Siri is helpful when you want to schedule a reminder or look at the forecast, but wouldn’t it be better to have a bona fide Jeopardy! champ in your pocket? IBM is trying to figure out how to bring the power of its superbrainy Watson to smartphones, helping people answer far more complex questions.
One of the smaller rumors going around about today's Apple event predicts that Apple will release a new version of its little black set-top box, Apple TV. A sub-rumor suggests that this Apple TV might incorporate Siri, Apple's voice-command Lady of Wonder. Siri on Apple TV could legitimately be the first alternative way to control your TV that isn't actually worse than a black plastic stick with buttons on it.
When Siri debuted last October, it became the most intuitive voice-recognition software available. But Siri is more than just a speech-control app; it is a complete, artificially intelligent user interface. What Apple calls its "personal assistant" requires no programming and continually improves with use, as remote servers back up its ever-expanding vocabulary and understanding of natural conversation.
Developer Brandon Fiquett is one of the first to hack Siri, Apple's new voice command feature that we have previously insisted is for your mom. But maybe not, given what this hack indicates is possible: Siri can be hacked to communicate with just about anything, and in this case has been persuaded to start a car with a simple voice command.
People wanted an iPhone 5. A top-secret new phone to deliver previously unknown pleasures, and to cast the 16-month-old iPhone 4 into the rubbish heap of planned obsolescence.
But the news on October 4, coming just a day before Steve Jobs's death, was a reminder that not every Apple announcement blows off the roof. So here's the 4S--faster, Sprint-ier, with a better camera to see the world, and Siri, the voice-recognition assistant to better listen to it. And the proverbial question: is it worth an upgrade?
Predicting the future of technology is often a shot in the dark. But every once in awhile, the complex evolution of tech gives us something that actually fulfills the starry-eyed dreams of years or decades before. And as we look back at the incredible achievements of Steve Jobs, you quickly see that, more than any other single innovator, he was responsible for so many of today's real-life consummations of past predictions.
Apple's iPhone 4S announcement yesterday was somewhat anticlimactic save the incorporation of Siri, a voice-command application that is now integrated deeply into Apple's new iOS 5 and allows users to ask their phones questions and give them commands in natural language. And if that kind of voice recognition and command sounds somewhat familiar to you technophiles, it should. Siri is the indirect spawn of DARPA, Danger Room reports, envisioned to help military commanders organize their data and otherwise make sense of fast-moving situations.
Voice command has made huge strides in recent years, especially in the mobile space--Google has implemented voice search and some basic commands into Android, and now Apple has integrated Siri, a voice-command app, deeply into the guts of the iPhone.
Talking not just to, but with our computers has always been a tantalizing, futuristic idea--not least for its radical potential to make applications more fully accessible to the disabled.But as we were discussing voice control at PopSci HQ yesterday in light of Apple's news, we realized something interesting: while none of us younger tech types use today's voice control tech regularly, it seems as if our parents actually do use it, and often. Why is that?