With improvements added in iOS 6, Apple’s mobile voice assistant Siri can now tell you sports scores, reserve a seat at a restaurant, list the latest movies in theaters, and launch apps. While these new features are welcome, there’s still a lot of room for Siri’s capabilities to expand in ways that would make the service even more useful and popular. Here are the five things highest on my wish list.
Show me more than just restaurants and movies
Movies and restaurants are a good start for helping me find entertainment options, but I wish Siri could tell me what concerts are happening in my area as well. Apple could partner with a company like TicketMaster to add this the same way they partnered with Yelp for restaurants.
I also wish Siri could tell me more about content from Apple’s online stores, such as music and books. It would be great if Siri could tell me if there are any new albums or books coming out by my favorite artists, for instance. Apple already knows this information based on what I download from iTunes. Why not put it to better use? Honestly, it’s a little strange that Siri isn’t already integrated better with Apple’s online stores, which already place Apple at a big advantage over its competitors.
Answer questions about my device
Siri can show me a picture of a weasel, but can’t tell me how much space is left on my phone, or how many songs I have in my music library, or even what version of iOS I’m running. It would be so much easier to just ask Siri these things than to dig down into the increasingly complicated Settings app.
Change my settings
Speaking of settings, Siri won’t let me change them via voice control. I wish I could tell her to turn off Wi-Fi, or turn the brightness to 50 percent, or lock my screen orientation. Some Android device users are fond of using widgets to toggle those kinds of settings, and allowing Siri to do the same would be an easy way to get some of the functionality of widgets without actually adding them to iOS.
Remember what she says
As a personal assistant, Siri’s memory isn’t too sharp. You can go back and look at your history while using Siri, but as soon as you dismiss the app she forgets it. The solution to this one is pretty simple: When you ask something new and Siri responds, you should be able to just scroll up to see a longer history, not just for the current session. Or, alternatively, you could just ask Siri, “What have we been talking about?” to go directly to your history.
Learn other languages
Siri can already do simple, single-word translations thanks to Wolfram|Alpha, but it would be great if you could carry out an entire conversation in a foreign language with just Siri as the translator. Apps like iTranslate Voice and SayHi Translate already use Siri-like interfaces for this, so we know it can work well for it. A universal translator has long been one of the Holy Grails of technology, and implementing it for free on the iPhone would be a big deal, especially for frequent travelers.
Did I miss anything? What do you wish Siri could do that isn’t on the list? Tell us in the comments.