When Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S, it also unveiled an all-new artificial intelligence companion designed to help iPhone users with their daily tasks. Siri, the iPhone’s personal assistant, can perform tasks such as finding directions, making phone calls and adjusting a user’s calendar on the fly. As with any new technology, it is worth considering the drawbacks to innovation along with the benefits.
While Apple’s software developers have worked hard to make the Siri experience as dynamic and useful as possible, problems do arise with Siri’s ability to understand your queries. In loud environments, for example, Siri may have trouble picking your voice out of the chaos. Users with strong accents may also have difficulty with Siri -- it is sometimes necessary to repeat commands in order to get Siri to respond.
Silent Mode Support
All iPhones come with a special silent mode that disables common sounds like ringtones, text alerts and notification pings. Silent mode is useful for times when it would be inappropriate for the phone to sound alerts. However, Siri ignores silent mode. No matter how low the volume, Siri will always be audible. If you need your phone to be absolutely silent, you will not be able to use Siri until your phone can make noise again.
Siri features built in support for several languages. The AI speaks English, French, and German fluently. However, Siri’s navigational capabilities are limited to English. It can only find directions in English and is currently only tuned to look for locations in the United States. This will likely improve as development on Siri continues.
The biggest hang-up for Siri is its reliance on a constant Web connection. Siri cannot function unless it has access to the Internet because all voice commands are relayed through Apple’s servers before returning to the phone. If Siri cannot access the Web, it will be unable to recognize any voice commands. Even commands that might not necessarily require a Web connection to complete will be unavailable if Siri is offline.
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