I've pre-ordered my iPhone 4S and I am anxiously awaiting delivery this coming Friday. One of the things that I want to play with is the new Siri personal assistant system.
It's hard to tell how well Siri will work from just watching a demonstration at a keynote or a promotional video. It won't be until I actually have it in my hands and use it for an extended period of time before I'll be able to tell how good it is and if it is something that I will actually use on a regular basis.
I'm going to reserve all judgement until I actually get a chance to use it first hand. I'll probably write up a quick blog post to give you my initial thoughts but I must admit that I have some doubts that I'll use Siri on a regular basis. I may be wrong (and I hope that I am) but besides being in the car, I think that most of the time that I'll use the touch interface just as I do currently.
But what about the iPod Shuffle? The iPod Shuffle doesn't have a display at all. Wouldn't this be the perfect device to utilize Siri?
The Shuffle currently has a 'VoiceOver button' which allows the Shuffle to communicate various its states such as the current artist or song being played. It can also tell you the current battery status.
It cannot, however, respond to your voice commands. Your input is limited to the 5 buttons on the device or the 3 control buttons integrated into the headphones.
There is no way that Apple has any plans in the near future for adding this capability to the Shuffle. This is a premier feature that is only available on the iPhone 4S. But I can imagine sometime in the future, maybe 5 - 10 years in the future, that Apple could deploy such a technology in a very small device that they may or may not call a Shuffle.
This small device would be able to read your calendar events as well as add new ones from your voice commands. It could check for and read your emails. Many of the Siri examples on the iPhone 4S web page would work perfectly with a displayless iPod device.
And since we're talking about 5 - 10 years from now, let's just say that this isn't an upgrade to the iPod Shuffle and that this is actually the iPhone Nano that has been rumored in the past. The basic rumor was that Apple was working on a smaller iPhone with a much smaller screen. But shrinking the size of the iPhone's screen would be difficult to implement with the current user interface. Apple would have to create a new interface specifically for this smaller device (I guess the iPod Nano could qualify as this but I'm not sure if many of the applications would translate well).
So why bother to do that when you are already investing in an interface that the was designed to work without a display at all? I can only assume that Apple will continue to invest in the Siri interface and improve it over time. I even bet that one of their goals when adding features to Siri is to avoid the desire of the user to pull their iPhone out of their pocket but to rather use Siri's audio interface exclusively.
The Siri software will only get better over time so the real issue may ultimately be the hardware that is required to run Siri on such a small device. But over 5 years from now, when Apple releases the A10 CPU, this may very well be possible.
An impossibly small device that you keep in your pocket and almost never take out. Using Bluetooth 5.0 to pair with your almost imperceptible earpiece. 5G LTE for iCloud 2.0 data connectivity. Reading you the daily news from the web sites you have pre-selected. Answering your calls. Tracking your schedule. Giving you directions to the movies you just bought. Playing your streamed music. And finally, playing that stupid karaoke game where it rates how well you matched the vocals of the song.