Siri, Apple's beta voice recognition assistant for iPhone 4S, has gotten a lot of press recently about its snark and humor, but that's not why a lot of us are growing to love this clever bot. For many of us at TUAW, Siri provides a really simple way to accomplish tasks on our iPhones.
Erica Sadun: "Wake me up at 7:15 AM"
Everybody has to wake up at some time in their lives, and Siri makes it so easy to set alarms. You don't have to decide until the last minute, and you don't have to set up complicated repeated schedules. You just tell Siri when you need to wake up tomorrow and the assistant handles the rest. It's so obvious and so simple, and Siri does it so well.
Mike Rose: "Tell my wife I am on my way home."
Not everything in life needs a phone call. A simple message gets the job done, especially when you have an inconsistent schedule. Letting Siri help your spouse know that you're on the way is an easy fix for marital harmony. Bonus: If the person you're trying to contact is an iMessage user, the ping will go out via Apple's free service; if not, it'll go as a conventional SMS alert.
Steve Sande: "What's 1920 divided by three?"
When I need to scale videos, I can just say something like "480*456/640" (480 times 456 divided by 640) and get my answer. Siri means I don't have to start typing everything into a calculator.
Other favorite requests:
- Where is [name of friend]? Siri is savvy about the Find my Friends feature of iOS 5, so you can bypass a lot of tapping and scrolling by simply asking it where your buddy is hanging out -- see the screenshot above, where I tracked down Mike at work. Whether you're trying to meet for lunch or arrange a handoff for critical/secret documents, speed is key.
- Will it be cold tonight? The Siri query parser is smart enough to pick up on relative comparisons when it comes to weather, so if you ask about cold/hot, nice weather, or "do I need a sweater/jacket/umbrella?" it's got you covered.
- Note that I spent $15 on lunch. Right now, you can only use the "note in" syntax to add items to the default Notes application, and it would be even more powerful if you could link to Evernote or Simplenote; still, you can't beat the sheer convenience of getting those tiny tidbits of info recorded with a single tap & chat. (Notes will, of course, sync to your iCloud account.)
- Remind me to buy milk when I leave the office. Geofenced reminders are a great new iOS 5 feature, and Siri understands references to your location just fine. The result: an incredibly fast and easy way to set up location-based alerts that tell you what you need to remember, when you need to remember it.
What are your favorite Siri features? Let us know in the comments.