For most iPhone users, Siri has functioned as an afterthought feature -- good for not much more than answering your smart aleck-ey questions with trademark sass. That's about to change when iOS 9 becomes available for download this Wednesday, September 16. In addition to learning and recognizing your individual voice, the new, smarter Siri will also offer contextual search, proactive assistance, and predictive notifications. Siri, do you forgive us for not believing in you earlier?
Personalized, hands-free voice activation
Since iOS 8, iPhones have been equipped with hands-free voice command activation when your phone is plugged into a power source. (To enable the feature, go to Settings > General > Siri and select "Allow 'Hey Siri.'") Starting with iOS 9 though, Siri will respond to your voice, and your voice only. To learn your voice, your phone will prompt you to say "Hey, Siri" three times, in addition to two additional commands, "Hey Siri, what's the weather today?" and "Hey Siri, it's me." On the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6s Plus, your phone will listen for the 'Hey Siri' command even when not plugged in, so you can deepen your already dangerously deep-rooted psycho-emotional dependence to your phone.
Like an overeager intern, Siri will offer "proactive assistance," related to any upcoming events, reservations, or obligations. For example, if you receive an email with a flight time, the Calendar app will automatically create a "suggested event." And if you have a dinner date, it'll suggest departure times by consulting your location, so you don't leave your real-life lady friend hanging.
Perhaps one of the more complex updates to voice command functionality, contextual search will let you ask follow-up questions, so you're not repeating yourself. A contextually-aware and informed Siri also means you'll get to make generic requests like "Remind me about this tomorrow," and she'll know exactly what you're talking about. Whoa. Future.