We were the first ones at the Palo Alto Apple Store to walk out with an iPhone 4S and we just had to show it off to you dear readers. I’m sure you’ve seen the unboxing now and know the specs but let’s take a deep dive into the Siri voice-control personal assistant.
While the previous version had been running on the iPhone 4S, the new one will be exclusive to the iPhone 4S. To launch Siri, you simply hold down the home button and wait for your turn to speak. What can you tell it to do? Well, you can use your voice to dictate and send texts and e-mails, set your alarms or create a new reminder, have it read out texts to you or even schedule appointments. It’s smart enough to know if your appointment conflicts with something already in your calendar and it will warn you of the conflict.
It’s not just tasks though, as you can naturally speak with Siri to find out all sorts of information. If you want to know what the weather or traffic is like, just ask it and it does a good job of determining your location and figuring out the right data to display. It plugs into Yelp to display information about restaurants and Wolfram Alpha provides it with more general knowledge questions like figuring out how many ounces are in a liter.
Apple has said that Siri is still in beta and that’s a bit different than what Apple normally likes to do. It definitely doesn’t feel completely where Apple wants it to be yet – the voice recognition doesn’t always work correctly, it’s more natural language than Android’s equivalent but you still have to alter your language to get it to work efficiently and it can’t read information from the likes of Yelp or Wolfram Alpha out loud so you’re still looking at your screen an awful lot.
With that said, Siri is an interesting push into making voice a stronger part of how we interact with our computing devices and Apple has a way of mainstreaming technologies. I need to spend much more time with Siri but watch the video below and let us know what you think.