Siri. Wait. What? Siri? Isn’t Siri the laughing stock of talking intelligent personal assistants (TIPA)? Yes. And, no. Siri is the most used TIPA among smartphones, tablets, and personal computers, and with Apple’s new Shortcuts works even better. Siri is customizable.
The Task List
Beyond the phone, Messages, email, browsing, YouTube, and a growing bucket full of favorite apps, I manage much of my daily work and play load with tasks, to-do lists, goals, and anything else that can help me get more done in less time.
That’s where Siri comes in. Apple’s only child has multiple personalities– well, multiple voices; male, female, different languages, and works almost the same on different Apple gear.
HomePod – Yes, I now subscribe to Apple News+. What’s not to like? Over 200 magazines and many dozens of newspapers give you a single location to keep up with the world, yet Siri makes it even easier. “Hey, Siri… what’s going on in News?” That works on HomePod or any other Siri-equipped device.
Music – All too often I’m busy slaving over a hot keyboard (my mother slaved over a hot stove, so that should tell you a difference in generations) and since I’m a keyboard power user, I don’t have time to stop and dig around in the iPhone’s Music app. Siri can do it. “Hey, Siri… play some good music.”
OK, your idea of some good music and Siri’s idea may be different. I got the Jackson 5. No, I’m not that old.
I’m Coming Home – Siri’s Shortcuts are something that Steve Jobs obviously instructed Apple’s software engineers to create from beyond the grave. Siri can be customized to create specific actions– Shortcuts– that make it easy to let someone know you’re on the way or going to be late. “Hey, Siri… tell Nathan when I’ll be home.”
What happens is way cool technology. Siri grabs your current GPS location, then calculates the route and time home, then sends a text message with the ETA.
Hey, Siri… Also built-in to Siri are a bunch of hand saving, time saving options, including Translation (Hey, Siri… How do I say ‘Where is the nearest bathroom’ in Spanish?). Easy to remember, right? So is, “Hey, Siri… take a selfie” or “Hey, Siri, open Camera.” Both help speed up the process.
Hands Free – Regular readers know that the Mac360 crowd often advocates a hands on approach to using the Mac. Keyboard, not trackpad or mouse. That’s what power users use. iPhone power users know that hands free is the way to go, and that’s what Siri does best. “Hey, Siri… call Nathan on the speakerphone.”
One more. A fav.
Parking in and around certain Chicagoland locales can be a pain; especially in the Mall or downtown parking garages? Have you ever hit the parking lot and wondered aloud, “Where the hell did I park the car?” Been there. Done that.
Siri can help with two simple and straightforward requests. The first is “Hey, Siri… remember where my car is parked.” Couple that one with the obvious other end of the equation, and, “Hey, Siri… where is my car?”
All of these are items that need to become habit forming, and often, before we get into a new habit, we have to break an old habit. So, remember the obvious. Keyboard is better than mouse or trackpad. Siri is better than touching multiple buttons and apps.