I talk to my car. I talk to the TV. I talk to my dogs and cats. I talk to traffic. I’m learning to talk to my Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch, and AirPods.
It’s easier to talk to a plant than it is to talk to a product. Plants always interact the same way. Silence. Siri seldom interacts the same way.
Talking to my Apple gear via Siri works sometimes, sometimes not so much. I bring this up because I’m learning to talk to my Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch, and AirPods, and I have a number of new Siri Shortcuts to make the job easier, easily customizable, and more intuitive.
My neighbor uses dictation at work, so Siri comes in second place with taking instructions. He uses a product called Blueshift which handles transcribing offline but on each device; iPhone, iPad, and now Mac. I tried Blueshift. I like it. It’s one of many commercial apps that handle dictation; but Apple has it built-in already.
When you open an app with a keyboard, you’ll notice a little microphone. Tap it, and your iPhone or iPad begins recording and then transcribing what you speak. That’s dictation. The built-in version is decent and free, but requires an internet connection.
It’s one thing to dictate, but it’s not the same as interacting with commands and queries. That’s Siri’s job and while Apple’s built-in intelligent personal assistant has improved, the improvements are not sufficient– yet– to get me to use it more frequently.
Let’s face it. Siri is stupid. Or, at best, a toddler; a pre-schooler with a limited vocabulary and a hearing disorder. All too often we have to repeat a request or action; sometimes again and again. That diminishes the desire to keep using Siri for anything important. Yet, the built-in dictation is decent, so something is being lost in the translation from query and command to Siri’s response.
When Apple gets that fixed, Siri will get used more frequently and not end up as the butt of so many standup comedians.
The other issue is the actual process of talking to Siri. Except when driving alone in the car, I’m less likely to use Siri because everyone around will hear my conversation. That changed slightly with AirPods Pro because they are so near to the voice and very good at picking up voice frequencies, but the hesitancy remains.