Siri shines as star of Apple's developers conference

Apple WWDC (Nick Estelrich / Newshub.)
Apple WWDC (Nick Estelrich / Newshub.)

"I'm learning some new tricks," Siri told me the night before Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

And sure enough, the virtual voice-controlled personal assistant was one of the stars of today's show.

Siri has made it to the Mac, bringing a new level of functionality to the desktop -- and she's been opened up to third-party developers.

Making developers' apps and app content accessible through Siri voice commands is a long-awaited extension of the assistant's capabilities. 

"Now we'll be able to ask Siri things like, 'send a WeChat to Nancy saying I'll be five minutes late'." says Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice-president of software engineering.

Or you could use Siri to call for a taxi or order a pizza -- the possibilities are vast. 

No Siri speaker yet, but she'll integrate with your smart-home with an overhaul of Apple HomeKit.  If you launch the new Home app you'll get personalised wallpaper and accessories.

"Siri knows how to interact with scenes. In the morning, if you say 'good morning' to Siri, Siri gets the home all ready for you during the day," said Mr Federighi.

It's about time. With devices increasingly controlled by voice, and Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant getting smarter by the day, Siri needed to step up and shine.

Siri shines as star of Apple's developers conference

The scene outside WWDC in San Francisco (Nick Estelrich / Newshub.)

But it's not all about her. There've been major changes to all four of Apple's software platforms.

"We believe that technology should lift humanity, should enrich people's lives in all the ways [they] want to experience it," said Apple CEO Tim Cook, "whether it's on the wrist, living room, on the desk, in the palm of their hand, in the car or even automating their home.

"This is a huge moment for us. Four great platforms that become even more capable with working with all of you."

The WWDC is in its 27th year. Around 5,000 people were crammed into San Francisco's Billy Graham Civic Auditorium, and billions more watched the livestream.

Siri shines as star of Apple's developers conference

(Nick Estelrich / Newshub.)

WWDC is always a less glamorous affair than Apple's product launches but it's really important for developers, and what's announced here sets the scene for the coming year.

It comes off Apple's first quarterly revenue decline in 13 years, so there's hope the announcements will help appease the critics.

Emma Brannam travelled to San Francisco courtesy of Apple.