Apple Retail App Updated, Integration with Siri Included

Apple today released an update for their retail app, which helps users find and purchase Apple’s products in-store. The update at first seems to be fairly uninteresting, though a closer look reveals an interesting tidbit: the app includes direct integration with Siri, which is a first for Apple’s iOS ecosystem. With this new update, it’s possible to ask Siri for pricing information, as well as asking it to help purchase products in-store.

Most interesting is that this new Siri functionality works on older versions of the app: in other words, Siri’s servers where what received an update. It’s unclear what this means – it’s possible that this type of solution will only ever be accessible to Apple, as it isn’t immediately obvious how this would scale. On the other hand, this could be seen as the first public, wide-scale test for some new Siri-based functionality that will be included in a future version of iOS that could potentially offer developers the ability to hook their apps in to the voice-based “personal assistant.” Apple has recently been on somewhat of a tear, releasing new hardware (iPad mini, iPhone 5, and iPad 4), though there are signs, including this, that software development is either on a faster cycle, or that updates will no longer be held back in favor of a large release that takes a year to create.


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