New ‘Shortcuts’ Allows Siri To Compete With Alexa and Google Assistant

During the Worldwide Developers Conference this week, Apple announced a new update for iOS 12 called Shortcuts, which allows Siri to perform multi-step routines with a simple voice command.

If you’ve lost your keys, for example, you’ll now be able to tell Siri, “lost keys” and she will set into motion the Tile tracker to help you find them again.

A new Shortcuts app contains hundreds of multi-step commands like this that are available to download for smart home devices compatible with Apple HomeKit.

The ‘Heading Home’ shortcut, for instance, will turn on the thermostat, fan, lighting and even message your partner with your estimated journey time.

The app also allows users to create their own custom shortcuts for your own activities and routines, allowing you to set your own voice command phrase and completely customize Siri’s response.

Take a look at it in action:

This latest update as part of iOS 12 will finally bring Siri more into line with the capabilities of the arguably superior voice assistants, Amazon Alexa and Google Home — both of which can already perform multi-step routines.

Although the update is restricted to iOS and not yet extended to Android users, it’s clear that Apple are widening their audience for their Apple HomeKit technology. As Gearbrain points out, the Shortcuts app promises to hand more control over devices to iPhone users and reduces the need for the Apple HomePod hub.

The HomePod retails for just under $350, so this latest update is passing on serious savings to consumers without restricting their user experience and capabilities.

The Worldwide Developers conference also saw a couple more smart home updates from Apple:

  1. You can now manage HomeKit from your Mac with the Mojave iOS update that brings the Home app to desktop. This was previously restricted just to iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users.
  2. Apple TV will soon be integrated with Control4, Crestron and Savant — smart security devices. This will allow you to remotely monitor security cam feeds using your Apple TV.

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