Report: Apple is working on a Google Now competitor

iOS' Today screen

When it first came out, Siri looked like the future. You could actually talk to your phone, and it would talk back. Apple improved it substantially with subsequent updates, but then soon, it started to feel a little long in the tooth.

In the last few updates, Apple has been focusing on Interface upgrades, performance improvements and other features, and has neglected its Virtual Assistant.

Now, Siri doesn’t seem good against a slew of new competitors, including Google Now and Cortana, which do much more than Siri. They give users the information they need even before they ask for it. They do this by digging into every bit of information they can find about the user, through his/her emails, calendars, browsing history, etc and turning it into useful data to refer to in the future. Then, they surface these data when it is relevant.

Apple seems to be noticing this new competition, and according to 9to5Mac, is working on a Google-Now competitor. The information would be presented on a revamped Spotlight Screen, which would recoccupy its pre-iOS 7 position as the screen before the first page of Apps.

Apple’s implementation would be called Proactive. It would dig into your calendar, your mails, applications and other sources of data to surface the right data at the right time.

It would be contextually aware, and it would give App Shortcuts at a specific time, after it learns what apps you use usually at that time of the day. It would also give information on nearby Restaurants at your usual meal times.

Similar to Now, Apple Maps will also feature something called Browse Around Me, to give you information on restaurants, shops, etc. This is achieved by pointing your Camera towards the building, and using augmented reality wizardry, Apple will be able to give you more information.

There is a possibility that it won’t come with iOS 9, since iOS 9 is more about battery improvements and performance enhancements. Still, don’t count it out, as Apple may mention it at WWDC, which is taking place on June 8.

What do you think? Can Apple convince users to stop using Now?

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