Microsoft’s Cortana launched for iOS, will have limited features as compared to Windows Phone version

Microsoft today launched a private beta program for Cortana on iOS. It describes the Cortana app as a “companion to your Windows 10 PC” that extends Cortana’s functionality across to your mobile device, allowing you to use the digital assistant on the go.

After being tested intensively by company employees for six months, Microsoft wants to get more feedback on Cortana from those participating in the Windows Insider program before rolling it out to users in the store.

“In the spirit of the Windows Insider Program, we’re looking for a limited number of people to get their hands on an early version of the app. It’s important to keep in mind that this is the first public release of the Cortana for iOS beta,” the company said in an announcement on its Community forums.

“We want help from our Windows Insiders to make sure she’s a great personal assistant on iOS too,” says Microsoft, adding that it’s looking for a limited number of people who will get their hands on an early version of the Cortana for iPhone app.

The company is now taking sign ups for Cortana for iPhone and initially it will be only offered to those in the United States and China. In the coming months, the company promises to provide frequent updates to ensure that it significantly improves its performance before it is rolled out to the public.

As far as looks go, Cortana on Android isn’t all that different from the PC version. You can send emails, set reminders, schedule events, search the web, track flights and do the usual voice-powered searches Cortana has long been able to handle on other platforms.

However, you may not be able to just say “Hey Cortana” (Microsoft’s version of “OK Google”) to start the app for the time being, as Cortana doesn’t have full access to your Android phone. You also won’t be able to open apps from Cortana or toggle settings. All of these features are currently only available on Windows 10 PCs.

Those users who are interested in getting a chance to take Cortana for iPhone for a spin will first need to fill out a survey before being allowed to sign up. Microsoft says it will begin sending out download links over email “in the coming weeks” but that it will be starting with a limited number of testers.

While a public beta of Cortana for Android was launched in August, Microsoft has yet to reveal when it plans to release the Android and iOS versions out of beta.

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