Virtual assistants have been a big part of smartphone culture for about 4 years now. Apple’s introduction of Siri in the iPhone 4s back in 2011 raised the bar for all smartphones to include something similar. After all, she was the most advanced voice activation system that we had ever seen on a smartphone at the time, and it was somewhat of a marvel (even as a loyal Android user at the time).
Since then we have seen Google and Microsoft get on the virtual assistant bandwagon with Google Now and Cortana, respectively. Although all three programs have come a long way since they started, and each has their strengths and weaknesses over one another, the end result is that all of them could still stand for improvements in many areas.
When I read that Cortana will eventually be available for iOS, my first thought was “Why?” I mean, I knew why, but it was more along the lines of “Why now, when Cortana (in my experience) has the most trouble out of all of them? And what will it really be able to do over Siri?” So far I’ve come up with one reason why Cortana would be a better choice over Siri, which would be because Windows 10 users could use Cortana on any Windows 10, iOS, and Android device. However, the iOS version notably won’t be as good as Cortana on Windows 10 devices because you can’t integrate it with iOS – that’s Siri’s job.
I just don’t think there will be that many people would be willing to use Cortana over Siri, and I highly doubt there will be an easy way to use one or the other at the same time. What are you going to do, hold down the home button and ask Siri if you can talk to Cortana? Because I have a strong feeling that Apple isn’t going to let you replace Siri with Cortana anytime soon.
It makes more sense for Microsoft to put Cortana on Android because it’s an open source platform and Cortana could be better integrated with Android than it ever could with iOS. Even so, I still feel that Microsoft might just want to stick with optimizing Cortana on Windows 10 rather than trying to push them on other operating systems, especially right now.
As a Windows PC and an iPhone user I kind of get the appeal. I used Cortana on my PC once when I first installed Windows 10, but I haven’t used her since. But just because I don’t use the feature doesn’t mean other people don’t. However, I don’t think that Cortana’s features on iOS – and even Android, to an extent – are convenient enough to convince the majority of people that it’s worth giving up their native integrated personal assistant.
This isn’t like Microsoft’s other well-performing applications like Office or Skype where they had an overwhelming advantage before an app was even developed, and could easily win over users from both iOS and Android. Cortana, on the other hand, was the last virtual assistant of the main three to launch, and in my experience isn’t inherently better in most ways.
I just don’t see it catching on for iOS users. Not now, and probably not ever. It just seems like a frivolous adventure that won't get very far.
Readers, what are your thoughts on Cortana coming to other platforms? Do you think that this move is best for Microsoft in the long run? Do you prefer what Cortana has to offer over Siri or Google Now? Let us know in the comments below!