On not using Siri

Siri is a marquee feature of the iPhone 4S and the very thing that attracted me to it. When Apple purchased Siri in 2010, I guessed it might be for navigation or possibly an enhancement to Voice Control. Today it’s much more than that, even as a beta.

After I bought an iPhone in December, I started playing with Siri right away. A month later, I barely use it. Not because I dislike it, but because it’s often easier not to. Here’s what I mean.

Siri is handy in the kitchen. I often use it to set timers. I also have Siri turn my alarms on and off before bed. In those instances, a verbal request is faster than swiping and tapping. Unfortunately, I don’t use it for anything else. Many people say it’s a great way to read and respond to text messages. In my experience, Siri reads incoming texts well but often fails when transcribing my words. The same goes for dictating tweets. Siri often gets a word wrong. 1

The problem is that there’s a one-error threshold between being faster and not. A text message dictated and sent using voice only is much faster than the same message typed. However, if Siri makes a transcription error, correcting that error manually and then sending the message takes much more time than typing from the start.

Other tasks, like web searches, I still do the “old fashioned way,” but that’s out of habit.

It’s disappointing, as I expected to be talking to my iPhone 24/7.

  1. It kills me that the guy in Apple’s promo video is jogging, breathing heavy, yet Siri gets every syllable.