As expected, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) announced at WWDC today that it is opening access to Siri to third-party application developers, enabling them to integrate their wares with the ubiquitous personal assistant. And the move will almost surely be a big step forward for iOS.
Owners of iPhones and iPads make 2 billion requests to Siri every week, said Craig Federighi, the company's vice president of software engineering, during the event in San Francisco today. With iOS 10, which is expected to be released in the next several months, Apple will offer an API (application programming interface) for developers looking to allow users to navigate their apps via Siri.
"There are so many things that you can ask Siri, but now in iOS 10 you can do so much more because we're opening up Siri to developers," Federighi said. "Now you'll be able to ask Siri things like, 'Send a WeChat to Nancy saying I'll be five minutes late.'"
Apple customers will also be able to use Siri voice commands to order a car from Uber or Lyft, to make VoIP calls using Skype or Vonage, or to control messaging apps such as Slack and Whatsapp, Federighi said.
Opening the Siri API is one of several notable upgrades that will be included in the next version of Apple's mobile operating system. Apple also introduced a new lock screen enabling users to view notifications and interact with apps without pressing any buttons; it expanded Siri support to the Mac operating system; and it opened Maps and iMessage to third-party developers.
The company is also making substantial upgrades to its Photo app by adding artificial intelligence to enable the app to recognize people and location and automatically grouping the pictures and creating videos. And the company showcased new features to other apps including Home and Music, and it introduced the upcoming Apple watchOS 3, which will power its wearable.
CEO Tim Cook and other Apple executives continued to discuss the company's efforts at WWDC 2016 at the time this story was filed. For more news from Apple's event, please continue to check FierceWireless.com.
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