Siri is The Biggest Thing to Hit Any iPhone. Ever. [Opinion, iPhone 4s]

Siri is The Biggest Thing to Hit Any iPhone. Ever. [Opinion, iPhone 4s]

This is it, folks, we’re here: the future. Remember Dave talking to HAL back in Kubrick’s lethargic masterpiece? It’s real.

Ok, maybe not quite — because I’m sure Steve has made certain (yes, this was all created long before Steve stepped down) that your iPhone won’t lock you out of your house or flat-out refuse to do your bidding.

Really, Siri is probably more like the computer aboard the Enterprise; in fact, just like those iPads the Enterprise crew was carrying around 20 years before they actually appeared, this new feature mimics Gene Roddenberry’s vision with an eerie precision. Siri will tell you your location; conduct complex calculations, with the help of Wolfram Alpha; send subspace mes—er, texts; and a whole bunch of other cool things that you might expect from a personal assistant.

A big key to the whole thing is that the system works contextually, allowing you to have an actual conversation with your iPhone; for instance, Apple uses the example that if you’re looking for restaurants in the area and utter the phrase “what about tacos,” Siri will understand you’re looking for a nearby taco joint and not think you’re asking it out on a date.

Yes, assuming it works as claimed, Siri will make it much easier to interact with the phone while driving (even though that’s still an iffy idea), or when your hands are full of cake batter. But there’s a real turning point here, beyond scenarios like those, that will change the fundamental way we interact with devices. Leander Kahney, our fearless leader, is even more excited:

“This is an amazing reason to buy the iPhone 4 — it’s fucking streets ahead of anything else the competitors are doing. It’s an entirely new paradigm. Who cares about the gadget if this is what you can do with it? It really is fucking amazing! I want it — I want it now!”

Can’t wait.

Related
  • Nicole Erika Castellanos

    you say the iphone 4 but do you mean the iphone 4s, with the iphone 4 be getting SIRI with iOS5?

  • BenTenAtl

    Siri really does seem amazing.  I can’t wait to get my hands on it.  :-)

  • russelljsmith

    It’s clever technology and looks great in a demo, but does anyone really see themselves using this much in real life? In a months time will you be standing on a street corner asking your phone OUT-LOUD where you can get a good Kebab nearby? 

    Right now I can only think of two groups of users who may get over the awkwardness of talking to a phone in this way: 1) commuters who drive to work alone and the journey takes more than a few minutes and 2) those with limited dexterity who find it difficult to type (this technology should be amazing for that second group). 

    I don’t fall into either group (fortunately) so while I’m keen to play with this I don’t see it as something I’ll be using everyday or that I really need from a phone. Am I the only one who things this way or am I missing something?

  • Whisky421

    Siri only comes with the 4s. it will not work with 4, even on iOs5.

  • Feldmeister

    Pretty much the only feature the iPhone 4 won’t be getting unfortunately… all to do with the A5 processor I believe.

  • Tom P

    Is this that much different than the Siri App that has been available on the iPhone for years?

  • tomi

    no, you are wrong. this is a cool feature to show to your friends, but this thing will be like FaceTime. It’s awkward talking to your phone, you might do it in your car, or at home. but you definitely won’t do it when you are surrounded by people (most of the time). or do you actually use the voice control function available on all selling iOS devices?

  • Scott P

    Personally, it’s not enough for me to pay $200 for when I already have an iPhone 4.  I like the new specs inside, but I’ll wait until 2012 when we hopefully will get a 4G iPhone that also includes Siri and whatever other amazing things Apple can come up with.

  • ?psq@

    2001 was anything but lethargic

  • ElVox

    I do use the voice control thing…at least for calling (I listen mostly to podcasts, so it’s useless for controlling that)…I use it often at the office, for example…if I’m typing stuff I rather just press the button for a sec and talk than grab the phone, open it, unlock it, open the phone app, search for the contact and tap it…nah, “call wife mobile” is way faster.

  • Cavf88

    So what about the iPad 2?

  • Pop

    Just like iPod or iPhone, think of what it will evolve into, not what it is today. Walk into a room in your home and say “computer what is on tv tonight” is just one small example

  • Tom P

    Ok, now I get it, the FREE Siri app was yanked. All previous users of the app are screwed and must upgrade to the 4S to use it.

  • Dave Stephens

    I don’t care about clever. I don’t care about people seeing me talk on a phone. What DO I care about? The fastest way to get things done. You think clicking on an icon to launch google maps and then clicking in a text box and then typing the word “kebab” (5 clicks) is faster? Because if you think 7 clicks is faster, then you are DEFINITELY “missing something.”

    Seriously. Do the math. HAL is livin’ in your phone. Nothing awkward about doing things faster, and speech is faster than typing… Would you really rather type than talk?

  • Wayne_Luke

    Siri is why I will be buying an iPhone 4S. Disappointed that it wasn’t a full release and expected more after 16 months. Hope Apple isn’t getting complacent. I want the next iPhone to be able to order my favorite meal from my favorite restaurant simply by saying “Order Dinner Delivery”.

  • Wayne_Luke

    I have blind friends and if it works as well as demoed, then I can see a lot of people using Siri. They can’t use the iPhone easily now because there isn’t a lot of aural feedback to actions and they can’t use the software keyboard. I plan on using it. I would love full voice activated computing that worked that smoothly. 

    I just hope they release APIs so apps can plug into it. Then I could be “Siri, set the alarm”, “Siri, disarm the alarm”, “Siri, Unlock the front door”, etc…

  • .02

    How many people will get a silly giggle by asking Siri,  “What about PINK tacos”?

