What Siri responses say about version two

Siri is undoubtedly the highlight of the iPhone 4S. Even without some crucial services (maps and local services look-up), it’s a joy to use in the UK too. We’ve been testing it out this week, asking it questions both serious and silly – and more often than not, it works.

But what’s perhaps most interesting about Siri is what it won’t let you do right now, and when it acknowledges this. We’ve been grilling it to test its limits, and now we think we know what to expect next.

While Siri’s integration with Wolfram Alpha means it can pull off some impressive answers, from calculus to calorie counting, there are plenty of times it just doesn’t work. Normally, when that happens Siri just says it doesn’t understand, and that’s that.

Sometimes though, Siri understands what you’re saying, and acknowledges your request, but says it’s not allowed to perform an action or unable to find said information. We’ve found 11 instances so far, which all point to areas that Apple could be working on next:

“Make a new contact”
“Read my latest email”
“When is the next flight…”
“Update my Facebook status”
“Send a tweet”
“Download an app”
“Play video”
“Open iTunes”
“Read me a story”
“Take a photo”
“Make a voice memo”

There are undoubtedly security issues around some of these instructions (installing apps for instance), but not all of them: Tweeting by voice seems like the next logical step. Flight data is big money (See the anti-trust hubbub Google caused buying ITA last year), so Apple likely wants to get this right.

But perhaps the most telling of all is the last one. Siri actually says “I haven’t yet learned to take dictation” (my italics), suggesting Apple is working on this feature, and willing to admit it. Remember, Siri works by connecting to Apple’s data centre each time, so new Siri smarts wouldn’t have to wait for iOS firmware updates.

What other Siri self-confessed failings have you found? What would you most like to see next? Shout up with your thoughts in the comments.

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