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Siri gets smarter, can launch apps

Apple debuts new features for the digital assistant, which is coming to iPad.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
2 min read
Siri will be able to talk to you through your car soon. James Martin/CNET

Apple announced several upgrades for Siri today at the WWDC, including a jump to the lastest iPad.

The personal assistant will now include better responses and several integrations, incluing OpenTable, Rotten Tomates, Yelp, and sports data. Siri can also now launch apps, update Facebook or Twitter, and speak more languages.

According to Apple, Siri is optimized for use in 15 countries. In addition to English, French, German and Japanese, Siri can now converse in Spanish, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, and Cantonese.

Apple is also working with automakers to integrate Siri into cars through a "Eyes Free" feature, which will allow drivers to use a button in the steering wheel to activate Siri. The feature is coming in the next 12 months for several car companies, including BMW, General Motors,Toyota, Mercedes, Honda, and Audi.

Siri debuted with the iPhone 4S as a beta product last October. The "S" in the iPhone 4S moniker stood for Siri. The feature uses the iPhone 4S' built-in microphone, taking user commands and turning them into actions on the phone. That includes searching the Web, setting reminders, and checking stock prices.

During an interview at the recent D10 conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted that the software had an upgrade in the works, noting that "a lot of people" were working to improve the technology.

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Update, 1:23 p.m. PT: Updated with more information.