Apple’s latest iOS beta release, under version number 11.2.5, arrived today with support for the company’s new HomePod speaker. More importantly, for those who don’t intend to buy Apple’s $350 Sonos competitor, this newest iOS release is also bringing a Siri-delivered news briefing. Now, iPhone and iPad owners can ask Siri to read the news and get a daily podcast briefing from The Washington Post, which is the default. Other options include Fox News, NPR, and CNN. News of the Siri update was first reported by 9to5Mac and has been confirmed with the public beta release notes out now.
It’s not a huge change, but news briefings have become one of the most basic functions for voice-based artificial intelligence with the rise of Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. Right now, however, asking Siri to read you the news only results in a fixed list of headlines and links copied from Apple’s News app. If you don’t have the News app installed, you just get headlines culled from Safari. So adding a new, more interactive, and multimedia-focused approach to daily news briefings with podcast dictation is certainly a step up for Siri.