Siri is Apple’s new voice activated digital assistant which will do just about anything you need it do and advise you along the way.  It’s a truly remarkable software application.  How SIRI differs from any other voice dictation app is that you don’t have to learn a new vocabulary or way of speaking for it to understand what you want.  You just talk to it.  And that is its genius. Originally, SIRI had its origins in the ultra secretive world of the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA), which had invested millions to create what it called a “enduring personalized cognitive assistant.”   A few years into it, SIRI released a Siri App in the iTunes store.  But Apple was so impressed with its interactivity that they bought the company two months later and decided to incorporate SIRI into IOS 5.

So the following are 25 of the mind blowing things that Siri will do to make your life easier.

1. Set Reminders

Working in concert with the iOS 5 reminders app, users can tell SIRI to remind them of something and the software will automatically create a reminder.   It’ll then give you both a pop up reminder in Notification Center and let you know via Audio.

2.  Schedule an Appointment

You can tell SIRI to set an appointment on your calendar.  And here’s the killer part … if it sees you have a conflict, it’ll let you know and offer alternative times and dates.  I love that.  In fact, SIRI goes even further.  You can ask SIRI what your day looks like and SIRI will read your calendar to you.

3. Let’s eat

Ask Siri for a restaurant recommendation and it’ll go out and not only grab listings for every restaurant in your area but it will query you until it knows what kind of food you want.   Then it will organize results according to what’s closest and read them off to you if you need to be hands free.  SIRI can even book a reservation at the restaurant you choose.    But not only restaurants, just about anything you want to find.

4. Send an email

You’re running and you need to fire off and email to the staff, tell SIRI you need to send and email and you can dictate the text and tell SIRI to send it out to the staff.

5. Send a text

You’re going to be late because of traffic and you don’t want to get a ticket for picking up your cell and calling home.  Tell SIRI to text your wife to tell her you’re going to be late and she fires one off to you and reads back any replies.  Genius.

6.  Weather reports

Ask SIRI for the weather report and she comes back with a five day forecast for any city you want.  She’ll even remind you to bring your sunglasses.  And you don’t even need to ask for the report.  Just ask if it’ll be hot tomorrow and SIRI will come back with “Not too hot, bring your sweater” or something similar.  It’s all very conversational.

7.  What’s the 411

Need to look up a phone number?  Just ask SIRI what “Dave’s” phone number is and she’ll not only look it up, she’ll offer to connect you right there.

8. Wake you up

SIRI can set your alarm and wake you up in the morning.

9.  Doin’ the math

Need to figure out how many pints in a quart?  Need the square root of 2314? Want to know  Ask SIRI and she’ll query Wolfram Alpha for the result.

10. Tells you where to go

If you need directions, ask SIRI.  She’ll pop up a Google Map with directions and alternate routes on how to get there.

11. Rock out

Tap the mic and tell SIRI to play your favorite song.  You’ll hear it immediately.

12.  Take a letter

Tap the mic and SIRI can take dictation for notes, emails, tweets, greeting cards.  Just about anything.  And when you tape done, you’ll see text that is surprisingly accurate.

13.  Tell me a story

Ask SIRI to read your email to you, SIRI grabs them in order, or pull out specific emails from people you know and read them, asking if you’d like to reply along the way.

14.  Taking Stock

It can’t buy and sell (yet) but Siri will grab any stock quotes and keep you in the loop on how they’re doing.

15.  Only Time Will Tell

What time is it SIRI?  Need I say  more?  OK, I will.  Siri will time your run, giving you lap times as well.  And Siri will count down until you need to take that roast out of the oven.

16.  Facetime

Tell SIRI you want to call someone by name via FaceTime and she’ll open up Facetime and find the person you want to talk to.

17. What’s in a name?

Siri knows contacts and so you can ask SIRI about anyone in your contacts, even if it’s just by their first name and SIRI will know who you’re talking about and give you any information you need.

18. Finders keepers

If you need to do a web search, SIRI will query both WikiPedia and Wolfram Alpha to give you the answer you need.  Or you can just ask SIRI to search for something online and she’ll use Google and even BING to get the information you need.

19. Stop and Go

You can ask SIRI what the traffic is like and SIRI will check traffic conditions in your area looking for a better route.

20. Heads up

SIRI will also use Notification Center to let you know when there’s emails from people or appointments and reminders.

21. Easy Access

SIRI is a godsend for accessibility with the iPhone.  SIRI will read everything back to you if you have trouble reading a screen.  Especially if you’re sending an email and SIRI will make sure you have said all you want to say by reading it back and then asking you if you want to send.

22. Coming soon to a theater near you

Ask SIRI when the next “Transformers” movie will start and she’ll go get movie times for you.  I don’t think she can buy tickets for you … YET … but it’s only a matter of time before third party apps take advantage of SIRIs powerful capability.

23.  Rockin’ Robin

You want to post a TWEET on Twitter?  Just tell SIRI to TWEET and dictate your 140 characters.  SIRI will read it back to you and then ask if you want to post it.

24.  The Natives are restless

SIRI works seemlessly with all native iPhone 4S applications.  So SIRI can utilize the notification center, calendar and contacts, email, Twitter, just about any native App that the iPhone enjoys.  And you can get as time goes on, third party developers will want to get some of SIRIs attention as well.

25.  Cloudy

SIRI can sync anything she does for you to the cloud and push them down to all your iOS devices.  So any appointments you set on the iPhone will show up on your MAC calendar or your iPad as soon as they’re set.

Unfortunately, SIRI won’t be available as part of the stock iOS 5 update to all phones.  She’s exclusive to the iPhone 4S.  Initially, we thought this was likely due to SIRI needing the additional power of the 4S A5 processor.  But then we remembered that SIRI was an app before Apple joined the show and Apple has sent emails out to all current SIRI users that effective October 15th, they will no longer have access to SIRI unless they upgrade.   But hey, that’s not a bad thing.  If your contract is up and if you want to change carriers, you can get the iPhone 4S through AT&T, Verizon and now Sprint.  So that’s not a bad thing.



James DeRuvo