Microsoft’s Virtual Assistant, Cortana now Available for iOS

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Looking back at my experience with Windows 10, the newly introduced Microsoft’s virtual assistant that goes by the name Cortana, was one thing I wished I had on my Macbook. Wishes are not horses, they said – but I have some good news – and some bad news too.

The good news is that Microsoft has just release a beta version of Cortana for IOS. The bad news is that only 2000 user can try it – for now.

According to tech blog Warenotice, Microsoft is currently distributing the Cortana for iOS beta to the first round of beta testers—presumably to those who applied for the beta program earlier this month. Warenotice received an invitation to test the app, and published a few screenshots of Cortana running on an iPhone.

The story behind the story: Microsoft has worked hard to bring many of its apps to other platforms like iOS and Android. It’s all part of the”cloud first, mobile first” ethos the company instituted under CEO Satya Nadella. However, as our Jared Newman pointed out, the iOS version won’t be as full-featured as the Windows and Android versions, largely because of the more closed nature of the iOS universe. The iOS version of Cortana won’t have a hands-free mode, for example, so it isn’t a true replacement for Siri.

Only 2000 testers allowed

Unfortunately, not everyone will be able to try the Cortana for iOS beta. Microsoft is using Apple’s TestFlight beta testing system—the one Apple-sanctioned method for distributing public betas on iOS—and it has some limitations. Most notably, TestFlight allows developers to distribute a beta app to only 2000 testers, and as Warenotice points out, app beta periods can run for up to 60 days. In addition, the beta program is only open to users in the US and China.

So if you aren’t one of the lucky few to get in the beta program, you’ll have to wait until the final release of Cortana for iOS to give it a try.

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