iOS 10 Wishlist: Siri Gets Chatty

Siri in iOS 9

It’s been five years since Siri came out. And until last year, it was just fine. It kept getting better – faster, new languages – that’s it. But this year, a couple of things happened that have made Siri’s current form almost unacceptable.

Amazon Echo proved that it’s possible for a company that’s not Google to actually create voice recognition system that works. Hound proved that it’s possible for a startup to create voice recognition that can process much more complex questions faster than even Google can. Plus, this year has been the year of chatbots. It started with Slack. Then Microsoft got in. And now Facebook.

I don’t think all of it’s going to happen in iOS 10 but here’s what I want from Siri. An API for third-party apps and services, a better voice recognition system, and a text chatting interface.

Siri API

It’s high time that apps on iOS devices (or even just services) get access to Siri. Just imagine how great would it be to look up directions that directly open up in Google Maps? Or add a task to a third party task manager app. Play a song on Spotify. Dictate notes that convert to text. The possibilities are endless.

If Apple can pull this off, this alone (coupled with voice recognition that works) might convince me to get an Apple Watch. The WWDC 2016 invite, especially the one to developers does seem to suggest that Siri API is coming.

Better Voice Recognition

I know that cloud and servers have never been Apple’s mojo. Ben Thompson over at Stratechery has written about how Apple’s organization structure is designed to create great physical products and not services that need to improved constantly.

But still, I have faith that ultimately Apple will figure this technology out. I just hope it’s with iOS 10.

Chatbots, Texting Siri

Siri text
Credit: MacStories

While companies like Microsoft and Facebook are getting in on the bots action via their own apps, I think Apple can do much more by implementing them directly in the OS.

Apple created the App Store. It can do the same for bots.

And it makes sense. Using bots, it’s possible to accomplish some tasks (not all), much faster. You’re basically eliminating viewing 3-4 screens, tapping multiple times and converting that to having a conversation. This is much more natural. And simpler. And I know how much Apple likes making things simpler.

Facebook wants bots to be all limited to the Messenger app. But if Apple can implement it directly into Siri, along with text conversations, some amazing things can happen.

Facebook Messenger bots

I don’t think chatbots can replace all visual apps. But there are cases – things that you don’t do often or can be done better by a computer – where bots would be much better. Things like booking the cheapest flight or doing some specific tasks once – without needing to download an app.

I also think textual support in Siri is way overdue. Cortana has it already. I constantly find myself in situations when I’d rather use Siri to do something but can’t because I’m not in an environment where I can talk to my phone.

What Do You Want Siri To Be?

Do you use Siri often right now? Would to want Siri to support third party services? Share with us in the comments below.

Our Wishlist for iOS 10 so far: