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!”