Monday, October 17, 2011

Siri and Her Serious Problems

So I did, in fact, get the iPhone 4S on Friday - pre-ordered and delivered to my door. No waiting in line required. It was a beautiful experience. And as is surely the case with the other 4 million or so new iPhone owners, I 've spent a decent amount of time playing with Siri, the new iPhone’s personal assistant. In theory, Siri can help you find restaurants, make appointments, send emails, check the weather, and rhyme with the word “theory.” I have generally found Siri to only be useful for that last item listed.

Mostly, I just want to digitally choke her.

She seems to actually work about 25% of the time, and the rest of the time either can’t understand what I’m saying - although I haven’t tried a British accent yet - or has trouble connecting to “The Network.”

I understand Siri was released as a beta product - so no guarantees that it’ll work perfectly. And after sniffing around the web a bit, it’s clear that I’m not the only one having problems. Furthermore, don’t believe some of the quick fixes that are out there on tech blogs, etc. - such as resetting your network connections and/or restarting the phone, and turning Siri on and off. If they work, it’s only by chance. I’ve tried.

It appears that it’s some kind of network issue - likely due to millions of lonely iPhone users trying to talk to Siri at the same time - and Apple’s servers just can’t handle the overload of emotional neediness. Apple seems to have underestimated the broken dreams and neurotic insecurities of their user base. They just want someone to talk to, is all. And they want that someone to not be a human, but to be an iPhone. Is that so much to ask?

Personally, I love the phone, and would love it even more if it could also be my friend. It would be my first inanimate friend since early childhood - or maybe a bit more recently than that, if I’m being honest with myself. But I’ve made it this far without Siri, and I expect I’ll be able to make it a bit further. Luckily, I haven’t forgotten how to perform a Google search for “Italian restaurants near zip code 19147”, or type an email or text message.

Because once Siri’s working like a charm, and people are fully dependent on it, I believe the next iPhone update will feature an intracranial implant of some sort. Just close one eye, and it dials. Think about pizza, and Siri 2.0 orders it for you. Siri 2.0 will also allow you to taste sounds, and see other people’s thoughts. It’s simply a matter of time.

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