Siri is a voice recognition system on the iPhone 4s that is nothing short of revolutionary. Pressing the home button, and keeping it depressed for a few moments, activates the feature. “What can I help you with?” appears at the base of the screen, over a flashing microphone. Dictate a question or request, and then the magic begins.
“Wake me up tomorrow at 7:00 a.m.,” will result in your iPhone’s alarm being set, and a reassuring voice telling you, “Okay; I’ve set the alarm for 7:00 a.m. tomorrow.” “Note that I advanced $34.00 for lunch with Charity,” will result in a note entry in your Notes application stating exactly that. “Remind me Thursday to file the motion in Riley” will yield a reminder to that effect, like a text message, when you open your iPhone Thursday morning. Tracking time, expenses, and spontaneous to-do demands becomes easy.
And these are simply the basics. Siri will read your text messages on demand. Siri accepts dictated texts or email messages, and will find the appropriate recipient from your contact list. Productivity gets a real shot in the arm.
Remarkably, Siri will find information for you, often ridiculously obscure, using the web, Wikipedia, and other sources. Calculating the number of days between two dates is child’s play – try your birthday and today’s date for an interesting piece of trivia. “What airline flights are overhead?” will use your GPS to identify and list all commercial flights with a twenty (20) miles radius. “What’s the scientific name for a mountain lion?” will generate the information.
Although these latter functions are more entertaining than necessarily useful, it is handy to have a pocket “genius” who can find answers in a flash, especially upon an oral command while driving a car. Siri permits a great deal of communication by voice command; especially useful while driving. The reminder, calendaring, and note taking functions are addictive. If you have the iPhone 4s, be sure wake up your resident personal assistant!
John Upchurch is a principal mediator at the firm of Upchurch, Watson, White and Max. For more information visit John Upchurch's biography.