Apple will ease developer restrictions on Siri

Could mean improved support for WhatsApp and Skype

What you need to know

  • Apple has confirmed it will ease restrictions on Siri support for third-party messaging.
  • A software update later this year will improve functionality.
  • News comes in response to Bloomberg story charting the rise of in-house software.

In a statement issued to Bloomberg today, Apple has confirmed that a software update later this year will loosen the restrictions on Siri support for third-party messaging apps.

In its story Bloomberg states:

The Cupertino, California-based company plans to release a software update later this year that will help outside messaging applications work better with the Siri digital assistant… Right now, when iPhone users ask Siri to call or message a friend, the system defaults to Apple’s Phone or iMessage apps. If you want to use WhatsApp or Skype, you have to specifically say that.

When the software refresh kicks in, Siri will default to the apps that people use frequently to communicate with their contacts. For example, if an iPhone user always messages another person via WhatsApp, Siri will automatically launch WhatsApp, rather than iMessage. It will decide which service to use based on interactions with specific contacts. Developers will need to enable the new Siri functionality in their apps. This will be expanded later to phone apps for calls as well.

This will mean that in future, if you ask Siri to send a message, it will default to the messaging app that you use the most, rather than defaulting to iMessage as is currently the case. The report from Bloomberg follows another Bloomberg story published this morning titled Apple’s Default iPhone Apps Give It Growing Edge Over App Store Rivals , in which it documented how Apple’s default, in-house software means consumers are “subtly coaxed and prodded into using this more-established software rather than alternatives”.