Microsoft recently announced that it’s now accepting beta testers for the company’s public beta iteration of “Cortana,” its voice assistant app for iOS.
The company’s Cortana application for iOS will bring a limited assortment of the voice assistant’s features to iPhone.
On Windows Phones and PC’s, Cortana, similar to Apple’s Siri, can facilitate a wide range of tasks — including but not limited to checking the weather, setting reminders, making calendar appointments, and searching both the Web and content on the device. The lack of an open filesystem on iOS will prevent local search, but most other functions should be supported.
In order to be a beta tester, one must first be a member of the Windows Insider Program, and in addition, fill out a short survey on Microsoft’s website.
The Windows PC maker announced the news in an official blog post. As suggested by the survey’s contents, Cortana for iOS appears to be an iPhone-only application, and will be available to users running iOS 8 or later.
If you sign-up and just so happen to be accepted into the beta testing program, you should receive a download link within an email in the next several weeks. At the time, however, Microsoft has restricted its testing campaign to the U.S. and China.
In the iOS version of Cortana, some Windows features will initially be absent — most notably among them, the “Hey Cortana” activation command. Apple has barred iOS devices from being able to utilize third-party voice commands from the lock screen or home screen, although they can be triggered within the specific app.
Microsoft is promising “frequent” updates to Cortana for iOS, thus further expanding the beta’s features over time. But the company has yet to disclose what exactly those updates might bring to the table, or even when the full, unrestricted app will be released.