Move over Siri; there’s a new virtual assistant who wants a piece of your action.
Proving that even the fiercest of rivals can get along when they need to, today Microsoft announced the availability of its AI-driven voice assistant, Windows Cortana, for iOS. (An Android version of Cortana has been available since August.)
Tacitly acknowledging that very few Windows 10 users own a Windows 10 Phone, Microsoft announced that Cortana would work on competing mobile operating systems last March.
This week the app finally got the all-clear from Apple’s notoriously finicky App Store mandarins.
The idea is to allow the millions of people running Windows 10 PCs to get Cortana notifications and other services on their Android or Apple phones, says Microsoft Cortana Program Manager Marcus Ash.
“For example, if you miss a call on your Android phone, you can get a notification on your Windows 10 machine,” says Ash. “You can then send a text response to the caller’s phone from your PC.”
Microsoft Cortana, now coming to an iPhone near you, maybe (Image: iTunes).
However, that feature is not currently available on the iOS version, says Ash. Nor is the ability to say “Hey Cortana” to wake up the app. But Cortana’s ability to deliver Windows notifications, manage appointments, track flights and packages, remember things you’re interested in, and let you search via voice commands will work across all three mobile platforms.
In addition, owners of Windows 10 phones will be able to use Cortana to open third-party apps, change settings, and launch the app hands free by saying “Hey Cortana.”
(Users who have installed Cyanogen — an enhanced version of the open source Android OS — will also be able to use “Hey Cortana” to open the app.)
The addition of Cortana for iOS makes life a little easier for Windows 10 owners who also happen to carry iPhones (or vice versa). But only time will tell how well Siri and her new step sister get along.