I have a great idea for how Apple can spend a couple hundred thousand dollars. They hire a small team whose sole job is adding information to Siri. Right now Siri gets factual data from a 3rd party service like Wolfram Alpha but it is woefully limited in certain areas. The most surprising is that she knows almost nothing about Apple and its products. For example if you ask Siri,”How much does the new iPad Air weigh?" She says to go to Apples website. That is a little ridiculous. Siri should have a huge wealth of knowledge it can draw from to answer almost any question you have. We can already ask things like “How tall is Ewan McGregor?" And get the answer from Wolfram Alpa. Why can't Apple do the same? I think Siri should eventually be able to answer almost any question you answer but in the mean time I’d settle for it knowing Apple and its products.
The Basics: She Knows Everything About Apple
Siri should be able to answer any question you have related to Apple.
- “When was the last Macbook Pro released?”
- “How much is an iPhone 6 off-contract?”
- “How thin is the latest iPad?”
- “Can you show me some good podcasting apps?”
- “Does my iPad support Handoff?”
Setting Up Features For The Average User
Siri should be able to help the user set up features on their iOS devices. There are a lot of iOS users who don’t know how to use their devices. Siri could be a perfect companion to show them how to set up different features. For example: They could ask things like, "How do I add my email to Mail?" (Something one of my parents asked me.) Then Siri would walk them through the process with an interactive tutorial.
- What was that app I saw on the iPhone 6 commercial?
- How do I turn down the ringer?
- What is Passbook?
- How can I back up my photos?
- How do I pair a bluetooth keyboard to my iPad?
- What's iCloud?
- How can I see my iPhone pictures on my iPad?
All the simple tasks, related to the device they are holding, are answered without needing to search the Internet. Rather than possibly outdated information by 3rd parties you have interactive walkthroughs to show the user exactly how to do something.
Siri could be a better war to change the settings of your iOS device. Even I, a person obsessed with technology, sometimes has troubles finding what I need in the Settings app. Siri could solve this problem by taking you directly to the setting you want without making you search for it. Apple does need to make the Settings easier to navigate and find what you need but I think Siri could be even better.
Make Her A Saleswoman
Apple Stores are great places for learning about Apple products. Unfortunately not everyone has one near them and they have to go to stores like Staples. It has been my general experience that employees at big box stores (Staples, Futureshop, Best Buy, etc) are either inept or non-existent. I have stood in all of these stores and watched people debate which product is right for them without any knowledge of the products and never be approached by an employee. I have also seen employees give absolutely terrible advice. I usually step in an answer their questions if I have time but I see the potential for Siri to be a virtual sales assistant to guide people to the right device. She could guide them through the product line and show the benefits of buying the more expensive options and explain the differences between models. This is especially needed with the convoluted iPad lineup they are offering right now.
She Could Be A Saleswoman For The Digital World As Well
Siri could even become a way to find new applications curated by a team at Apple. You say, "I need an app that can do ______." To make this possible the Siri team, in conjunction with the App Store review team, has made lists of apps that can do specific things. (Like "text editors that support Markdown and Dropbox sync.") To make sure you don't download a junky application, or one that hasn't been updated in a long time, they make judgements on quality and link each app to several reviews from the web and App Store. This could also be added to the App Store itself but I really like the idea of using Siri for this. You could even discuss what you have tried and what you need exactly. For example you could say, "exclude any app that I have tried already" to only see new results. No more searching through mounds of junk apps to find what you need.
I have expressed my wish for an improved Siri for years. I have made multiple posts on where I think the technology could go but most of those have been about fundamental changes or advanced functionality I'd like to see. The ideas written here mostly involve adding information to Siri's knowledge database. Is it wrong to think that Siri should know everything about Apple?