The Voice Control on the iPhone has been broken for as long as I’ve tried to use it. There’s an entertaining random element to what happens when you ask it to dial a number, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that you will not be getting the call you need.* If Siri fixes that problem then there’s a step forward right off the bat. If Siri works as well as Apple claim, then we have a genuine game-changer in all kinds of ways.
My sis-in-law Sandi is blind, and has become an Apple fan over the past year or so on the strength of the accessibility that’s baked into OSX at a core level. She’s excited about Siri for the same reason. A phone that you can use effectively without the need to look at the screen is a pretty big deal. Paired with a Bluetooth headset, there’s no reason for it to ever leave her handbag or pocket. This is a step towards the idea of the hardware vanishing into the cloud. If you can order your phone around, then the barrier between interface and user pretty much disappears, especially if, like Sandi, that barrier has prevented you from using the phone in the first place.
Although, as numerous wags on Twitter have pointed out this week, if the Siri developers don’t put an April 1st eater egg in where Siri will, just once, respond to a query with “I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that,” then they’re missing a trick.
*TRUSTOREE: I once asked VC to phone home, and it responded by playing the Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Equal parts hilarity to creepiness.