iPhone 4S: Siri

My iPhone 4S arrived and of course I had to start experimenting with Siri.

Here are some tips:

  1. You have to turn Siri on! Siri is initially switched off. Settings/General/Siri.
  2. Hold the Home button down until the iPhone beeps twice– then start talking to Siri. You can also pick the iPhone up, hold it to your ear as if you were on a call, and listen for the two beeps. I like pressing the Home button better. (If, when you try to trigger Siri, you see “Voice Control” instead of the Siri microphone, Siri has not been turned on yet.)
  3. Teach Siri who your mother and father and sister and brother are. Simply say “Edward Boyce is my dad” or “Darlene Boyce is my mom” and from then on, you can say “Send an email to my dad” or “Call my mom at home” etc. Very handy.

On the left: Siri is off. On the right: Siri is on.

Here are some of the things that I asked Siri to do for me (and they worked):

  1. Check my email.
  2. Do I have any emails from Zach?
  3. Call Joe Smith at work.
  4. When is my next appointment?
  5. Show me my calendar.
  6. Make an appointment for Saturday, 4 PM: UCLA football game (puts it into the calendar)
  7. What time does Mom arrive? (I had a calendar item that said “Mom arrives” in my calendar)
  8. Show me directions to Union Station in Los Angeles (shows it on the map, with directions from current location)
  9. Remind me to buy tickets to the UCLA game (puts it into “Reminders” app)
  10. Wake me up at 6:30 (creates an alarm for 6:30 PM, which is not what I wanted)
  11. Cancel that (it cancels the alarm)
  12. Wake me up at 6:30 tomorrow
  13. Make a repeating alarm for 6:30 AM (perfect)
  14. Set a timer for 10 minutes

Turns out that there is a lot that Siri can’t do– not yet. It can’t read your emails out loud to you, it can’t launch applications for you, it can’t go to a website directly (but it can search for it, and it will be the first item in the search results). I have a feeling that you’ll eventually be able to do all of these things in time, but not now. For now, Siri’s a little bit limited, but it’s definitely good enough to use.

If you find a cool Siri feature, send me an email and let me know.


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