Why there's a chance that Siri will change the mobile marketEvan Selleck - Contributing Editor
Taylor asked a good question yesterday. And to be honest, I wasn’t surprised with the comments. When it comes to features on a device, people are going to be one-sided with it just as they are with everything else. Is Siri an outstanding feature, or just a novelty? That’s something we could talk about for another year, up until the release of the next iPhone and its brand new, exclusive features. But, while I may not personally think Siri holds a place in my day-to-day life, I do think it’s going to change the game.
As it stands right now, the iPhone 4S is so new that the Siri feature is still something to be talked about. Right now the conversation isn’t about how deep Siri goes, or how far its functionality spans. Sure, we’re starting to touch on that a bit, but it just hasn’t been available long enough for anyone to really get into any detail. Right now, it’s just about the “cool new thing,” and “look at what it can do!” more than anything else. And that’s the way it should be with a cool new feature. Time will go on, and people will keep writing.
Actually, that’s how we will be able to tell if Siri makes any bit of a difference in the market. Right now, Siri’s all the rage because it’s the exclusive software feature within iOS 5 that the iPhone 4S has over the iPhone 4 (or anything later than that). So we can’t really judge whether or not Siri is a novelty feature, or something that will change the world of the mobile market. But, just as I mentioned above, Taylor’s question is sound, because we can talk about what we think might happen. And, as it stands right now, I think Siri is in a perfect position to really change things.
I’ve got a couple folks that I talk to regularly that believe the same thing, and that’s actually what got me thinking about it. I mentioned above that I, personally, don’t think Siri will ever make a dent in my personal life, or my daily routine. However, after talking to these people, and the tenacity that they displayed when talking about Siri and how they can’t wait to use it, I’m wondering if this is the majority’s standpoint on the new feature, or the minority. Out of the four people, only one of them actually uses the already present voice functionality on the iPhone 4, while the others don’t use it at all. And while Siri is obviously a bit more complex than just simple “text so-and-so,” or “find this place,” I was beginning to think that voice-action users would be a natural fit for Siri’s evolutionary state.
But, that’s not the case. People that have never used voice actions are actually excited to put Siri into their daily routine. And I think that while the technology is great, even if slightly creepy that we’re now having quasi-conversations with our phones, this is still surprising. There were applications like Siri out there in the App Store already, but obviously Siri is now taking up the lion’s share of attention. And I think that has more to do with the fact that it’s an Apple creation more than anything else. If this was just an app that was released into the App Store, there’s a strong chance that it would just fade away, finding plenty of downloads but never the spotlight in such a fashion.
And that’s exactly why I think Siri will change the game. Because people want it, and it’s obvious that people want it. There were a boat-load of pre-orders for the iPhone 4S, and we all know that it wasn’t just because of the hardware (right?). So Siri is playing a big part of this, and we can’t ignore that. I think it’s going to change the game because manufacturers like HTC, Samsung and LG aren’t going to be able to ignore this. What they do after this is anyone’s guess, but obviously Google will have an answer to Siri at some point in the future. (If they don’t already have one planned for the unveiling of Ice Cream Sandwich.) This is a major feature that Apple is pushing, will continue to push, and that people want to get their hands on – everyone else isn’t going to ignore this. And that’s why it’s going to change things.
Whether or not Siri truly deserves to change the game is up for discussion, and maybe that’s something we’ll discuss at a later date. But it is going to certainly be an interesting state to our mobile phone market in 2012, that’s for sure.