When to take Siri Seriously

I’ll like the idea of Siri. I’m still not convinced, notwithstanding the lack of UK data and the usual UX shyness issues – you know – how stupid you look talking to a phone when everyone knows there’s nobody at the other end of the line. It’s so dictaphone, of which I’m sure there must be some app, skeuomorphic as hell.

I’ll take Siri seriously, really seriously, when it can help me with this kind of request:

“Siri, I want to order the Kubrick Blu-ray box set when it includes Dr. Strangelove and Spartacus at a lower price than the incomplete box set currently available on Amazon”.

Siri should respond with “Would you like me to place a conditional order with Amazon right now?”

And when both Siri and Amazon get me what I want, having warned me of its impending arrival, I’ll be a happy man, and probably an iPhone 5 owner. Until that time, I’m going to remain a curious iPhone 4 owner.



iPhone vs Android Antenna

At the RA.ONE premiere at the Greenwich O2 on Tuesday night, my colleague looked unhappy because he was getting no 3G signal on his Samsung Galaxy SII. I showed him my iPhone 4 with its healthy 3G signal. He wasn’t too happy.

Earlier, he had been talking about his pleasure at finally figuring out how to turn off the annoying camera sound on his phone, having delved deeply into his settings. He wasn’t too happy when I pointed out that this was all available instantly, with no menus of any kind on my iPhone.

My friend was gracious though, and I was gentle. I did suggest that his screen was bigger than mine, and that it would be easier to type on such a large screen, but that’s something we’ll have to put to the test another time.

Oh and he had one game on his phone. I have about two dozen and they’re all excellent and were ridiculously easy to find – without having to pile through dross and malware and fakes. I accept that this is a more provocative and possibly less considered point. I am nevertheless happy with my phone and see no reason to change it for anything else for the foreseeable future.

I’m struck with the notion that over a year after its release, the only phone that’s better than an iPhone 4 is an iPhone 4s.

Semantic Auto-Correct

The interesting developments that led to Siri on the iPhone 4s got me thinking – wouldn’t it be great if we had an auto-correct on iOS that was just a little more semantic?

I often type “ate” instead of “are”. If I write “Where ate you?” into a text message, iOS should really know that I mean “are” and not “ate”. It’s not a difficult substitution to make. Who on earth would ever mean to say “Where ate you?”

Then before the upgrade to iOS5, my iPhone insisted on changing “thr” to “Thr” instead of “the”. No matter how many times I dismissed the change, I always got bloody “Thr” as a substitute, whether I liked it or not. And all because I once allowed Thr to stand as a valid correction. It reminds me of Original Sin – the idea that we are still paying for the sins of Adam. A little harsh.

Let’s have better error correction please, because otherwise the iPhone’s only weak point remains that on-screen keyboard on the tiny screen.