Latest Beta Version of iOS Hands Siri the Capability to Stream News Podcasts

January 4, 2018, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Reading out news is always one of the binding features of a digital assistant in smartphones. The feature has found place in all the personal assistants ever since its inception. But Apple is making things quite more comfortable in this regard.

The latest beta version of iOS, v 11.2.5, has now started rolling out to iPhones and iPads with a new feature that lets Siri read out news podcasts under specific scenarios. Indeed, Siri was one among the first to embrace the news readout feature, but it only had the ability to blurt out headlines and summaries until now.

With the latest iOS beta, Siri gets updated to stream news podcasts. By default, Siri will start streaming podcasts from the Washington Post. Users can also request Siri to stream podcasts from Fox News, NPR, and CNN.

Siri’s new feature is not turned on always. Instead, it will be activated only under certain conditions. That’s when it detects that you are not accessing your display. News podcasts will only be streamed when the display is not available or visible. Also, you will have to activate Siri by means of voice controls to get the news podcasts. Users can also get news podcasts when they have earphones connected or when in CarPlay mode. Be that not the case, Siri will revert to the older habit of reading out headlines and summaries of news.

While it’s a good thing to have news podcasts available in iPhones, the real intention of Apple is not to facilitate the smartphone or tablet users. Instead, it’s just prepping up the feature for its yet-to-be-released HomePod speakers, which after all comes sans any display. Apple’s Siri-powered speakers missed the holiday outing and is now expected to be coming out to the markets before April this year.

As with the new update, version 11.2.5 beta is now available for iPads and iPhones. Additional features includes various bug fixes and security updates.

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