Technology

Microsoft Revamps Cortana for iOS: New features and what they can do

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With the revamp of Cortana, competition in the voice-powered assistants continues to mount. Just recently, Google Assistant was rolled out to newer versions of Android. This is huge since prior to this, this feature was only available in Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones.

Microsoft’s own voice-powered assistant Cortana is getting a makeover. The new version comes with a fresh new look and an overall better user experience. This assistant is available on all major platforms but only its iOS version will be affected by the upgrade. This move is a seen as an attempt to take on Apple’s native assistant Siri.

This follows a revamp of Cortana for Android in December 2016. It seems like Microsoft is ready to connect with its iOS users with an update that will improve the user experience.

Microsoft says that the overhaul of Cortana will improve the way the AI assistant works on iOS platform and make it more practical. What this tech giant is telling us is that it hopes to make Cortana a better alternative to Siri. Well, some things don’t have to be spelled out for us to get the memo.

The new Cortana is version 2.0 and can already be downloaded from the Apple App Store. It requires iOS 9.0 or newer versions for compatibility with Apple products.

What’s new?

One of the most noticeable changes has to be the theme color. Say goodbye to the black-and-white theme and say hello to a purple theme. The new version is definitely more welcoming and vibrant than previous versions.

The revamped app is expected to load faster and defaults into listening to voice commands and questions. This means that Cortana now starts listening right from the moment you open it. Microsoft says that with the new platforms information or answers are presented in a clearer layout and immersive full-page answers.

The app also comes with a new Quick Actions feature that lets you tap several buttons that command Cortana to do things like setting an alarm or a reminder. This means that if you are still not sold on the idea of voice command, you can still do simple things through the touch of a button.

Microsoft seems taken some cues ideas from Google in revamping Cortana. Its home screen comes with Google Now-like information cards for data such as news, weather traffic, nearby locations.

Microsoft has also redesigned the reminders screen to embrace a cleaner UI than the old version. With the revamped version, the call and texting functions have been refreshed. If you want to call or text through Cortana, you will be directed to iPhone’s dialer and the built in messaging app.

When Microsoft first announced that it would be putting out a revamped version of Cortana for iOS, the only thing that people could think about is whether it will be a better alternative to Siri. So, does Cortana v2.0 now match or even surpass Siri? Only time will tell. It’s too early to compare the two assistants but we will know soon enough.

Those who are privileged enough to own an iPhone, through whatever means, can go ahead to download the updated app.

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