The other digital personal assistant for iOS.
Did I feel slightly guilty as I installed downloaded Cortana onto my iPhone? Have I been avoiding asking Siri to do things for me since I started reviewing this other personal assistant AI? Yes, yes I did, and yes I have. Maybe that is ridiculous, but I have this theory that Siri is sentient and likes to passive aggressively communicate through autocorrect. Anyway.
Cortana is named after (and uses the same voice as) the character of the same name from Halo. She’s basically the Windows version of Siri, and therefore is really more optimized to hang out on PC platforms like her native Windows 10. But it’s awesome that she can cross platforms and sync between devices, which is something Siri cannot do, even with other Apple products. Being able to sync calendars and reminders, etc., between your iPhone and your Windows 10 nonsense would indeed be handy.
By itself, the Cortana iPhone app is okay. You can set reminders and alarms, add calendar events, ask a bunch of questions, whatever. One standout feature is Cortana’s Notebook. On the application’s homepage, Cortana keeps an updated collection of news stories, traffic or weather updates, and other things she thinks you might like, based on your interest settings. This gives you a lot of useful, customized information upfront without having to ask anything. When you do want to ask Cortana a question (like how old she is or what to make for dinner), you have the option to type it instead of talking out loud to your phone, which is nice.
On the downside for Cortana, she has some limitations that Siri does not. Cortana can’t open applications. You have to go into the app and press the mic button in order for her to hear you instead of just summoning Siri from the ether (by which I mean the home button or just by calling for Siri when connected to power). Also, in my experience, she doesn’t actually speak. At least not often. I think I’ve heard her voice once, which I find disappointing. The rest of the time, when she answers you, it’s either just text onscreen or Bing searches. One last con is that Cortana flat-out refuses to work unless she can always access your location.
Overall, I think it would be useful to have Cortana hanging about your iPhone only if you have another device with which to sync her up. Her usefulness really lies in her ability to manipulate your information across your computational landscape.
DOWNLOAD – Cortana – FREE – iOS
For more information, visit windows.microsoft.com/cortana.