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By Dan Moren for Macworld
In 2011, Apple announced that its newest iPhone would incorporate a brand new virtual assistant, based on an app developed by a company that Apple had acquired: Siri. This fall’s release of iOS 12 marks seven years since Siri’s debut, meaning that the virtual assistant would be roughly in first grade by now.
Over the intervening years, Siri has grown in fits and starts, expanding its features and its knowledge base, often with only a little fanfare from Apple. On rare occasions, Apple does devote some attention to the virtual assistant, such as when it produced a whole video dedicated to the relationship between action star–and impossibly cheerful human–Dwayne Johnson and the intelligent agent. But more often than not, Siri’s presented as a facet of Apple’s other products.
In iOS 12, Apple’s made perhaps the biggest improvement in Siri’s history, by adding the Siri Shortcuts feature. Shortcuts unlocks a lot of functionality for the virtual assistant and makes it truly customizable for the first time, but it also brings to light the virtual assistant’s frustrating shortcomings.