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Apple developers are excited to talk with Siri, but aren't sure just how friendly she will be

The move to open up Maps, Siri and iMessage is clearly welcome news, but Apple is known for keeping a tight hold on its operating system.

The Verge

Developers have long wanted deeper access to the iPhone’s inner workings, so the fact that Apple is opening up Siri, Maps and iMessage is clearly welcome news.

But, while eager to integrate their apps, some developers said Monday that they aren’t sure just how open Apple is getting.

The uncertainty stems in part from the fact that Apple didn’t go into a ton of specifics during Monday’s WWDC keynote on just what outside developers will be able to do within iMessage or Siri. The best way of understanding how Apple is opening Siri and iMessage is probably to look at the examples the company offered up onstage.

In the demo, Apple showed using DoorDash within iMessage to work on a group food order and using Siri to dictate a message on WeChat or search through photos on Shutterfly.

There are more possibilities, though. Apple says developers can connect Siri to access messaging and calling apps, book rides, start and pause workouts and make payments. iPhone owners in a CarPlay-equipped vehicle can also control apps via Siri, while automakers can use Siri to handle climate controls or adjust the radio within their own apps.

Still unclear is how Siri will rank requests or decide when multiple services are capable of fulfilling a request. Clearly, phrases such as "Order me an Uber" or "Order me a Lyft" will pull up those services, but what happens when you say "Order me a car?"

Beyond Siri, developers can also plug into Maps and iMessage, as well as Apple’s calling app, allowing services such as WhatsApp and Skype to be used more easily for calling. Apple is also finally letting third-party services offer Caller ID-like functionality to help detect spam calls, something they had long been able to do on Android.

Here’s what some developers told Recode about how they plan to take advantage of a more open Siri.

  • Pinterest says with its integration users will be able to search for ideas that they or others have saved, such as "Hey Siri, find winery Pins on Pinterest near Napa," or "my vegetarian recipe Pins," or "men's fashion ideas on Pinterest." That will launch into the Pinterest app, if it is installed.
  • Square, which was part of Apple’s onstage demo, said it will let users send peer-to-peer payments via Square Cash either using Siri or within an iMessage conversation.
  • Lyft, another company featured prominently onstage on Monday, is working to make it easy to book a ride from both Siri and Apple Maps

"Our work with iOS 10 makes booking a Lyft simpler and more convenient, whether you're asking Siri from across the room or tapping from within Maps," Lyft CTO Chris Lambert told Recode. "It's been great working with Apple's teams on these projects — the APIs are pretty open and flexible, allowing us to focus on the features our passengers want most, like easier ways to request a ride, richer notifications that allow you to coordinate with your driver, and live maps accessible from the lock screen."

  • 500px CEO Andy Yang said he is excited about the ability to use Siri to search for photos. "Combined with the facial and image detection, this could be very cool," he said.

"For iMessage, it's not clear how they are going to open it up," he added.

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