iOS 8 Wishlist: Siri improvements

iOS 8 logo

When Apple introduced Siri, its personal voice assistant feature with the iPhone 4S, I was extremely excited about it. Unfortunately, it quickly became evident that it still needed a lot of work. To be fair to Apple, it did launch it as beta, and has been making steady progress in improving its reliability and speed.

However, the progress has been much slower than I expected, and I’m hoping Apple will address some of its shortcomings in iOS 8.

Real-time Speech to text

When you ask Siri a question, you have to wait for it to respond to figure out if it has interpreted your question correctly. Like Google Now, it would be a lot more user friendly if Siri can display the speech to text translation in real-time so you can change it if it hasn’t interpreted you correctly.

Siri Now

It is easier to interact with technology if it is easily accessible. So any interaction that is not natural results in a drop in percentage of people using it. With Siri, I need to hold down on the Home button to access it. While that may sound convenient, it would be a lot more convenient if I could invoke it without any physical interaction. Apple introduced a new feature to Siri in iOS 7.1 that lets you control how long Siri listens. But like Google Now, I really want Siri to be always listening, so it can respond to commands without physical interaction. For example: if I get an incoming call while driving, I should be able to tell Siri to answer the call and send it directly to the speaker.

The only concern would be the impact it could have on battery life.

Text input

I might be contradicting myself here. But I think people may use Siri a lot more if they can ask questions with text input. This can come in handy when you’re in a noisy place or in places where it is socially awkward to be talking to your iPhone.

Location-based features

A number of Siri features such as local search, restaurant information, reviews and reservation, movie showtimes and reviews etc. are still limited to few countries. I hope Apple extends Siri’s location-based features to more countries.

Integration with Third-Party Apps

It is high time Apple opened up APIs for Siri, so developers can integrate Siri with their apps to extend the functionality. Just like the Siri Now feature, Siri integration with third-party apps will make us a lot more productive without the physical interactions. Here are just some of the examples:

  • I would love to be able to dictate a to-do list to Clear, which is my favorite to-do app.
  • I would like to be able to send a message to my friends using Whatsapp, which I use a lot more than iMessage.
  • With the Siri Now feature and third party integration, I would love to be able to ask Siri to find out what song is playing on my car’s radio using Shazam.
  • Ability to tell Siri to turn on or turn off the lights using Philips Hue app.

The last example might become a reality as there are rumors that Apple plans to add a song recognition feature in iOS 8 which could be powered by Shazam.

Apple revolutionalized the way we use our smartphones with touch-based input, it has the opportunity revolutionalize the way we interact with our devices once again by deeply integrating Siri in iOS 8.

Let me know what you think in the comments. I would love to find out what’s on your iOS 8 wishlist, so please feel free to to share them in the comments.

My Other iOS 8 Wishlist