How to Summon Siri on Your iPad
When you first set up the iPad, you have the option of turning on Siri. If you did so, you’re good to go. If you didn’t, tap Settings→General→Siri and flip the switch so that On is showing.
To call Siri into action, press and hold the Home button until you hear a tone and then start talking. Pretty simple, eh? On the right side of the screen, you’ll see a picture of a microphone inside a circle. The question, What can I help you with? appears on the screen.
Siri also responds when you press a button on a Bluetooth headset.
What happens next is up to you. You can ask a wide range of questions or issue voice commands. If you didn’t get your words out fast enough or you were misunderstood, tap the Microphone icon and try again.
Siri relies on voice recognition and artificial intelligence (hers, not yours). She’ll respond in a conversational (if still ever-so slightly robotic) manner. But using Siri isn’t entirely a hands-free experience. Spoken words are supplemented by information on the iPad screen (as you see in the next section).
Just where does Siri get that information? She seeks answers from the web, using sources such as Yelp, Yahoo!, OpenTable, and WolframAlpha, which you can learn more about in the nearby sidebar. She taps into Location Services on the phone.
And Siri on the iPad can open apps — Apple’s own as well as third-party apps. Indeed, from your contacts, Siri might be able to determine who your spouse, co-workers, and friends are, as well as knowing where you live.
You might ask, How do I get home from here? and Siri will fire up Maps to help you on your way. Or you can ask, Find a good Italian restaurant near Barbara’s house, and Siri will serve up a list, sorted by Yelp rating.
Siri requires Internet access. A lot of factors go into her accuracy, including surrounding noises and unfamiliar accents. And you also need to be comfortable with the fact that Apple is recording what you say.