Shalom, Siri: Apple's Assistant Coming Soon in Hebrew

The advent of a Hebrew version will be a boon for accented Israeli users.

A customer demonstrates the Siri function on an Apple Inc. iPhone 4S smartphone outside the company's store at Covent Garden in London, U.K., on Friday, Oct. 14, 2011.
Bloomberg

In the beginning, there was Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant invented by Apple and envied by every other software maker in town. Now available in 30 languages and counting, from next month Israelis will be able to talk with her in Hebrew. Or Malay, or Finnish, if they choose – both are being launched at the same time.

The Hebrew version of Siri comes with the new iOS 9.3 operating system, which isn't on the market yet, for developers received the beta version yesterday, according to the Hebrew press.

The Hebraic Siri (an abbreviation for "Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface") cannot support Maps queries, reportedly. But as it's a beta version now, possibly the final version can do that.

queries on Apple’s navigation app, Maps, but will be able to answer general questions. As this is a beta version, the one ultimately released to the general public could have more features. Malay and Finnish will also be supported in the new version. Siri currently supports more than 30 languages.

The advent of a Hebrew version is a boon for accented Israeli users. English has 26 letters, Hebrew has only 22 and the non-familiar might be surprised how few they have in common.

Siri has been controversial since her launch, with many complaining that she often fails to understand what she's told, and her jokes are trite.