Siri Finally Learns How To Launch Apps, Lands On The iPad

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Apple Has Sold 365 Million iOS Devices So Far, 80% Run iOS 5

Just moments after Apple officially pulled back the curtains on iOS 6, Apple’s Scott Forstall announced a slew of compelling new updates to Siri, their mobile intelligent assistant.

First up, Siri is much smarter than she used to be — she can now easily cull information from multiple new sources to provide (among other things) detailed sports, restaurant, and movie information.

That’s all well and good (especially for all you gourmands), but one of the biggest new additions is that Siri can now launch apps when asked. That lack of that functionality from day one seemed like a serious shortcoming especially considering how Apple was trying to position her (or him, depending on your locale) as a smart new way of interacting with the iPhone. Forestall demonstrated this on-stage by commanding her to launch Temple Run, and — thankfully — it worked like like a charm.

Apple has also partnered up with a handful of car manufacturers to deliver what they call “Eyes Free” functionality, which will see a a physical button integrated into forthcoming cars that will bring up Siri on a connected device when pushed. No word yet on exactly when the first Eyes Free cars will roll off the assembly line, but Apple says it should be within the next 12 months.

Also part of the substantial new update is support for a handful for a handful of new languages, including Italian, Korea, Mandarin (for Taiwan), and Cantonese.

With all these updates in tow, it’s a good thing that iPhone 4S users won’t be the only people who get to talk to Siri — Apple is bringing Siri to the new iPad. Though the company didn’t expand on things, it seems safe to conclude that earlier models of the iPad will be left out for the same reason that earlier iPhones are also being neglected — their hardware likely isn’t quite enough to deliver a smooth user experience.