Thursday, October 4, 2012


Siri is one of those things that you either use a lot or not at all. I am on the new phone cycle for Apple, meaning I had a 4 before upgrading to a 5, and am a year late to the Siri party because I didn't own a 4S. I started using the 5 this week, but have been extremely busy and have spent almost no time just playing with the phone.

Yesterday Patty and I were driving around, and we needed to pickup a replacement headlight bulb for our van. The one auto parts store in Lititz had moved to a neighboring town, so we were driving a bit aimlessly looking for something else when Patty said "why don't you use Siri?"

So I hit the button and said "I need an auto parts store" to which Siri replied with 17 nearby options. Yes, there was superfluous information in there, but she did identify a Pep Boys not too far from us. Because of where we were, I asked Siri where a Honda dealer was, and she identified Jones Honda about a mile away. Rather than just drive down there, I said "Call Jones Honda" which she did, and I was able to confirm that the parts counter was closed for the day.

After finishing that I realized that what I had just done was the stuff of science fiction just ten years ago, and inconceivable twenty years ago. Sure, twenty years ago I would have had to dig through the yellow pages to find something, but consider what I would have done without Siri:

(1) I couldn't have done this (safely) while driving
(2) I would have used google maps to search for an auto parts store.
(3) After filtering through the chaff, I would have clicked on one of the dots to find the phone number.
(4) I would click on the phone number and called them.
(5) Repeat the whole process for the Honda dealer.

I did all of that without having to type anything, no need to lookup the phone number and no need to figure out what was closest to me, Siri had already sorted by distance.

The biggest point was that I didn't even think about doing it in the first place. It took my wife, who had seen the commercials, to suggest it. Of course now that I've actually seen how awesome it is, I will do it again. I also had a lengthy text conversation with someone while were driving, entirely by dictation (and having her read the replies). That was pretty cool as well.

Siri may be misunderstood, but when you actually use it, it's pretty amazing.