The iPhone 4S is shiny and new. The camera can start up and be ready for the first photo in 1.1 second, and be ready for another in .5. The device itself is slightly weightier, probably a result of an added antennae (completely eliminating the antennae issues of iPhone 4) and the GSM and CDMA radios, making them globe-trotter friendly.
All of those changes are exciting. They’re not, however, that exciting to gamers.
So, on to Siri, the magical little wonder that will make everyone’s life better. It does show incredible promise, even if it did take the place of an anticipated iPhone 5 release. For gamers, it can be the Kinect of the iPhone. Instead of shouting commands at Shepard’s squad in Mass Effect 3, imagine yourself controlling different puzzle pieces by only your voice while you slide others into place. Apple is giving developers access to Siri’s coding, so they’ll be able to use it in programs and apps.
Siri will be able to multitask for players. Awkward thumbsticks won’t be a thing of the past, but you won’t have to alternate between using them and hitting onscreen buttons. Hopefully, of course, there will be toggle controls so you won’t have to be the weird person sitting at the bus stop telling your phone to switch to the rifle.
More importantly than even decent inventory management systems, though, is what Siri can do for students. Online training is going beyond just using Google to look up definitions and find Wikipedia entries. It now consists of full integration between learning and the devices students use daily.
Imagine having a flash card program (already popular on the iPhone) that you can answer out loud. If you’re wrong, it may even give you a hint to point you in the right direction before telling you the answer. Anyone who has crammed for a 50-question history test the night before understands how important using every second of the day can be. If you don’t have to use your hands, you can even get by with playing World of Warcraft online while studying.
For educational games, look forward to handing your future (or current) children an iPhone that can teach them how to read. They can sit down with a book and try to sound out words. Siri will be able to listen and prompt them when they’re struggling and turn the page when they’re done reading it. It can highlight text by syllables to help them learn how to break up speech patterns and offer helpful suggestions on remember tricks like “I before E.”
Siri won’t replace education by any means, but it can act like a private tutor for your four year old. Because it doesn’t require any physical control whatsoever, Siri will make your iPhone even friendlier for toddler use. Teach them how to use the controls on more fun programs, like coloring, to ensure they don’t get frustrated with more advanced tasks, like reading.
Siri isn’t a game change for apps—it’s a game changer for technology. Give developers a few months to catch up, and they’ll start rolling out some exciting apps that will have you and Siri chatting it up daily.