Every single minute of my life is planned. I am a mother to a 5 and a 4 year old and I run a technology company. I’m not kidding when I say that every single minute is accounted for. This leads me to be pretty efficient. Yet, since I’m always racing from one place to another I tend to do things like, leave the gas card inside with the cashier as I drive away, leave the house without the coupons I just cut out, and lose my five year old’s homework.
And I know that I am not the only one out there like this.
Enter Siri and the iPhone 5. I must admit, since I am your “tech chick to the masses,” I felt it was my responsibility to upgrade and experience this new phone (and also, I really wanted it). We’ve all seen those commercials with Siri and how she can make your life easier. And the “idea” of being able to rattle off a thought, a question, or a note was amazing. Oh, the things I could get done! The things I would now remember!
I was already an iPhone user, but I’ve been hanging out with a cracked screen for almost a year, holding off for this moment. Now a slimmer, taller lady-friend (yes I’m still taking about Siri) would be my own personal assistant.
Except it is never that simple, is it?
Siri and I went on our first date this week. I called upon her by holding down my home button and asked for directions. I was attending a networking event downtown (because that’s what we sales people do). Siri dropped the pin on the map and then the screen swooped in and she rattled off my first direction.
(Sidebar alert! I am not a fan of the radio, and I’m too cheap to pay for Sirius, so I tend to use the Bluetooth feature on my phone/car to listen to music. Sometimes I listen to my music that I purchased and, sometimes I stream Pandora. iTunes Genius is now available on the phone not just iTunes itself. Since I got the bigger iPhone and can put more music on it, I am playing my music in a whole new wonderful way.)
Back to our program: so there I was listening to my music when it faded and Siri chimed in with my next direction. She was speaking through the Bluetooth system in my car. Turn-by-turn directions people! Look ma’ no wires! I was stoked. Finally technology was getting easier to use. We were moving in the right direction (literally and figuratively). This is until…
She took me to the wrong place.
Now, I was lucky enough on this occasion to have had an idea of where I was going so I didn’t listen to her as she continued to give me the wrong directions. I’m on the highway shouting, “Cancel directions! Siri stop!” to no avail. She must have really wanted me to go to wherever she was leading me. (Now I know Siri is not a person, and that the program is an Apple program. However, this is the way the general public thinks—that the directions are from “Siri”).
Although I was not led to the proper place (and I was missing my Google maps at this point), there are some cool features about Apples Maps. My favorite is that you don’t have to ‘slide bar to unlock’ to see the map or enter your code (if you have one). Just by touching your home button the map is lit up and you can see your next move.
The next day I made a second attempt at getting “Siri” directions, and she did get me to the correct location. (I will admit I did “Google it” before I left to make sure; I guess we now have some trust issues to work out.) Yet, the fact that Siri does speak the directions, especially through the Bluetooth, is a pretty cool feature. Apple Maps will get better.
Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized for the iPhone 5 map software.
“We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better,” Cook said in a letter to customers posted on the company’s website.
So speaking to Siri (and Apple Maps) hasn’t been everything I had hoped. My laundry isn’t done any quicker. Nor is my house cleaner. Sometimes when I ask her to call one person, she calls another. My spoken text messages are not perfect. But I believe there is hope! Maps will get better. And Siri may become a better listener. Kinks will be worked out.
Smart phones have become our life-lines – they are always on us. (It is on my lap as I type this). Promise of a better, more efficient life will continue to fuel sales and drive the custom integration/consumer electronics market. Smart phones have already drastically changed our lives—the way we interact, the way we work and the way we live. So pay attention. Learn the kinks and how to fix them—become the solutions expert and we’ll all still have jobs tomorrow.
Heather L. Sidorowicz is project manager/designer for Southtown Audio Video in Hamburg, NY.