Sep 21 2012

Why the New Siri Is the Perfect Mate

Last year, “IT girl” Siri took the world by storm. But she is back with new features in iOS 6 and has a new beau — the iPhone 5.

With the iPhone 5 set to make its official in-store appearance this week, preorders reached a record high: 2 million units were sold in 24 hours.

Back in 2010, sales of the iPhone 4 similarly induced iPhone fever, with the device selling more than 1.7 million units during the first few days of its release. But the bar was raised last year, when Apple introduced an artificial-intelligence ingénue named Siri and paired her with the iPhone 4S: Voilà — a new power couple was born.

After its launch in October 2011, the iPhone 4S sold more than 4 million units in just three days.

At first, it was not hard to love Siri. She was polite, she was fun and she knew where to go for the best late-night snack. But as time went on, some of her less-than-flattering features began to surface. She became known as a home-wrecker and a poor conversationalist, and she had a bad appetite for bandwidth. Technically, though, she was still in beta, so the kinks in her performance weren’t entirely unexpected.

But with the arrival of iOS 6 and the iPhone 5, Siri has gotten a much-needed refresh, and she’s ready to dazzle her admirers with all of the impressive work she’s had done on her since iOS 5.

Here are a few of Siri’s brand-new tricks, which iOS users can put to good use as soon as they upgrade to iOS 6:

SIri Is Open to New Relationships

No longer is Siri just the apple of the iPhone’s eye. She can also be found on the new iPad and on the fifth-generation iPod touch.

Siri Is More Worldly

Siri used to understand the accents and languages of 6 countries. Now, it’s 15 countries.

Siri Approves of Your “Angry Birds” Addiction

Siri is now able to open apps with a simple command. When you say, “Play Angry Birds,” Siri will take you to the app. (Of course the app has to be installed on your device first.)

Siri Is More Social

You can now dictate status updates to Siri and choose to post them on Facebook or Twitter.

Siri Always Knows What’s for Dinner

With iOS 6, Siri is now integrated with Yelp and OpenTable, which will allow you to search for restaurants based on cuisine, price, location and rating. Once you choose a place, you can tell Siri to make a reservation through the OpenTable app.

Siri Is a Movie and Sports Buff

Siri is able to understand movie- and sports-related queries. Siri can now tap into the Rotten Tomatoes database to show you movie reviews and ratings. She can also provide game schedules, scores, player info and team records for baseball, basketball, football, soccer and hockey leagues.

Siri Likes Your Friends

Siri can recall information about anyone whose number is saved in your phone. This includes birthdays, e-mail addresses, phone numbers and street addresses. She can also tell you where your friends and family are at any time. At the very least, she can tell you where Martin Scorsese’s friends are.

Siri Will Make Sure You’re Not Late for Work

You can tell Siri to set an alarm for a specific time. While she’s at it, she can also give you an overview of your schedule for any given day. In case you do end up running late, you can dictate an e-mail or text message for Siri to send to your boss or co-workers.

Siri Knows the Stocks

Ask Siri, “How are the markets doing?” and she’ll tell you. Just don’t blame her for your bad investments.

Siri Will Be Behind the Wheel

Within the next year, a new Eyes Free feature will put a Siri button on the steering wheel of some cars, including Jaguars, Land Rovers, BMWs, Hondas, and Chryslers.