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Back when iOS 5 was released, one of the most talked about features was Siri, the voice control technology that lets you speak commands to your phone, and to have it do things like dial phone numbers, add appointments to your calendar, look up directions, compose text messages, play music. And a slew of other tasks. All with just with the sound of your voice. What sets Siri apart from the other voice control applications was that it was programmed to understand regular conversational language. So rather than having to speak commands like, tell me tomorrow's temperature. You can instead ask things like, will I need to wear a jacket tomorrow? And Siri will be able to infer your meaning and look up the low temperature for tomorrow and read it to you.
Now, Siri is only available for the iPhone 4S and later, the third generation iPad and later, the iPad mini and the fifth generation iPod touch and later. Now, one important thing to bear in mind right from the start is that Siri requires an internet connection to work, whether it's through WiFi or through your wireless provider's network. Basically, when you speak a command, your command is sent to Apple's servers, processed and then the proper response is sent back to your phone, at which point it will reply to your command. So, understanding that, let's take a look at some basic things you can do. To use Siri, first go to Settings, General, and Siri.
And here make sure Siri is turned on. While you're in here you can also check some other settings. Under language make sure you've selected the language you plan on speaking to Siri. Currently, Siri works with several dialects of English, French, German, Chinese, Italian, and Spanish as well as Japanese and Korean. You can expect more languages to be added in the future. I'll leave mine set to United States English. Next, you can choose the gender of the voice Siri uses. I'll leave the default female voice. With voice feedback, you can determine whether Siri will verbally respond to you all the time, which is the default. Or you can choose hands-free only, and Siri will only talk to you when you're using a hands-free device like the iPhone earbuds or a Bluetooth headset.
Again, I'll leave this with the default settings. Under My Info, select your own contact information from your contacts if it’s not already selected. This lets Siri know who you are and it will address you by name. If you have the information in your contact cards about who your relatives are, like your spouse, parents or children, you’ll be able to send messages and call them simply by saying things like, call mom or send a text message to my sister. Now to do this, you have to go into your contacts. Find your own contact info, and tap Edit. And here you can scroll down to find the field that's labeled Add related name.
That gives you a field labeled mother by default. I'll tap that and change it to brother. I'll tap the Info button on that field. And here, I'll select my brother Greg. I'll tap Done. So from this point on, I'll be able to say things like call my brother, to call Greg. All right, let's go back to Siri settings. The last option here is Raise To Speak. Normally, to talk to Siri, you'll hold down the Home button for a second. But with Raise To Speak on, you can also activate Siri by putting your phone to your ear while it's unlocked. If you don't want that option, you can set it to Off. So, the only way to activate Siri is to hold down the Home button.
Okay so those are Siri settings. Let's take a look at some basic commands. Let's say I want to find out if it will be cold enough to wear a jacket tomrrow. So I'll hold down the home button on my phone for a second to activate Siri and once I hear a short chime I can ask my question. Will I need to wear a jacket tomorrow? >> The low will be 43 degrees Fahrenheit tomorrow. >> So, as you just saw, Siri automatically detected my question as well as when I stopped tlaking. It took a moment to process my question and then it came back and verbally told me what the low temperature is going to be and it even brought up the weekly forecast. Now the beauty of working with Siri is that it understands contextual questions.
So for example, let's say I just asked this question about the weather tomorrow, but my phone is in my pocket and I couldn't look at the weekly forecast here. By the way, you can invoke Siri with the button on your Bluetooth headset. Or from the iPhone earbuds. So you can in fact, keep your phone in your pocket while you talk to it. But let's say it's in my pocket, I ask this question, and I now I want to know how cold it's going to be this Friday. All I have to do is tap the microphone button or the button on my headset and say, how about Friday. >> The low temperature will be 34 degrees Fahrenheit Friday.
>> So Siri understood that I was still talking about the weather and it gave me that information. Pretty cool, right? Now in most cases when Siri displays visual data you can usually tap it to go to the app or website it's related to. So if I tap anywhere on the forecast I'm taken right to my weather app. Currently Siri is tied into several of the iPhone's built-in apps like weather, maps, calendar, reminders, clocks, stocks, and Safari, so you can generally ask it to do mostly anything you can do in those apps. For example I can press the home button and say, how did Apple's stock do today? >> Apple is up $12.85 today or 2.53% to $521.74.
>> So again, Siri replied and gave me graphics to check out. And if I tap those I can go directly to the stocks app. Siri's also connected to online information services like Wolfram Alpha, which bills itself as a computational knowledge engine. So you can ask Siri a question like. Who won the 1958 World Series? >> Looking. Here is what I found. >> So, not only do I learn that it was the New York Yankees, but Siri also gives me a ton of additional information about Yankee's history.
You can also ask it about current sporting events, for example, Who's in first place in the NFC East? >> So far, the Cowboys are in first place in the NFC East. >> And I get this nice chart to look at. Siri is also tied into Yelp so you can easily search for local restaurants that have been rated by Yelp members. For example I can ask, where can I get some sushi? >> I've found six sushi restaurants, four of them are fairly close to you. >> And from here I can tap any of these restaurants to get more information, call them or get directions. You can even be more specific than that.
Where can I find an inexpensive Mexican restaurant? >> I found 13 inexpensive Mexican restaurants a little ways from you. >> So in this case, Siri's actually pulling information from the Yelp reviews to find out whether restaurants are expensive or not. Other things you can use Siri for include launching applications, such as, open the calendar. That takes me right into my Calendar app. One of the new capabilities of Siri in iOS 7 that I really like is the ability to go into an app settings directly from that app. Go to settings. Notice, because I was in the Calendar app, the settings for Mail, Contacts, Calendars opens.
The same thing would happen if I were, say, using the Notes app. Go to Settings. So, that is the exact same phrase, but now it took me into the note settings because I was in notes. Now to answer a question Sarah can't answer correctly, it'll perform a web search. Tell me about the band The Jelly Bricks. >> My web search turned this up. >> And just like that, I have a list of web results and tapping one will take me to that link. Now, Siri's default search engine is bing.com. But you can ask it to search Google or Yahoo by asking for them by name. Search Yahoo for the jelly bricks.
>> Searching Yahoo for the jelly bricks. >> The difference here is that you're taken to Safari to see the results, rather than seeing them listed on the Siri screen. Siri also searches and returns results from Wikipedia when it can. Tell me about Lynda.com. >> Okay. I found this. >> And you can also tell it to search Wikipedia specifically, again by mentioning it by name. Search Wikipedia for common misconceptions. >> Alright, here's what I got. >> So, that's just a very brief sampling of the kinds of information you can get from Siri.
One of the best ways to figure out its abilities and limitations is to start using it and asking questions. So be sure to spend some time playing around on your own. Also, when you invoke Siri, you can tap the little question mark here in the lower left hand corner to see some examples of the kinds of questions you can ask. Another one of my favorite new capabilities is the Settings area here. So I can ask, is Bluetooth on, make the screen brighter, show me my privacy settings and so on. Is bluetooth on? >> No, bluetooth is off. >> It even gives me a switch now to turn it back on, or I could just say, turn bluetooth on. >> Okay, I turned on bluetooth.
>> And you can see the Bluetooth icon is now up here at the top of the screen. Now since this is all about voice commands. Instead of tapping the question mark in the lower left hand corner. You can just say, what can you do? And that takes you to the same list. So, again, that's just a very brief sampling of the kinds of information you can get from Siri. In the upcoming movies, we'll take a look at the other things you can do with Siri.
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