Each successive generation of the iPhone brought something new to the table and the biggest innovation to accompany the iPhone 4S was the new Siri voice assistant. Siri is a specialized app that allows voice commands and voice-based queries.
What Can Apple Siri Do?
The Siri iPhone app can be used to do many of the things that you would do on your iPhone, all without having to type on the virtual keyboard, open any specific app (aside from Siri itself), or go through any menus. With Siri, all you do is tap on the microphone icon and begin speaking. Siri then interprets your voice input and responds accordingly.
The main benefit of Siri lies with the fact that it is meant to be seamless, voice activiated app - and it does what it is supposed to do very well. Users don't need to type their questions or make their way through complicated menus in order to conduct searches or perform certain operations. With Siri, you are able to talk to your phone in much the same way that you can talk to a regular person. This is thanks to the heavy implementation of natural language processing in Apple's Siri.
Some of the most practical Siri functions include the following:
- Look up information: You can ask Siri questions like, "What is the weather going to be like tomorrow?" Siri would then respond by displaying the weather forecast for your local area. Similarly, Siri can be used to look up nearly anything that is avaialble on the Internet, including movie listings, trivia answers, store phone numbers, and more.
- Create calendar events: The conventional thing to do would be to open the Calendar app on the iPhone and create a new event the manual way. With Siri, you are simply able to tell it a basic command to create a new calendar entry. For instance, you could say, "I have a dentist appointment on October 22nd at 3pm," and Siri should create an entry for the appointment on your calendar.
- Play music: Since Siri integrates and interacts with many of the apps on the iPhone, it is also able to provide you with some control over the default iPod app for listening to music. Rather than searching for a particular song, you can "tell" Siri what to play and she will respond.
- Get directions: For example, you could ask Siri, "How do I drive from here to Madison Square Gardens in New York?" Siri should then direct you to the Maps app and provide the suitable driving directions for you to get to your target destination.
- Send a message: Siri works with both messages and email, so it is able to help you send a message through either app, dictating your message in a speech-to-text manner.
- Make reservations: Do you want to reserve a table at your favorite restaurant? Siri integrates with OpenTable, so it's possible to say something like, "Siri, reserve a table for two at The Western Crab Bake at 6pm tomorrow."
- Get recommendations: Even if what you say to Siri isn't a specific command, it is still able to understand natural language and infer the information that you would like to gain. If you tell Siri that "I feel like watching an action movie tonight," it can then look up movie showtimes in your area and even give you an opportunity to buy the tickets right from within the app.
This is only a small sample of what is possible with Siri on the iPhone, and how using the app can benefit you. It's debatable how useful Siri is, but it definitely represents a unique feature that does not really appear on other smartphones or other similar devices.
Making Life More Convenient
At the end of the day, Siri on iPhone doesn't do anything that you couldn't do without Siri. You could manually enter new calendar events. You could manually look up stock prices or make reservations for dinner. However, the key selling point for the Siri app is that it's meant to make life simpler and more convenient. Simply talk to your iPhone and Siri will do the rest.