Recently I broke down and bought myself an iPhone 4S. One of the biggest features of the iPhone 4S is a talented assistant called Siri. She is a humorous assistant with some quirks and oddities, but over all, she’s got a great personality, is fun to talk to, and she helps me get stuff done. Apple has made a couple of commercials about Siri; one shows a guy running while talking to Siri to schedule a meeting — but who really talks to their phone while out on a run?
This got me thinking about how everyone — including me — would actually be using Siri when getting the iPhone 4S. Once you get the iPhone 4S, we all know that you’ll be playing around with it and asking it silly questions. After the novelty of Siri has worn off and you’re ready to use it for things of a serious nature, here are some ways to use Siri in everyday life.
Siri, wake me up. I, like everyone else, hates navigating in their phone and setting up alarms to wake them up. Siri has taken the pain out of setting the alarms and she’s quite skilled at it. You can tell her to wake you up after so many minutes. For example: Say “Siri, wake me up in 30 minutes.” She’ll set an alarm that will go off for you in 30 minutes; this is great for power naps. Alternatively, you can also tell her a specific time to wake up — for example: “Siri, wake me up at 7 am” — which is great for morning alarms. Siri can also pick up on other keywords, too. Tell her to set a timer or set the alarm and she’ll respond appropriately.
Siri, remind me to do something every day. Siri is great for setting daily events that need to be done at a certain time every day, such as: “Siri, remind me to take my vitamins every day at 8 am.” This sounds a little like micromanagement, but for common tasks it can keep you on a schedule and keep you moving throughout the day. You can set many different tasks to happen in a single day to keep you on task and not dragging behind.
Siri, what is the weather like today? Before leaving the house, you can be prepared for the day ahead and dress accordingly for what the weather looks like. Without going to a window or even looking at the local news on the TV, you can stand in the closet in your PJs and be ready for the day ahead.
Siri, find me some coffee. As you’re running out the door to work and need your daily cup of Joe that you didn’t have enough time to make, you can ask Siri to find you coffee shops and get your Starbucks for the day. This doesn’t just work on coffee, but nearly every item that you can think of — Siri will even tell you, discreetly, where to hide a dead body.
Siri, send a text to… With many states passing laws to ban texting and driving, Siri can text for you without the need for tapping a single letter on a virtual keyboard. Siri’s amazing voice recognition is practically perfect when texting someone. Granted, it can look a little weird telling your phone to do something for you, but Siri is happy to do so and quite capable. I’ve used her services many times to text my family when I’m in the car. As an added bonus she’ll even read you your texts if you ask nicely.
Siri, how do I get to downtown Seattle? When typing can take too long and you’re already on the road, Siri can find you directions from where you are to where you need to go without having to input an address or directions. Just tell Siri where you want to go by address or cross streets and she’ll show you a map of how to get there. I personally used this recently when I was coming out of an unfamiliar airport and I needed to find the way to a highway.
Siri, play me some Beatles. Finding and playing music that you like can get tedious with all the navigating through the Music app and making a decision to what you want. By telling Siri what you want to listen to by artist, song, or playlist, she’ll do that for you. It comes in handy when you have your phone plugged into your car and you want to switch songs but keep your eyes on the road.
Siri, remind me when I leave here to pick up some milk. Siri is great for setting reminders when you leave a location. Say that you’re at work and you need to pick up milk on the way home. Tell Siri to remind you when you leave your location and she’ll set a GPS barrier; when you leave it, she’ll buzz and remind you of what you need to do when you leave that location. She can also remind you of something when you get back to a location. For example, you can remind her to file an expense report when you get back home after a trip.
Siri, solve this. Not only can Siri be a powerful assistant with operations on your phone, but she is enhanced with the power of Wolfram Alpha, a computational knowledge engine, that knows everything from how many calories are in that doughnut you’re eating to what the probability of 12 heads and eight tails will show up. It’s simple to query that by just asking a question to her.
Siri, send Twitter a message. Even though Twitter is integrated into iOS 5, it isn’t a part of Siri — but there’s a simple way to get around this. By adding Twitter’s text message code into a contact in your address book, you can have Siri text that contact and, in reality, she is tweeting for you.
Siri is a powerful tool that I’ve gotten so much use out of. She’s quick and can do most things that are asked of her. If she doesn’t have an answer to a question or can’t directly help, she’ll pull up a Google page to search for you.
Do you have an iPhone 4S? If so, what use have you gotten out of Siri — and what is the best thing about her?