Siri: Apple is Failing

I was cycling up Mount Hamilton this morning when my Mom calls to change our lunch plans. Luckily, I still had one earbud so I was able to answer and confirm. After I hung up, I needed to call my girlfriend, Jesse, to update her. My iPhone was in an armband so I couldn’t see the screen or operate it. I couldn’t stop because stopping on a hill meant unclipping not to mention breaking my pace. Siri to the rescue… or so I thought.

Me: Siri, call Jesse.
Siri: Something went wrong, please try again.
Me: Siri. Call.
Siri: Who would you like to call?
Me: Jesse.
Siri: I can’t do that, try again later.

I tried at least 10 times before pulling off the road to do it the old fashion way. I’m not an avid Siri user, except for some comic relief, but this was the one time I really needed it. The tagline on Apple’s marketing page for Siri is “Siri lets you use your voice to send messages, schedule meetings, place phone calls, and more.” It failed gloriously at something it’s primary use case.

It’s been almost 2 years since Siri was released and it still doesn’t deliver on Apple’s initial promise. iOS7 has no announced API for Siri which means for 3 years since inception Siri won’t be expandable.

During the rest of the ride, I was upset that Siri couldn’t help me with basic things in 3rd party apps like

  • Strava, what’s my current distance?
  • Rdio, resume playlist.
  • Clear, add task “Pick up soda”
  • Evernote, add note “new idea, write blog post about how much Siri sucks”

A viable API could be to have apps woken up by Siri, similar to a push notification, with specified keywords. Apps respond with text for Siri to say along with a card for Siri to display. iOS7 already allows apps to be woken up to respond to notifications.

The next step for Siri seems to be “iOS in the car” with heavy Siri integration. If Apple releases an iWatch, you can bet there will be Siri integration. However with Siri’s current state of ineptitude I don’t have high hopes for Apple’s voice driven future.