Microsoft has taken the next step in its development of the Cortana app for iOS. After initially opening up the Cortana for iOS beta testing program earlier this month to invite applications from those wanting to test-drive the new app, the software giant has now started physically distributing the app to those testers.
The Siri and Google Now rival, which has managed to make itself comfortable in all of Microsoft’s Windows 10-powered devices, will soon be available to all using an iPhone and iPad.
The teasing nature of inviting users via Apple’s TestFlight to register for the Cortana iOS beta has finally come good for those who jumped at the chance. Microsoft will have been initially inundated with applications from users in qualifying territories to get involved in testing out what’s being offered with Cortana. It’s currently unknown what internal criteria was laid out for the actual selection of testers based on that initial application list, but it’s now being reported that a handful of those lucky enough to be selected have began receiving emails from Microsoft about the Cortana beta app for iOS.
The received email effectively informs those selected that the initial beta of the app is now available to download and interact with. The first version comes complete with audible controlled assistance, similar to Siri and Google Now. There’s also integration with calendars and scheduling, reminders, and even alarm clock integration via the device. Those who want a little additional complexity are able to track flights in real-time, locate and track packages, get up to date information on financial stocks, and even find the latest sports scores about any provided team or event.
The availability of the Cortana for iOS beta follows approximately three months from the initial unveiling of the Android variant of the same Microsoft Cortana experience. Given Microsoft’s previous correspondence with the developer and testing community, it’s highly likely that Satya Nadella’s company would look favourably upon those who regular interacted with Cortana via that initial Android beta or through one of the many Windows 10-powered devices that are now available on the market. Microsoft would ideally be looking to provide a similar Cortana experience across multiple platforms.
If you signed up for the program, and are excited to see what’s on offer, keep an eye on that email and TestFlight app in the hope that you’re one of the next on the list.