Generally, when a new successive device is revealed to world, our innate inclination is to drool over its new hardware or design, but with the recent availability of the iPhone 4S, our attention is placed somewhere else that’s totally unexpected. Siri, Apple’s digital voice assistant service, really managed to pique our interest in our review of the iPhone 4S – mainly because of its awareness in intelligently offering assistance. Grazing lightly on the features of Siri in our review of the iPhone 4S, let’s take a closer in-depth look and see what all the fuss is about surrounding our newfound friend.
Siri, where have you been all my life?
It’s not like that voice recognition services are a new thing in the smartphone world, but we haven’t been exposed to something of this magnitude before. Of course, Android has employed one of the better voice recognition services in recent memory, and it’s deeply ingrained throughout the platform, however, Siri goes beyond the normal scope of things as it attempts to be more human with its interaction. For starters, we love how Siri doesn’t require us to remember key phrases or words to do what we want it to do. And in all honesty, it’s fairly accurate enough in comprehending what we’re saying – though, it’s still not yet 100% perfect with its interpretation.
Reminding us about those futuristic computer systems in movies that are able to interact with people in full fidelity, Siri is already developing into something that’s self-aware – while other services are more static and unilateral with their approach. From being able to know what we’re trying to say and following through on our commands, Siri is on a whole level on its own as it’s able to provide us with relevant results and actions that are pertinent to the topic at hand. Naturally, we’re already dreaming about the possibilities of how Siri will develop over time, but in the meantime, it’s undeniably one of the most inventive things to come at us in a long time.
So what can it do?
Literally, Siri can do just about anything your little mind can think of, but in terms of its most common features, you can do things like placing a phone call, playing a specific song/album, composing text messages, set up an appointment, set up a reminder, get directions, composing an email, get the current weather conditions, look up specific stock quotes, set an alarm, retrieve contact information, find your friends, compose notes, search the web, and ask general questions.
Showing off its “smart” awareness of what we’re trying to ask it, Siri is intelligent enough to retrieve information when we say things like, “what’s the weather like tomorrow in New York City?” Breaking it down, Siri is conscious enough to know what we’re talking about, and provides us the exact information we need to know. Additionally, we adore the focus of having a hands-free experience on the iPhone 4S seeing that Siri is able read and compose text messages. Sure there are some accuracy issues with it understanding our voice, but for the majority of things, we’re content by its tangible operations.
Siri is intelligent enough to retrieve information when we say things like, “what’s the weather like tomorrow in New York City?”
Yet, another cool thing we like about Siri is how it incorporates its location-based features with the Reminders application with iOS 5. For example, we can say something like, “Siri, remind me to call my wife when I leave home after 5:00 PM tomorrow.” Siri is fully aware where we live, and upon the specific time of 5:00 PM the next day, we’re greeted with the reminder that we created. However, it’s not always spot-on in precisely knowing when we leave home – though, the iPhone 4S recommends connecting to a Wi-Fi network for better accuracy. Nevertheless, we’re impressed by Siri’s ability to notify us correctly about our reminders for most occasions.
Lastly, Siri licenses an answer-engine that’s developed by Wolfram Alpha, to provide us with some tangible and relevant answers to our generic, and sometimes wacky questions. To tell you the truth, we’re enamored by the detailed and lengthy statistical information that we’re presented with when we ask Siri things like, “how many calories are there in a pizza?” Furthermore, when we ask for some demographical information, like “what’s the crime rate in San Francisco,” we’re given some of the most copious details about it – even breaking things down to the types of crimes most committed. Finally, Siri is smart enough to relinquish our leash on using use those pesky tip calculators or conversion tools because Siri’s infinite wisdom, is able to perform calculations like tip percentages and conversions.
What’s the bad in it all – not much
Well, besides that it’s not always one-hundred percent guaranteed to comprehend what we’re saying, the only limitation that we see for right now is that it requires a constant data connection – as opposed to having some of its functions accessible locally. Sometimes, we find ourselves waiting a little bit of time for Siri to come up with an answer or execute a command. Still, it’s not bad at all, well, that’s unless the network is completely down for some odd reason.
When Palm first announced webOS and the possibilities of Synergy, we believed at the time that it would become that personal assistant that would be smart enough to know we’re running late for a meeting at work, and actually send messages to those attending the meeting that we’d be late. Obviously, things haven’t panned out as according to plan with Palm, but in all honesty, Siri is exactly what we envisioned Synergy to be back then. Siri is smart, aware, fun, and even humorous at times with its responses, but taking into account what it’s able to do right now, it’s by far the best things to alter the way we interact with our smartphones. To put it lightly, Siri is passionately one inventive new feature that we see doing some magical things as it develops more down the road. In asking Siri “why are you so awesome,” we’re simply given the response of, “I am what I am.” Seriously, it goes to show how nonchalant Siri really is.
Apple iPhone 4S – Siri feature: