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Siri heads for a shake-up in the ‘iPhone 8’

If you are a fan of Siri, then good news: Apple’s voice assistant looks like it will be getting a promotion in the near future, thanks to the combination of iOS 11 and the “D22” iPhone (the leaked model thought to be the forthcoming “iPhone Pro, 8 or X”). If you’re not a fan of Siri, well, look away now – some of this isn’t pretty.

For the first time, Siri will sync across devices, letting details it has picked up from your phone affect how it answers on your iPad or computer. The service is also seeing a slight refocus: Siri isn’t just a voice assistant anymore, since “Siri” will also be responsible for suggesting topics in Apple News based on your web browsing, or for suggesting a calendar event if you make a booking online.

It’ll also be able to do translations for the first time, from English (only) to five languages including French and Chinese.

Of course, with all these new features, the eagle-eyed may have noticed a problem: the D22 iPhone won’t have a home button. The home button is how you use Siri, unless you’re the sort of masochist who relies on shouting “Hey Siri” to your phone all the time. What’s the solution?

Developer Guilherme Rambo suggests one possibility using the power button to invoke Siri. Rambo has been poking around inside the beta versions of Apple’s software releases all summer, finding other hints about future products like references to an Apple TV that supports 4K. And this isn’t the first suggestion in the software that the power button could play a more varied role: another teardown, reported by Brazilian site iHelp, found references to using the button to control the camera. How will this work? Will this work? Will you end up having to learn a complex command in Morse Code to actually lock your iPhone? All will be revealed next week, at the company’s launch event.

One sign of Apple’s changed focus on Siri was buried away in an executive reshuffle announced on Friday. The virtual assistant is being moved from the company’s services division, led by Eddy Cue, to its software engineering division, headed by Craig Federighi. Cue has the unenviable task of overseeing some of the company’s least-loved services, including iCloud, Apple Music and Apple Maps: freeing Siri from that line-up could work out well for the voice assistant.


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