Sirious business

It’s probably no secret to anyone who knows me that I am a big fan of Apple. While I recognise there are some legitimate criticisms that could be leveled against them (for instance their approach to security could probably be a little more accepting of the fact that malware exists), I think that, on the whole, they are a great company, making wonderful products that people want to use.

What it’s tempting to forget, in the world where the iPhone and iPad now exist, is just how incredibly innovative Apple is, on a regular basis. The latest iteration of the iPhone garnered a lot of attention (naturally), and some of it was negative – based on the fact that Apple hadn’t called it iPhone 5 (ok, not quite that, but if Apple had called it v5, then maybe the criticisms would have been quieter). However, the people who criticize Apple for the similar form factor etc, have really missed the point. Even the camera being 8megapixels and full 1080p video capable isn’t the ‘main meal’.

What’s really revolutionary, is Siri – the personal assistant. I’ve been playing with Siri since yesterday, when I got the new iPhone 4S, and I have not yet ceased to be amazed by its power and ‘intelligence’. Ask it what the stock price for  Apple is, or what the weather in Hong Kong will be and Siri will be ready with an answer. Say “How about some Italian food?” and she will come up with a list of restaurants in the area that serve that cuisine. You can dictate email, instruct her to send SMS (Send Gerald an SMS saying “Thank you” – and it works), or ask for a reminder or alarm, Siri will know what to do and how to respond. But the most fun thing? She has a sense of humour, as witnessed by the screenshot below.

Siri answers the most important question

I love technology, but I don’t mean I like complexity – just the opposite. I love technology that makes life easier because it is well designed and it ‘just works’. That’s why I love what Apple does, because this seems to be their main rule. Siri is yet another quiet revolution from the Cupertino company. I’m sure we’ll see more, though Steve Jobs was an inspiring figure, he was only one individual, and Apple is a very big company. There are plenty of people there who will want to see his legacy maintained.

5 Responses to “Sirious business”

  1. Martijn says:

    I haven’t tried out Siri (or the iPhone, for that matter) but this sounded to me like something that would seem great during demonstrations but not very useful in practise. No doubt it is fantastic — and her sense of humour is a good thing — but it seems quite ike a solutions looking for a problem. Happy to be proven wrong though.

  2. andi says:

    Actually, it’s really useful – for instance, I just used it to find the local animal shelter, I was walking around a little lost, and just held the phone to my ear and said “where is Coronado animal shelter?” and seconds later, up pops the answer. It’s a time saver – no awkward typing into small boxes (in bright sunshine) on a little screen. It’s much more than that too, I’ve been constantly surprised at how powerful it is. Just like asking someone a question, in completely natural language, and getting the answer.

  3. Martijn says:

    Fair enough. It does sound rather useful the way you describe it. (I have a blackberry, so I’m happy when it just works.)

    Does it only listen to your voice by the way? Or can we have great fun on crowded trains and buses, making other people’s iPhones do all sorts of random things?

  4. andi says:

    I imagine it would listen to any voice, but you have to kind of speak into it – either by holding it to your ear, or pressing the home button and talking. HIgh noise environments might prove tricky. This is pretty funny thouhg http://chzautocowrecks.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/selfdestruct.gif

  5. Martijn says:

    Yes, that was what I had in mind 🙂

    There’s a nice mental image of the botherder of a Siri-controlled iPhone botnet.

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