It’s the knock-out feature of the iPhone 4S, and it’s set to get tongues wagging around the globe on Friday 14th, but so far little is really known about just how well Siri will work in the real world.
The promise is a bold one: real speech input and control, with no need for the robotic learning of commands of the voice control of yesteryear. But will it work as advertised, especially when in a crowded environment?
If a new video from UK magazine Stuff is anything to go by, Apple might just be onto a winner with its new, system-side implementation of voice control and dictation.
The video shows a variety of commands being issued, and carried out, in a rather noisy environment that is believed to be Apple’s Covent Garden Store in London. The video also shows how well the software can recognize and understand a suitably English accent, as well as the new male voice that Apple has chosen for Siri. There’s currently no word as to whether these voices will be selectable in the software’s settings, or whether different regions will get different voices, but we’re all rather hopeful that Apple will some day make downloadable voices a reality, just like Sat Nav devices do.
Also of note is the way Siri knows who a family member is. Telling the device to send an email, SMS or call a spouse or parent results in the software picking the correct contact from your address book, as if by magic. Again, we’ve not seen this for ourselves, but we suspect there will be a setting either for Siri or in individual contacts where users can define an alias. Either that, or Siri’s a little too clever!
Siri will be part of the iPhone 4S which goes on sale this Firday. Offering the impressive voice control as well as beefed up internals such as a dual-core A5 processor, the iPhone 4S controversially keeps the same industrial design as Apple’s iPhone 4. Many in the industry had been hoping for a radical departure from the all glass and metal chassis we have today, with an all-new tear-drop design mooted. Alas, that was not to be the case.
At least we know what to ask for in the iPhone 5, though!