Apple Pay system to the Web, allowing merchants to handle transactions which can be authenticated on a user's iPhone or Apple Watch.

Federighi said Apple Pay would be expanded "in the coming months" to more markets including France, Hong Kong and Switzerland.

For the Apple TV platform, the company said it now has some 1,300 video channels and 6,000 apps, and unveiled an upgraded voice search capability through Siri.

Apple added the Sling TV service, which includes a low-cost bundle of live channels as an alternative to cable or satellite.

Explore further: Coming later today: Apple's next big software improvements

Related Stories

Coming later today: Apple's next big software improvements

June 13, 2016

With sales of Apple's flagship iPhone slowing, the spotlight is on the company's hunt for its next big thing. Apple's annual software developers conference, which kicks off Monday, will be its next big opportunity to show ...

Apple hopes to spark its developers' enthusiasm

June 7, 2016

Next week, one of the biggest Silicon Valley-area events of the season will occur. No, it's not the potential Game 5 of the NBA Finals, as the Golden State Warriors seek to retain their league title. Nor is it what for many ...

Apple's next big challenge: Making Siri smarter

June 10, 2016

Apple's Siri made a big splash when the wisecracking digital assistant debuted on the iPhone five years ago. But as other tech giants jockey to build intelligent "chat bots" and voice-controlled home systems capable of more ...

Apple makes Siri smarter, rolls out software improvements

June 13, 2016

Apple kicked off its annual software developer conference with an artificial intelligence upgrade for Siri, its digital assistant, as well as new software features for other devices and an overhaul of its music service.

Recommended for you

EPA adviser is promoting harmful ideas, scientists say

March 22, 2019

The Trump administration's reliance on industry-funded environmental specialists is again coming under fire, this time by researchers who say that Louis Anthony "Tony" Cox Jr., who leads a key Environmental Protection Agency ...

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (1) Jun 14, 2016
Personally I think with the money that they have stashed back they should start diversifying into other business's such as plants that convert seawater into drinkable water might be a good idea or possibly solar power somehow.

Cell phones and tablets are getting pretty generic now regardless of who makes them or the operating systems they are running on.
1 / 5 (2) Jun 14, 2016
Google originates from Langley/Mossad funding inception, so they have interest to infiltrate every device or invent devices to infiltrate

Apple began with two outside guys looking for a way to fill a nascent market niche. No spy money
Jun 16, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 16, 2016
They should have a job fair inviting the EU cranks from this site. A lot of "woo" there...

Nurse...NURSE.... AGreatWanker is off his meds again!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.