Siri is coming to the Mac. Maybe. That’s what Mark Gurman says and he has a good track record– and probably a few inside Apple sources who need to remain anonymous– for predicting what’s coming soon from Apple.
Unfortunately, Siri is not coming soon. The prediction is for Siri to become one of the highlighted and heavily promoted new functions that will show up later this year in Mac OS X 10.12 Bakersfield (insert your favorite California location guess here). The question to ask is, “What will Siri do?”
Do You Use Siri?
Allow me to do some unscientific research for a moment and assume that most Mac360 readers also have an iPhone or an iPad (or both) and have tried Siri and may even use Siri. I do. And I’m proud to be come out of the closet and admit that Siri is my friend.
Siri works, albeit slowly; sometimes very slowly, on my Watch. I like Siri’s sometimes snarky responses, her (his) ability to open apps on iPhone and iPad, make calls for me, send messages, and gather information. The always on ‘Hey Siri…’ function is killer on iPhone 6s. We should expect Siri on the Mac to do much the same thing, but how?
First of all, ‘Hey Siri…’ must work. For Mac mini, iMac, and Mac Pro, it’s a for sure feature because that’s what makes Siri on newer devices so useful. She’s just there, ready for a little verbal action. If ‘Hey Siri…’ can work on an unplugged iPhone 6s Plus, then there’s little reason why the same function can’t show up in an unplugged MacBook.
Second, Siri needs controls and settings and that means System Preference pane so you can setup keyboard shortcuts, select a specific Siri voice, and a few other housekeeping configurations. But, keep it simple Apple.
Third, Siri for Mac will get some onstage show ‘n tell time thanks to Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference late this spring. But what will Siri do? That’s the question.
Wants And Needs
What I want Siri to do and what Apple gives Mac users in the first release in OS X 10.12 later this year may be– no, likely– be different. I want Siri to do some clear app integration that goes beyond merely asking a few search questions that bring up Spotlight or which open an application.
For example, I want Siri to set alarms, Calendar events, open and set todo items in Reminders, and even take dictation within Notes or other Mac apps. But Siri should be capable of doing more than merely adding a voice to Spotlight.
I’m thinking Ironman’s J.A.R.V.I.S. Yes, that Jarvis, the matter-of-fact and snarkless assistant to Tony Stark, but embedded into a Mac.
Excuse me, Bambi. But I noticed that your Mac was getting hot while you were typing, but I’ve turned the fan speed up a bit to compensate for all the hard work you’re doing today.
What Mac toting Apple customer would not want some of that?
Siri could be embedded into Mail, and not just for dictating some email messages, but telling us which ones are important while we’re doing something else.
Bambi, you just received another email solicitation from Senator Sanders. Should I delete it as you did with all the others?
Siri for the Mac will present the same kind of problems we have encountered with Siri on iPhone and iPad. We’re talking out loud to a machine and it talks back. That won’t work in an office setting or cubicle farm of other Macs where distractions need to be kept to a minimum. It doesn’t even work all that well talking into your Watch encrusted wrist, either. People stare.
Siri might be the voice to our future computer network overlords but so long as it works like Disneyland and not Alcatraz, I’m down with it.