iOS 11.2.5 has a great new feature that is going to give Siri quite the boost. In addition to everything else that Siri will do, she (I always refer to Siri as a female, but that’s just how Siri is presented in my head) will now play the latest news for you. What’s actually really interesting about this is that Siri isn’t just going to read the news to you, but rather she will play short daily news audio clips from various reputable publications. Yes, that’s right – reputable. Side note – is this Apple’s way of helping to stomp out the fake news problem?
The good news is that this feature is available in the US, the UK, and Australia. The bad news is if you don’t live in one of those three places, you’re out of luck. There is a workaround, which is switching your device’s region to the United States, but be careful with that as it might muck up some of your other settings.
What’s interesting is that the feature is a bit different than other Siri functions. It will only work when you use the “Hey Siri” hot word. If you ask Siri to read you the news after manually turning on Siri (that sounds worse than intended), all you will get is a list of the latest stories on the screen. This feature was designed to be used hands-free and without looking at the device. It works when you’ve got your headphones on (it works really well on AirPods), via CarPlay and when you’re using enabling Siri using the Hey Siri feature. Which means this feature is only available on iPhone 6s and higher. Siri News feature via headphones seems to be working for all iPhones.
I wonder if this is one of the features that Apple is going to push related to the new HomePod? Invoke Siri using the Hey Siri functionality and say “Hey Siri, play the news”. Siri will then start playing the latest audio news from your preferred source using the Podcasts app. Also, note that this feature won’t work if you don’t have the Podcasts app installed. You can also ask for specific news categories like Sports, or Business.
What might be my favorite part of this whole thing is that you can change the news sources. When you ask Siri to play the news, you can slightly change the command. Say something like “Hey Siri, switch to the Washington Post”, and Siri will change the source for your news. As of right now, you can get the following general news sources from Siri:
- Apple Music (of course)
- Fox News
- Seven Network
- Sky News, and;
- The Washington Post
I’m kind of surprised that there aren’t other news sources like the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. They are, after all, reputable. And the WSJ is a business news source. I am not going to say which one, but I find who made the list interesting, especially when we’re talking about reputable news.