Apple iOS 6: Siri’s Voice Gets Louder
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Author: Jim Lundy
Issues: What are the best practices for managing content across the enterprise?
How will enterprises leverage mobile ecosystems to gain a competitive advantage?
Summary: Apple announced iOS 6, the sixth version of its mobile OS. A key part of the announcement was the expansion of its Siri voice interface, which will now be supported on iPads and in future car models.
Event: On June 11th, at its Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple announced new versions of its operating system software, iOS 6 for mobile devices and OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) for the Macintosh, along with new hardware releases, including a MacBook Pro with a Retina display.
Analysis: Apple has long expanded the ways that people interact with computers. Now the company continues that expansion by adding Siri, its voice-based digital assistant, to the iPad and other devices beyond the iPhone.
Apple not only delivers major mobile updates with a regular cadence – this is the sixth release since 2007, when the iPhone was first introduced – but each release brings substantial improvement. Apple’s experience with consistent mobile OS delivery has enabled them to focus on innovation.
In Aragon’s view, digital assistants like Siri will have a far-reaching impact on how people and computers interact. They may make people more dependent on their machines, but given the use of smartphones today, that era is already here.
The Impact of a New and Improved Siri
Many people are still getting to know Siri. It speeds up many tasks such as setting reminders, changing calendar appointments, sending text messages or doing Internet searches. The new version of Siri will be able to launch apps, and we expect this to be just the beginning of what Siri can do to help users in their quest to work and to find the information they need to work faster.
Siri Will Power Cars
Apple is also expanding the use of iOS beyond its own devices. Like Microsoft Sync, Siri and iOS will be in a variety of cars in the next year, including models from Audi, BMW, General Motors, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota. Expect drivers to be able to turn things on and off “Eyes Free” with Siri, although activating cruise control and other driving functions may be a few releases away.
Siri Will Power Televisions
Apple did not announce a new television, but it is expected to later this year. Siri is likely to power the user interface so that users can navigate channels via voice.
Google and Microsoft Will Respond
Both Google and Microsoft will have to respond to Siri. Google has been preparing a new product that may be called “Assistant.” Google has had voice-based search for a while and it works fairly well.
Microsoft has not exploited all the possibilities that its Tellme Labs acquisition offers, but it looks like some of the Tellme Labs technology will show up in Windows 8 Phone, which should arrive this fall.
A New Challenge for Developers
For enterprise software providers, the arrival of Siri on the iPad opens up a new world of possibilities. Users will be able to do more things with a tablet computer than ever before.
Apple did not release a Siri API during WWDC, which may be due to the fact that Siri is more than just an app. However, it is clear that Apple does have some form of API in-house, since it is working with the auto companies to deploy Siri in cars.
Search will remain one of Siri’s most powerful capabilities. The question remains is whether providers like Apple, Google and Microsoft make their APIs fully open.
Enterprises should look at the possibilities that Siri offers to enhance multiple business areas, such as customer service and knowledge-worker productivity. IT groups should start to pilot sandbox environments to experiment in.
This new journey is just beginning. Voice interfaces are here to stay, and they are no longer confined to mainframe-based IVR units such as reservation systems. More industries will license Siri and the engines that power it, like Nuance Communications. Enterprises that harness this new computing evolution will reap benefits that go beyond worker productivity.