Apple’s Siri Gets Smarter for iPhone in Bid to Challenge Amazon’s Alexa

June 5, 2017, 6:47 PM UTC

Apple’s iPhone is getting some new software.

At its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday, Apple showcased a slew of improvements to iOS in a new version called iOS 11. Apple’s texting app Messages has a redesign that will make it easier for users to share photos and other content, and the company’s mobile-payment service Apple Pay now supports person-to-person money transfers. The feature is built into Apple’s Messages.

Apple’s (AAPL) virtual personal assistant Siri has new male and female voices that sound more human and can translate different languages on the fly. Siri is also being integrated into a variety of third-party apps, allowing it to be used for banking, chatting, and other features. Siri will even guess at what users want to do next by learning their habits and suggest different apps, news, and other content while using the service.

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The mobile operating system’s Photos app is getting an update that makes it easier to find images, and those pictures will be displayed in higher quality than they were in iOS 10. Apple also said that Control Center—the service that gives users quick access to apps and settings—has been redesigned to help find app and phone controls.

Apple’s Maps app now includes floor plans and search for malls and airports, and iOS 11 has a feature that can determine whether you’re driving and to turn off any distractions while your car is moving.

In a smart home push, Apple has added speakers support in iOS 11, allowing them to control home speakers around the house from an iPhone. Also in audio, Apple said that Apple Music users can now see what their friends are listening to on the streaming app.

Apple also used its developer confab to announced that its App Store is getting a redesign for the first time in its history. Apple says the redesign will make it easier for users to “discover” apps and more easily find video games.

The tech giant ended its iOS 11 announcement with talk of augmented reality, a technology that overlays physical objects in the real world. Apple said that iOS 11 will come with full support for the technology with a feature called ARKit.

Those who have an iPad will get some additional features in iOS 11. Chief among them is a new Files app that allows users to save files in folders that can be arranged like any other file system. Apple’s iOS 11 on iPads can also be modified to support many more apps in the dock, and a new drag-and-drop feature is also coming to the tablets.

Apple’s iOS 11 will be available as a free download this fall.

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