Siri, Alexa, and so many other virtual assistants – it is nothing less than a war zone out there. When the iPhone 4S came with Siri, little did we know that this virtual assistant would grow to be so popular. Talking to a phone to place a call or to set a reminder might have looked strange in the past. The convenience Siri offers and the seamless integration across various Apple devices combined with the natural language processing capabilities has made Siri a very popular assistant. But is Siri flawless? Not as of now.
Here are some features where Apple could probably do something to make Siri a better assistant:
- Recognize Different Voices
We cannot deny that there have been a lot of improvements in the voice recognition area. From the time when anyone could activate Siri, the updates that enhanced the voice training feature came as a welcome change. But if Apple could train Siri to recognize different voices, it would be handy addition especially in the HomePod.
- Different Commands for Different Devices
The one thing that most HomePod users have complained about is the problem of the common command “Hey Siri” for all iOS devices. So when you have a HomePod listening, which it is pretty good at, even when you try to use Siri on your iPhone, when you say “Hey Siri” your HomePod answers you. It would be a relief if Apple introduces different commands to activate Siri on different devices in the proximity. Alexa has the wake commands like Computer, Echo and Amazon as of now. Something similar for Siri would be a good inclusion. Till this is done, you would have to lift your phone up to wake it and then give the command.
- Ability To Set Multiple Timers
There are several occasions during the day when you might need multiple timers simultaneously. Siri as of now can only set one timer at one point of time. Allowing Siri to be able to run multiple timers simultaneously would be a good feature to add.
- Offline Mode
Before the advent of virtual voice assistants, some basic voice controlled tasks were possible on the smartphones. But Siri can now be used only when the Apple device is connected to the internet or WiFi. Including an offline mode for some basic tasks would be useful – say when you are driving and would like to control your iPhone hands-free, but with the battery running low you have data turned off!
- Contextual Responses
This is not an essential addition but something that could make Siri smarter. Siri as well the other voice assistants now lack this feature. If you have been conversing with Siri, or any other virtual assistant for that matter, soon after the command is executed the context is not remembered for the next conversation. A contextual response combined with the ability to recognize different voices would make HomePod one of the most relevant smart speakers for the home. So every member of the home would be able to set their own command and when Siri recognizes the voice it also customizes the content and performs the tasks in the corresponding user’s Apple ID.
- Expansion of SiriKit
With every Apple device introduced, there is a tightened Apple ecosystem that is being formed. Allowing Siri to be used for better third party integration would expand the abilities of Siri. And, another limitation is the limited set of domains in which the apps can be developed in order to allow Siri integration. These are additions that would make Siri more developer friendly and even open up more opportunities to help developers explore the AI sector for the apps as well.
These are the aspects that would make Siri a better assistant to use. Besides the above features, it would also be a great thing if Apple soon introduces more options for languages, accents and voices for Siri. And finally, as impossible as it sounds, if Apple makes Siri a standalone app available to be used on other smartphones would expand the reach. This is mainly because we see that voice search is predominantly being used and there are more number of apps that are coming with integrated voice search features. With this growing demand for voice controlled functions, if Siri can be used on non-Apple devices it would make things even more convenient. The limitations that are imposed by the tight Apple ecosystem would also be overcome by this.
While there are many other areas where Siri could be improved on the whole, we would have to wait for Apple to give some information of what 2018 is going to bring for Siri.