When Siri originally launched on the iPhone a little over four years ago, we postulated that it would be a world-changing event. A personal assistant in our pockets that could handle real-world requests felt like the future. When it launched onto the Apple Watch, it was described as potentially being the quickest and most fun way to interact with the wearable. Then when it came to the Apple TV, it became the fastest way to disseminate the content you want to watch across multiple apps.
Siri has found its way onto nearly every hero Apple product today, and yet on every device it feels as though it has its own definitive personality.
What I can request and accomplish on my iPhone with Siri, I can’t do with my Apple TV. What I can do with my Apple TV and Siri, I can’t even fathom doing on my Watch. Why is this though? Why can’t I simply ask Siri on my Apple Watch, “Show me ‘The Flash’ on my Apple TV”? What limitations are currently in place that don’t allow Siri to communicate to all the devices it should already know I have?
The launch of Continuity made jumping between multiple devices and workflows much easier for anyone with an Apple ID who was already ingrained in the Apple ecosystem. Launch a keynote on your iPhone, and continue it on your Mac. Get an iMessage on your Apple Watch, swipe up on your lock screen, and continue it on your iPhone. Siri is one of the only official Apple “apps” that has seemingly been forgotten within Continuity.
Heading over to iCloud.com, and then checking my settings, I can see all the devices where my Apple ID is currently signed into. These are all devices that in one way or another could theoretically communicate with each other over Siri. But they don’t. This is the technical limitation I hope Apple soon overcomes. A great example of inter-device communication was shown at this year’s Google I/O with the preview of Google Home.
The boy in the scene (seen at the 25:05 mark) asks Google Home to show the Alpha Centauri system on the TV after having asked a few other star related questions. Google Home interconnects with all other Google related devices, and was able to use the available systems to display the request on the TV. Of course as the speaker right before this demo explained, this is all a future look at what Google Home might be able to do. Although it is in the future for Google, this is something Siri already has the foundation for but just hasn’t quite implemented yet.
Bridging the connections between all these variations in Siri across devices could help make Siri a more solidified platform. With news coming out that Apple will introduce a Siri SDK, my hope is that they won’t place the weight of this seamless environment all on third-party developers. An Amazon Echo or Google Home-like Siri device means that Apple has another area to solidify and improve its AI. Unless Apple able to interconnect everything in a seamless way, it could mean everything ending in a confusing mess.