Written by Amanda Green:
When the iPhone 4S hit the shelves of retailers, one of the main reasons to upgrade was the promise of a voice-activated artificial intelligence service called Siri. While there are several other improvements with the device, such as a better camera, faster processor, and increased networking options, Siri has fell flat with many users and doesn’t seem like that big of a deal when you actually use it.
Siri was supposed to be the hallmark of the new iPhone 4s and the reason those who wouldn’t have upgraded chose to purchase a brand new $600 phone. While claims of being an automated personal assistant were abundant, the service has amounted to little more than a reverse phone lookup device. Instead of using Siri for voice activation, people are still relying on more traditional methods while performing mobile searches.
Siri has recently come under fire with women’s rights groups for not locating reproductive health centers around the country. Some are saying that this is a ploy by right wing activists in order to deny the rights of women. Think Progress claims that this happens because Siri’s search feature uses a privatized option instead of the open search structure that sites like Google employ. While Apple may not be behind this information lock, third party providers like Wolfram Alpha answer-engine may have a role in it.
While Apple isn’t doing that much to improve Siri, programmers and developers are taking the application into their own hands. Just like the Microsoft Kinect has seen a recent wave of hackers, so has Siri. While Microsoft somewhat encourages modifications, Apple has always been a strict master of their information materials and voids the warranty of anyone who decides to break into their phone’s internals.
The real improvements will start to come out of Siri when people start using it more. While it is not offered on the iPhone 4, when more people start to upgrade they will give the database of information more material to work with. It is highly unlikely that consumers will lose faith in Apple because of the lack of features in Siri, but it is a blow to the egos of their rabid fan base.