Dubai: "You talking to me?"
This classic line from the Hollywood classic Taxi Driver could well be something that Siri, iPhone 4s' magic feature, could throw back at you — and with some attitude — should you annoy it with some corny query.
On the face of it, Siri may seem like just another feature on the blockbuster phone — a voice-activated ‘intelligent assistant' as Apple would like to call it.
But, as experts are slowly realising, Siri could have a much more profound impact on the way we interact with our phones (and other products) as she (it's a part-human, part-robot, but distinctly female voice, guys) gets people talking TO their phone, instead of INTO it.
Till now type and touch (again an iPhone first) were the only practical ways of interacting with phones or computers, but Apple has now brought voice into the equation, shifting the entire dynamics of the industry.
While voice-activated features on phones are nothing new (voice-dialling for example), they were so error-prone and frustrating to use that no one bothered much. Siri could change all that.
Almost uncannily easy to use (check out the videos posted on YouTube), you could be forgiven for thinking Siri to be some kind of uber friend, guide… even philosopher (well sort of… just ask her something like "What is the purpose of life?" and watch the response!)
In one video a guy kept throwing crazy questions like "Siri, who's your daddy?" or "Siri, will you marry me?" and her answers were nothing short of hilarious.
Using logic to voice recognition and text-to-speech, Siri can interpret requests and follow threads, set appointments, reminders, send messages or e-mails, call someone or give directions.
Siri understands what you are saying and, more importantly, the context in which you are saying it.
Setting alarms is a cinch — just say "Wake me up at 8.10," and Siri will do it; Planning a barbeque and wish to know if there will be a sandstorm over the weekend? Just ask Siri. You can even ask Siri to play some rock, or a movie and she will get into the act right away.
That's not all
That's not all. Siri can check stock prices, get weather alerts, find dictionary definitions, measurement conversions, the nearest fast food joint, a hypermarket in your area and much more, all with the natural use of your voice.
No doubt, Siri is still a work in progress — some features, especially location-based services, reportedly don't work in places outside the US and Siri has trouble understanding heavy accents — but these hiccups will surely be ironed out along the way.
Siri's is the first real artificial intelligence working in millions of people's hands. One can easily see how she could become part of our daily lives as she improves over time with each Apple upgrade.
Sure, Steve Jobs may be gone, but in Siri, he managed to leave a lasting impact on how we will interact with our phones for years to come.
Goodbye, Steve. Hello, Siri
PS: I'm planning to ask Siri out for dinner this weekend. do you think she will say yes?
What's new on the new phone
On the face of it the iPhone 4s looks exactly like the iPhone 4, but under cover, there's some awesome new features and additions.
Take the iMessenger that works across iPhones, iPods and iPads for instance. This nifty little addition — Apple hopes — could well be a BBM killer. It's free, works over WiFi or 3G - and it's fast, very fast.
There is new notification area on the top of the screen where all your missed calls, new messages/e-mails, and other events are displayed. iOS 5, which has 200 new features, allows you to wirelessly sync your device over WiFi. The new phone touts a processor that's twice faster than its predecessor and comes seriously close to replacing point and shoot cameras with the snapper going eight-megapixel and improved optics resulting in superb images. The phone also records great videos at 1080p compared to the 720p on the iPhone 4.
Not word yet from du, etisalat
While there's no word from du and etisalat as to when iPhone 4s will be officially available in the UAE, many expect it to land here by December. Apple had recently announced that it will be launching the 4s in 70 more countries before end of year.