An Early Look At Siri For Mac

Here's a preview of what Siri on the Mac will look like. The latest beta of macOS Sierra lets you use Siri for most things that you can do on iOS. In addition, you can search your files, photos, the Web and System Preferences. You can send messages and post to social media. You can save Siri answers to Notifications Center and multitask while Siri is on the screen.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: An Early Look At Siri For Mac.

Hi, this is Gary with On this episode let's take an early look at Siri for Mac OS Sierra.

I'm using the second developer beta of Sierra which should be about the same as the first public beta of Sierra and this is how Siri works, so far.

You've got three main ways you can activate Siri. One is an icon here in the Dock. Another is a button here in the menu bar. A third is to choose a keyboard shortcut. I'll look at the keyboard shortcuts a little later. Right now let's go ahead and use the menu bar icon here.

What's the weather going to be like today? Here's the forecast for today. So Siri seems to work pretty much like it does in iOS. It will definitely answer all the same questions that you can ask it in iOS.

One of the main ways it differs is that you've got the answer here on the right in this little Siri window which you can move around and you can close. You also have these plus buttons next to the answers. So if I wanted to add this answer to my Notification Center I hit the plus button. Under Notifications it adds this little panel here that's got today's weather for my current location.

Now this won't just stay permanently with this. It will update. So if I asked, I assume, for a sports score or stock quote or the weather I now have that in Notifications under today but I've got this thing will automatically update as time goes on.

Another way that Siri differs on the Mac, and this is subtle but very important, is that it doesn't take over the Mac like it takes over an iOS device. So, for instance, I can be here in Safari and surfing the web and I can ask Siri something, What's Apple's stock doing today? Apple is up 67 cents today for 0.70% to $96.61.

So notice I'm still here in Safari, and I can still use Safari, I can even do it while Siri was talking, and I've got basically multitasking here between Siri and Safari. This Siri window will remain on the top. Looks like I can't move it, actually. But it will remain on the right and underneath I can close it. I can use the microphone here to ask Siri more questions. But I don't have to stop working on what I'm working on here. I can, you know, have many windows open and have Siri open at the same time.

You can also drag and drop between Siri and other apps. So I've got Pages open here and say I want to insert into my Pages document some photos. So I can ask Siri to search the web; Search the web for photos of lightning. Here are some images of lightning I found on the web.

So I've got this little grid here of lightning photos. The interesting thing is I can drag and drop from it. So it will be interesting to see what other types of drag and drop actions that will be from the Siri window to other apps. This one is interesting but particularly confusing because where did this image come from. I can click on it to find out but do I actually have the right to use this image in my document. It's hard to say. But as a demonstration of technology here I'm using Siri for something other than just viewing information and dismissing it. Interesting. It will be interesting to see where this goes in the final version of Sierra and then even beyond.

Many of the functions that we have currently in Spotlight, like being able to use natural language search, we will be able to do now through Siri. So, for instance, if I wanted to find some files. I can ask Siri. Show me the last Pages file I worked with. Here you go. Then I could use Show in Finder or I could click on it. I can drag. I can double click on it to open. You can ask for all sorts of different criteria.

You can also search Photos, although I wasn't able to currently get that working. I'm sure that will be working by launch where you can search Photos just like you would inside of Photos but you can ask Siri with Photos not even opened yet.

You can also post to Facebook or Twitter as long as you have your account setup in System Preferences. Just ask Siri to do it. For instance to do Twitter I would just do this; Post to Twitter that I'm having a good day. Here's your tweet ready to send it. So I could respond yes or no or just hit those buttons there. You can tell how easy it is to tweet or post to Facebook with Siri on your Mac.

Of course you can also use this for Messages as well. You can say things like; Send a message to my wife that I'll be home soon. Or you can just start off a message like this; Send a message. To whom should I send your message? My wife. What do you want to say to Debby. I'll be home soon. Here's your message, ready to send it. Okay let me know if there is anything else you need.

Siri also acts as another way into your System Preferences. So you can do things like this; System Preferences Energy Saver.

So I mentioned before Keyboard Shortcuts. There are actually a few settings in Preferences. We can have Siri take us there.
Siri, Preferences. So here you've got, you know, a button to enable it or not. Your Language, your Voice. Same basics as you have in iOS. Whether or not Siri speaks back to you. Which mic to use. Also, Keyboard Shortcut.

So the default here seems to be, currently, Hold Command Space. So Command Space is for Spotlight. So click Command Space brings up Spotlight but if I were to Hold Command Space it brings up Siri. But you can also change that to a good one which is Function Space, the fn key and Space. Or you can customize and choose your own. So you have a lot of options there.

You can also determine whether or not you want this button here in the Menu Bar.

So you've got certain things that you can customize. Of course you need an internet connection to use Siri because Siri, of course, is using Apple servers for all this information it's getting and for translating your voice to the text so that Siri can understand what it is you're saying.

I actually think Siri on the Mac is going to be even more useful than Siri in iOS. Why? Well I don't use Siri on iOS as much as I probably should because when I'm using my iPhone I'm usually around other people. I'm in a public place. I'm with my family. I'm traveling, doing something. So it's awkward to talk to my phone and very often it's noisy around me so to be able to use Siri can be difficult. However, on my Mac I'm usually sitting in my office alone and it's quiet. So it is very easy for me to use Siri there. It's usually when my phone is in my pocket, or put away, because I'm using my Mac.

So I think I'll end up using Siri a lot more often on my Mac than I do on my iPhone.

Comments: 13 Responses to “An Early Look At Siri For Mac”

    3 years ago

    First colored menu bar icon, nooooo!!! Can you use “Hey Siri”?

    3 years ago

    Chris: Doesn’t look like Hey Siri is an option yet. Maybe before the final release.

    Eran Livne
    3 years ago

    I can only assume ‘Hey Siri’ will be a feature only available to new macs, Apple will find a reason to rationalise it :(

    Michael van der Wilden
    3 years ago

    Hi gary,

    When Siri is waiting for a response, please also note that the fan in the Apple Macbook (Pro) is stopping and also the video’s (Youtube, and others) are muted, in order to prevent noise background. Once Siri received your response, the fan is back on and the video’s will be un-muted again.

    Thanks for the great videos!

    3 years ago

    Will Siri ever automatically detect, understand and respond in as many languages as you have installed on your iPhone/iPad?

    3 years ago

    Dinorah: I think you need to set the language first, and then use that language. You can change it easily.

    3 years ago

    Hi Gary
    I have Sierra version 10.12 beta. Siri is the only thing that is not working at all. Anything I ask results in the reply: “Sorry, something’s gone wrong. Can you try that again.” Do you have any suggestions on how I can make it work? I did report it to Apple through Feedback Assistant.

    3 years ago

    Nick: Sorry, no idea what it could be.

    3 years ago

    Thanks for the reply Gary. FYI, just discovered by changing Siri language to English (United Kingdom) and then back to English (US) it works perfectly.

    3 years ago

    Hi Gary. Do you know if Siri will work on my mid 2010 iMac when I upgrade to Sierra

    3 years ago

    David: It should. Apple hasn’t said anything about it working for some computer and not others. As long as you can upgrade to Sierra, it should have Siri.

    3 years ago

    Thx 😉

    John Stires
    3 years ago

    Quick note for @David, I have a mid 2010 MBP using OS X 10.12 and Siri is up, running and magnificent. I agree with Gary’s assertion that Siri will be even more useful on computers than iPhones. It seems only to be limited by MY imagination (so far, at least–with some obvious limitations.) Thanks Gary.

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