“Apple this week had every opportunity to show off new voice skills for Siri, the personal digital assistant, and to prove that it could be competitive with Amazon and Google,” Jefferson Graham writes for USA Today. “Instead, it pretty much took a pass.”

“It did announce some new features, touted as ‘Shortcuts,’ but they’re way more about text than voice and touted as ‘suggestions,’ that can be set up with a pre-arranged set of text categories,” Graham writes. “Siri is the most widely used of the assistants, due to the size of the iPhone universe, which has over 1 billion users, but consistently lags behind Alexa and Google in usability surveys.”

“What Apple did showcase at the WWDC new feature intro was a new app, out in the fall, called ‘Shortcuts,’ which uses ‘Siri suggestions,’ to create automatic actions. For instance, you can choose from pre-set ones like ‘Send ETA,’ or predictive ones to buy morning coffee,” Graham writes. “The feature is based on an app Apple purchased in 2017, Workflow, which it had named best app of the year in 2015.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Siri speaks and understands myriad languages. Get back to us when Google’s or Amazon’s privacy-trampling Siri knockoffs support even half of the languages spoken in these countries where Siri works:

• Australia
• Austria
• Belgium (Dutch, French)
• Brazil
• Canada (English, French)
• Chile
• China (Cantonese, Mandarin)
• Denmark
• Finland (Finnish)
• France
• Germany
• Hong Kong (Cantonese)
• India (English)
• Ireland (English)
• Israel (Hebrew)
• Italy
• Japan
• Malaysia (Malay)
• Mexico
• Netherlands
• New Zealand
• Norway
• Republic of Korea
• Russia
• Saudi Arabia (Arabic)
• Singapore (English)
• South Africa (English)
• Spain
• Sweden
• Switzerland (French, German, Italian)
• Taiwan (Mandarin)
• Thailand
• Turkey
• United Arab Emirates (Arabic)
• UK
• USA (English, Spanish)

That said, Apple should allow users to choose whether to cede some degree(s) of privacy in exchange for for more fully-featured versions of Siri, Photos, etc.