Siri may look more colorful when Apple unveils the next edition of iOS.
As expected, Apple has been mum about which changes and new features could show up in iOS 9, the next version of its mobile operating system for iPhone and iPad users. Apple is expected to unveil iOS 9 at its Worldwide Developers Conference starting June 8.
But one purported change will be a new paint job for Siri. Specifically, Apple's voice assistant on the iPhone and iPad will mimic the more colorful look of the Siri that Apple Watch wearers see, 9to5Mac said on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources.
The Siri that you see on the iPhone and iPad looks plain with a simple black-and-white design. The Siri on the Apple Watch splashes color onto the screen so it appears more inviting.
No mention was made of any other tweaks for Siri, but the software could stand some enhancements this year -- and more than just cosmetic ones. Introduced in 2011 on the iPhone 4S, Siri has been updated and improved over the years. But it now faces greater competition, which means Apple needs to beef up Siri if it expects more people to use it. Consumers don't necessarily purchase a smartphone based on the quality of the voice assistant, but it is a factor that could sway a buyer one way or the other.
And what of the competition? The Google Now voice assistant is available both for Android and iOS devices through the standard Google app. A test conducted last July by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster found that Google Now was more accurate than Siri.
And courtesy of Windows 10, Microsoft is expanding its Cortana voice assistant from mobile devices to tablets and PCs. Microsoft's aim with Windows 10 is to offer a more unified environment for mobile users and PC users. Some of those who use and grow to like Cortana on a desktop or laptop might just be persuaded to buy a Windows Phone handset equipped with Cortana.
Cortana could even make its way to iOS devices, according to a March report from Reuters. That would mean Siri would have to contend with both Google Now and Cortana for the love and attention of iPhone and iPad users.
How could Apple enhance Siri to battle the competition? Here's one way. Right now, Siri is designed to answer questions and help you set up certain tasks, such as reminders and calendar appointments. Cortana takes all of that and goes a step further by alerting you with notifications and updates when necessary. Adding that skill to Siri would certainly make it more useful and functional.
iOS 9 will reportedly come with a number of "under-the-hood" improvements, 9to5Mac said in February, citing anonymous sources. The focus would be more on fixing bugs and enhancing performance and stability rather than adding new features. That would certainly be a smart move on Apple's part.
iOS 8 proved problematic when first released due to bugs that forced Apple to keep rolling out new updates. Earlier this month, Apple released iOS 8.3 with a few new features and several bug fixes. And even now Apple is beta testing iOS 8.4 to squash still more bugs. But hopefully along with the bug fixes and performance enhancements reportedly slated for iOS 9, we'll see improvements in Siri so it can keep up with the competition.
Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.