Everyone has a digital assistant these days. Microsoft has baked Cortana into the heart of all its software and Google has just announced a major revamp to what it now calls Google assistant. Apple, on the other hand, has seen its digital assistant Siri fall behind the competition in recent years, but the company is now set to make the biggest overhaul to the feature yet by bringing it to the desktop.
The long-rumored move was given more credibility this week when MacRumors published leaked screenshots from a reliable source, showing Siri working on Mac OS X, the Apple desktop operating system that is due to be updated next month.
The leaked images show a Siri icon in the menu bar as well as a recognizable waveform logo situated in the part of the interface known as the Dock. Apple is widely expected to launch Mac OS X 10.12 next month at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), which kicks off on June 13.
According to the source speaking to MacRumors, Siri will work in a similar way on desktop to its mobile version. Clicking on either Siri icon will bring up the waveform users will be used to from the iPhone app, but they will also be able to interact using only their voice and the "Hey Siri" phrase. This option will be disabled by default but can be turned on in the preferences menu.
Siri on the desktop is expected to offer the same feature set as its mobile version, allowing users to open apps, reply to text messages, read emails, make calendar appointments, play music, set a reminder and ask questions.
Apple was the first to popularize a digital assistant with the launch of Siri on the iPhone and iPad, but since then its development has fallen behind that of Cortana, which Microsoft has integrated into phones, tablets, desktops, its Edge web browser and Xbox gaming console.
Google on Wednesday announced an expansion of its AI-powered virtual assistant, previously known as Google Now. Google's CEO Sundar Pichai revealed details of its new assistant at its annual developer conference, highlighting that artificial intelligence is going to be the driving force in computing in the coming years.
Unlike both Cortana and Google assistant, Siri doesn't send your data to the cloud, which means Apple is somewhat limited in what actions it can provide and how fast Siri can adapt to your preferences, though it does keep your data locked down to your device.