Microsoft has now made good on its earlier promise that it would soon roll out a beta version of its Cortana personal assistant – a rival to Apple’s Siri and Google Now – to users of iOS devices. This week, a handful of testers who signed up to trial the new app were notified by way of email that the iOS version of Cortana was available for download. The beta version of the app offers voice-powered assistance, plus help with managing your schedule, reminders, and alarms, as well as the ability to track things like flights, packages, stocks, scores and more.
An Android version of the app was previously made available for testing this August.
However, in early November, Microsoft announced its plans to begin testing Cortana on iOS in an online forum where a survey was shared with those who were interested in trying out the iOS software. The survey asked users about their devices, and whether or not they also used the app on a Windows 10 PC. Likely, Microsoft was looking to find those who were planning to test the app cross-platform, as its ability to tie together iPhones and PCs is one of its main benefits.
According to the description that accompanies the test build of Cortana for iOS, Microsoft explains how the assistant can help Windows users with iPhones connect the two platforms. For example, Microsoft suggests how you can set reminders on your PC – like a reminder to pick up milk on the way home – then be notified via your iPhone when you’re on the road.
You can also use Cortana to make an appointment, send an email or text, set reminders by location and time across your PC and phone, plus track your packages, flights, stocks, sports scores, weather and more. You can also use the app to search Bing, get directions, get info on restaurants and movie and TV listings, track your interests, and even open apps, according to the description’s text.
Testers report that the beta build is being distributed by Apple’s TestFlight. As one blogger and earlier tester points out that could mean only a small number of testers will be brought on initially, given TestFlight’s limitation of 2,000 testers per application. That may also explain why a good many who signed up for Cortana’s beta are saying that have still yet to receive their invite at this time. (A staged rollout is another possibility.)
The original survey indicated that Cortana for iOS would be available to those in the U.S. and China, but the survey itself was aimed at potential U.S. testers.
(h/t, image credits: Warenotice)