Siri Shortcuts Stories June 5

Siri Shortcuts is Apple’s answer to a more robust personal assistant across their product line. A near visual clone to its predecessor Workflow, the new Shortcuts app brings deeper automation to iOS devices. Developers will be able to create “donations“, specific actions within their apps, that can then be controlled by Siri. By chaining these donations together, users will be able to personalize Siri requests to fit their personal use cases.

During the WWDC 2018 keynote, Apple demoed just how much Shortcuts is able to accomplish. Kim Beverett from the Siri Shortcuts team created a custom shortcut that allowed her to: send someone a message on her ETA, navigate to her home, set her HomeKit thermostat to 70 degrees, turn on her fan, and then play her favorite NPR station.

Although Siri Shortcuts isn’t officially out yet, even on the iOS 12 developer beta, we can surface a lot of this functionality with the currently available Workflow app. Let’s dive in.

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Apple was the first company to bring a voice-driven intelligent assistant to the masses. Since then, however, it’s been overtaken in capabilities by both Google and Amazon.

As I’ve written before, that’s not coincidence. Google collects and analyzes huge volumes of personal data to help make its intelligent assistant as powerful as possible. Amazon lets anyone create a ‘recipe’ which any Echo owner can use. Apple, in contrast, chooses to limit the amount of personal data it collects and uses, and tightly controls access to Siri by third-party companies.

That approach has arguably become a strong selling-point at a time when the privacy of user data has become headline news in the mainstream press. All the same, many Siri users do find it frustrating that Apple’s AI – the one that once led the market – is now the dumbest kid on the block …

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