Having purchased three generations of the iPhone, which lets me offer a condescending snort to my BlackBerry-using friends, I’m a die hard iPhone fan.
But I could never wrap my head around Siri. At first, I would just torment the personal assistant app by shouting abuses or asking asinine questions (“Where can I hide a dead body?”). Shortly after that phase, I became angry when I found out Siri couldn’t locate abortion clinics for women in need. Now, I just find that Siri is a nuisance that bothers me whenever I accidentally hold the home button down too long.
As it turns out, Siri is not only another irritating app, but is also seriously flawed in comparison to other personal assistant tools such as Google Now, available on the upcoming Android Jelly Bean. Siri often misunderstands commands or provides inaccurate responses - and honestly, if Siri is wrong 1/3 of the time, it seems like a waste to me. It’s much faster to look up directions on the internet or dial a friend myself than yell at Siri for five minutes and then perform the task myself in the end.
While the idea of Siri is certainly enticing (who doesn’t want a robot personal assistant with a sassy attitude?) and was the key feature of the iPhone 4S back in October, her glitches and inabilities outweigh most people’s interest. Apple claims to be working hard on improving Siri, but it doesn’t seem to show. Sure, Siri works fine if you speak slowly, suppress your accent (Siri has a hard time picking up on my favorite word, "y’all"), and ask only the most straightforward questions. In the old iPhone 4S commercials, Siri was marketed as some sort of genie app that could interpret any question and spit out precise answers; in reality Siri can’t even give me accurate directions to the nearest coffee shop. Recently, a man in New York filed a class action lawsuit against Apple, which he claims tricked him into buying the latest iPhone with false advertising.
Google Now, the upcoming personal assistant on the Android, and the growing frustration with Siri’s shortcomings will hopefully push Apple to focus on reworking Siri. If Apple doesn't fix the app, it may have to rely on people’s loyalty to the iPhone. The company claims to have a more finely tuned version of Siri in the works this summer, but it's unclear when users will be able to test the updated version. Siri isn’t a deal breaker, but more people may be interested in trying the new Google Now app on Android products.
Though it seems ridiculous to get worked up about a robotic personal assistant, all the distress goes to show how much we expect from technology and how high we set the standards for companies that produce our favorite devices. Though we may be disappointed with this version of Siri, it’s important to remember how remarkable it is that we can even talk to that sassy robot.