Much has been changing in the land of Cortana through 2018, and not much of it has been positive. From Microsoft ushering in Amazon Alexa as direct competition to putting the assistant on a business-focused path, there have been a lot of distractions. For users who just want to get back to basics, a new and important update has landed for Cortana on iOS.
The beta version of the app Microsoft launched last month has now officially arrived on iPhones and iPads. If you're unfamiliar with this update, it's a significant one. Firstly, it bumps Cortana to version 3.0 on Apple's mobile OS. Secondly, it brings with it a noticeable redesign of the virtual assistant.
It's always good to get a new UI experience, even if that fresh paint smell does not always last (here's looking at you Skype).
In terms of the new interface, Microsoft has opted to streamline Cortana with a single tab labelled “Upcoming”. As this name suggests, the tab is for upcoming events you have scheduled during your day. To access other features like lists or reminders, you will now have to select a slide-in menu from the right.
We will need some time to know if we like this approach, but on the surface the new design seems cleaner and more efficient.
Version 3.0 of Cortana for iOS comes with some other new abilities. For example, Microsoft has boosted the “conversational experiences” of the assistant. Furthermore, users can now listen to audio content and set up other Cortana-compatible devices, such as smart home hardware or the upcoming Surface Headphones.
Elsewhere, Microsoft has improved integration with apps such as Skype or Teams meetings. Other improvements have been made across Cortana in reminders, to-dos, calendar, and emails.
Cortana 3.0 is available from the App Store here.