Siri Is For Your Mom

As I watched the iPhone 4S and Siri announcement today, I was reminded 3 years ago when Siri was kind enough to drop by the AdMob offices. They came by to demo and get feedback on their app. At the time I was impressed with the technology but I could never envision myself using it.

In the past couple years, since switching to Android, the only use case I have for voice actions is sending a text while driving. However, Apple thinks Siri is cool, $200 million cool. Cool enough to make it a marquee feature of the iPhone 4S. Why?

Then it dawned on me. Siri is not for me (or you). Siri is for your Mom.

Go take a look at the iPhone 4S Siri feature page. For every task that you can ask Siri to do, a techy can do faster with a UI. Need to find a Greek restaurant in Palo Alto. Open up Yelp, type in Greek and you’re done. Need a location gated reminder for when you arrive home? Tap the reminders app, location gate a new reminder, done. What time is it in Paris? Google search “time Paris”.

Now think of your Mom, or some other non-techy in your life. Could they answer the same questions or complete the same tasks? That’s where Siri comes in. In plain English, anybody can now unlock the full magical potential of the iPhone. Apple’s goal is to sell an iPhone to everybody on the planet. Making it easier to use is the best way to accomplish this goal.

I do look forward to Siri’s promise of being your own personal HAL 9000. I just think it’s going to be delivered in two or three generations.