iOS 11.2.5 Beta Lets Siri Play Podcasts When You Ask For News

One of the very first use cases, and probably the first practical use case, of voice-activated virtual personal assistants was speaking the news out loud. Perfect for times when you couldn't even spare a glance at your phone's screen but still want to keep updated with current events. But while almost all AI assistants are capable of that, Siri is getting one new ability in the latest iOS beta: the ability to stream news podcasts instead of just blurting out headlines and summaries.

If you have iOS 11.2.5 beta installed and only iOS 11.2.5 beta, asking Siri about today's news will have a different result depending on the context. The new thing here is that, when there is no display available or visible, it will start to stream podcasts from the Washington Post or, upon request, Fox News, NPR, or CNN.

More than just a new ability, this feature seems to be designed with the still to be launched HomePod in mind. After all, it only works when there is no accessible display, which is exactly what Apple's first smart home speaker is. It is Apple's way of making news consumption more enjoyable on such a screen-less device with limited direct touch controls.

That said, the feature naturally works on iPhones and iPads but only under specific circumstances. In order to trigger the news podcast stream, you'll have to activate Siri by voice or have earphones connected or be in CarPlay mode. In any other condition, like using the home button to start Siri, you'll simply get the old behavior that shows headlines in text.

VIA: 9to5Mac