When it comes to using a phone, as much as I can't wait for the future to come along and completely revolutionize the way I use my gadgets, I'll concede that I'm "old school." I would always rather actually touch my phone, type something out, or scroll through pages with my thumb than use some different input method. Maybe that means I'm actually not all that ready for the future. Or, maybe it's because I've never used something that's all that interesting, interactive, or advanced. That is, until now.
I've used voice actions on phones before. I've been using voice-inspired actions on a phone since voice dialing was introduced. They're cool, don't get me wrong, but up until recently they've done nothing for me. Even when Android was introduced to Voice Actions, they were still just relatively bland. I used them for a little while, and then I just went back to touching my phone, and finding what I needed that way.
But, much to my surprise, that has all changed now that I've used Siri. I've been on the fence with the new feature, which is an exclusive one to Apple's recently released iPhone 4S. And by on the fence, I mean that I was entirely decided that it was a gimmick and nothing more, yet completely understood why it was solely available on Apple's latest phone. I got it, but I still didn't see a use for it.
But now that I've used it I honestly can't stop. And, like I said above, this is completely unlike me. I'm a fan of actually using my phone as a direct device for input. Pushing and holding a button to activate a feature that will let me talk to it seemed pointless. But, it's the fact that Apple's Siri goes above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to a Voice Action. It isn't just a dummy feature that lets you talk to it, and does what you tell it. No, Siri encompasses something that touches that Science-Fiction fan inside me, in so far that it talks back to me.
Even if it's just something as simple as telling me that it will "remind me" to do something at some point, or giving me a brief answer to a question. These things are amplified and glorified by the fact that Siri actually interacts with you, and doesn't just take a command and run with it. It will do what you ask of it, but it shows a bit of fabricated personality in the process, too.
Sure, there are limitations. I still think it's strange that I can't open applications with Siri, even first party apps already on the phone. But, after figuring out the things that Siri can't do, it's all about the fun you have while utilizing the skills that the personal assistant does have.
Because Siri isn't just about reminding you, or telling you the weather. It's about the functionality and fact that, if you really want to, you can actually talk to your phone. Apple has shown us that our phone isn't just a tool, but that in the year 2011 (and moving forward), it's already a device that can have something like a personality and depth, and we can interact with it in a whole new way. Yes, it is perfectly possible to continue to think of Siri as a gimmick and nothing more, but I think if you go out of your way to use it, and try to utilize all the functionality that Siri has, you'll understand what Apple intended, and how it all makes sense.
Yes, I do still think that Apple should release Siri for the iPhone 4 this year, because I think those people out there who didn't want to pick up an iPhone 4S, or couldn't pick one up, should be able to use the personal assistant. I think when more people can use it, then it won't be such a "gimmick" anymore. For me, Siri has moved on. It isn't just some stupid Voice Action dummy feature anymore. It isn't even just a gimmick in my eyes anymore. Siri has become a part of my every day usage, and I don't see it stopping anytime soon.