  • BB Caspian

    Crap! Doesn’t work other that English! or Non-English speaking users. I’ll wait for iPhone 5 and be buying those great looking Mango smartphones from Nokia now. They’re great NOW!

  • getjoel

    There are plenty if places on the Internet that will buy your existing iPhone for $200. I sold mine last night for $250. So it doesn’t cost anything to upgrade. I’m actually making an extra $100 to upgrade my wife and I.

  • Jcribbs001

    Same question I had.

  • getjoel

    Siri only had access to the Internet. This will have access to your calendar, your gps, your contacts your iPod, etc.

  • AriRomano

    how do you define “4G”?

  • supertino

    What about early termination fees? You surely cannot be qualified for an upgrade this soon if you have an iPhone 4?

  • davester13

    Um, what Nokia phones with Mango are available now?

    Hell, Nokia is hoping to just announce a phone at the end of this month, shipping approximately “whenever”.

  • Ban Me Again Bitches

    Khaney needs to get a life if this new iPhone makes him run through the streets screaming I fucking want one now.

  • Ban Me Again Bitches

    Hey Cult Of Cunts suck my huge donkey dick bitches

  • Jomo25

    Apple needs to set up a “Try Siri out” service like they did with FaceTime when it first came out. A site that you can visit (or even phone number you can call) and talk to, and try it out. That’ll help sell it, if its as good as they say. Not everyone has an Apple store nearby. And this can be done PRIOR to them being on sale.

  • Dante Fiero

    If you think Siri isn’t streets ahead, you’re streets behind.

  • SillyAmazon

    Talking to Siri is no different than talking to an actual person on speakerphone or in private (headset) for a few seconds. It won’t be awkward at all because it talks back. No one will think you’ve sniffed too much sharpie for talking to an object that won’t talk back. I think people will use this all the time in public. 

  • iDaBoss

    He probably means LTE, which Apple won’t be using, at for a year or two

  • iDaBoss

    meh

  • Rlf330

    What’s with the profanity in this article. I expect higher from Cult of Mac

  • Bob Forsberg

    Siri on all Apple appliances can’t be too far away. IPad 3 & iPod Touch in early 2012?

  • buyrihn_the_amazing

    I went from iPhone OG to iPhone 3G to Palm Pre to HTC EVO to HTC Arrive (Windows 7.5). Just bought the 7.5 Mango phone on the last day of Sprint’s 30 day policy cancellation day in order to test it. In a word? Wonderful. I’ll be taking it back to get an iPhone 4S however—that would NOT be the case if I were able to get the Nokia Windows phones with Mango.

    Honestly? With today’s announcement of Siri on the iPhone 4S, they’ve stepped ahead of Windows Phone 7.5. But not by much. Better hardware on the iPhone, hands down. But stay tuned for Nokia, and watch Android become more of an afterthought.

  • Mike Winters

    No because it doesn’t have 1GB of RAM.

  • Cliff Stabbert

    It’s funny how few commemters around the web – and the market – get that this is It. This is what Steve has been holding on for, the next revolution: the Conversational UI.

    I’d bet good money that

    a) The ‘beta’ designation and the network servers are there in the main to train Siri. You get tons of data on what people are saying and what ‘more’ they wish Siri could understand -where the edges are, where to grow the envelope. (Eventually (?) Siri can probably be ‘explained’ new concepts in plain language, for now that might be a tedious-ish task for some Deep Beta group plus devs.) This training has recently (Steve’s retirement) passed some critical threshold and from hereonout accelerates.

    b) It already can do more – maybe a lot more – than they’ve shown. And of course has a clever response to “Open the pod bay doors, Siri.”

    c) People asking for this on iPad, Lion etc. Don’t Get It. This is Your Personal Assistant – it’s always with you on a smartphone backed up by the cloud. The iPhone can talk to any other BT devices, like, uhm, all your apple gear, and your wifi network. (Maybe they’ll bring it to their other platforms in an interim move to placate the crowd, but ultimately I think that will come to seem backwards. This is the wearable.)

    (maybe) d) Siri can, in fact, process a lot of ‘basic’ stuff locally, or even, say, the current concept base / dictionary, which’ll regularly get updates from the cloud training.

    Me, I’m waiting for “When I X, do Y” e.g., “When I tell you I wanna watch movie X, check Netflix first. If they don’t have it, …” – actually, it’ll already have been taught that one by others, see what I mean? “When I try to call the ex from the bar or after 9pm, make sure I’m real sure” maybe.

  • Joe T

    “Siri is The Biggest Thing to Hit Any iPhone. Ever.”Er yeah.. Except iphone, 3G, 3GS and iphone 4!!!

  • MacGoo

    A lot of the clever messages Siri comes up with may be pulling from Wolfram Alpha. If you ask Wolfram Alpha to open the pod bay doors, the result is here: http://goo.gl/mxSI9. All Siri would have to do is pull the result and use it as the answer.

About the author

Eli MilchmanWhen he was eight, Eli Milchman came home from frolicking in the Veld one day and was given an Atari 400. Since then, his fascination with technology has made him an intrepid early adopter of whatever charming new contraption crosses his path — which explains why he's Cult of Mac's test editor-at-large. He calls San Francisco home, where he works as a journalist and photographer. Eli has contributed to the pages of Wired.com and BIKE Magazine, among others. Hang with him on Twitter.

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