Not sold on Siri? Apathetic towards Alexa and Assistant? iPad owners now have another choice for voice assistance with the introduction of Microsoft’s Cortana on Apple iPad.
Cortana was previously made available for the iPhone way back in December 2015, and while you could download the Cortana app on your iPad, it wouldn’t utilize the larger screen. With this update, Cortana has been changed to take full advantage of the iPad’s larger screen real estate, making Microsoft’s voice assistant fully available on iPad devices. As an additional little bonus, Cortana also now launches 20 percent faster on all iOS devices.
If you’ve had any experience with a voice assistant (a device that is rapidly gaining broad market acceptance), then you probably know what to expect from Cortana. Like the rest of the available voice assistants out there, Cortana is activated by speaking a specific hotword aloud — in this case, it’s “Cortana.” Like others, Cortana is linked up to various different apps, including Netflix, Audible, and Spotify — but she can also respond to requests for information, such as a request for the current weather, or you can set reminders for later.
What’s the advantage of using Cortana over Apple’s built-in Siri? There really isn’t one, but variety is the spice of life, and it’s nice to have the option to migrate to a different voice assistant should your present helper get too snarky for you, or not suit your needs. However, since Apple’s walled garden is a fairly restricted one, Cortana is only allowed to function within its own app, so you won’t be able to use Cortana if your screen is locked, for instance.
Uniquely for voice assistants, Cortana has a history outside of the specific app and voice assistance. Cortana the voice assistant is named after another Cortana — a character in the Halo video game series, a synthetic intelligence that assists the main character through most of the games in the series. Fitting for an A.I.-based intelligence for sure, and a cute little Easter egg for Halo fans. Still, it’s a fun little addition, and Microsoft went as far as to ask the same voice actress to reprise her role as the voice assistant.