Included in today’s release of iOS 11.2.5 for iPhone and iPad is a new feature that builds on something we discovered earlier this month. Siri can now play news streams specific to sports, business, and music news when asked.
We discovered the feature at the beginning of the month by accident when testing Siri against Alexa. When using Siri in a hands-free mode (like voice activation or in the car), Siri will play a daily news feed from The Washington Post with an option to switch sources to Fox News, CNN, or NPR.
The feature was originally only available in iOS 11.2.5 beta to testers in the United States, but Apple later turned it on for all users in the US, UK, and Australia with various news sources internationally.
The feature is primarily intended for HomePod which launches in those three countries next month, but it works on iPhone and iPad in hands-free Siri mode as well.
Today’s iOS 11.2.5 release notes highlight an expansion of the feature that was previously undiscovered. When asking Siri about sports, business, or music news, the audio stream will pull from a different source then when just asking about the news generically.
While the generic news inquiry typically pulls political news, the specific news queries are obviously more targeted. In the United States, sports news pulls from ESPN with an option to switch to NBC, business pulls from CNBC which an option to switch to Bloomberg, and music news pulls from Apple Music with Zane Lowe content.
We’re testing the feature internationally as well and will update when we learn more. In testing, “tell me sports news” works both hands-free and when invoked with a hardware button while asking other ways still requires hands-free activation to avoid receiving Apple News results.