Siri is constantly improving: it became faster and more reliable than ever with iOS 7 and iOS 7.1, gaining new features and a female voice for the UK, and iOS 8 added music identification, “‘Hey Siri!” voice activation and real-time feedback of the words Siri thinks you’re saying.
Siri is a massive leap forward over old-fashioned speech recognition. This used to require a strict vocabulary and couldn’t do very much. Worse still, for non-Americans, voice recognition struggled with European, Australian and other accents.
Siri doesn’t require a strict vocabulary, and it’ll generally figure out what you’re trying to say. That makes interacting with it seem much more natural. It also works pretty well with a range of accents, and has American, British and Australian settings, as well as French, German, Italian, Spanish and more. The iOS 8.3 update introduced new languages including Russian, Danish, Dutch, Thai, Swedish, Turkish and Portuguese.
Siri is comprehensive. It’s tied into Messages, Calendar, Music, Reminders, Maps, Mail, Weather, Stocks, Clock, Contacts, Notes and Safari. It’s also linked to Wolfram Alpha, the computational knowledge engine that can provide answers to numerous factual questions, and Yelp, the directory of local businesses.
Siri is also capable of searching Twitter and adjusting Settings, and it can perform a web search for you. These days it uses Bing as the default search engine, but specifically asking Siri to “Google” something results in it using Google instead.