Cue the ‘Why so Siri-us’ jokes.
The rumors of Apple launching an all out assault on Samsung and Sony’s home front with a new Apple TV refuse to die down, with the WSJ reporting that Apple execs have been in long discussions with media executives over the future of television. This comes after the entire blogosphere has already dipped its ink in the rumors, dubbing an Apple TV as the next logical step in the company’s all conquering agenda of disrupting every industry in the world. It already has the hardware, the technology, and most importantly, the sheer balls to take on the world’s TV manufacturers after hits that include every product on your Christmas wishlist.
Then the Gizmodo weighed in today that the Siri might actually be a beta-technology meant for much, much bigger uses.
At present, Apple is collecting millions of queries, testing its technology on thousands of accentsand dealing with all manner of crazy requests. Take all that data, and it puts Apple in a perfect position from which to develop a voice recognition system to beat them all.
In effect: with the Apple TV and prospective future products, you could very soon be talking to your TV instead of getting a finger workout on the remote, courtesy of Siri’s wonderful voice-recognition technology.
Not that this is a revolutionary thought. Grab a XBox Kinect and you can do the same, but the experience is akin to watching a Michael Bay movie without CGI: it’s uncomfortable, cumbersome, and frightfully annoying.
Siri, though, is no Kinect. Even though there is considerable room for improvement, you can’t dispute that it is a remarkable piece of technology, miles ahead of the competition. With Siri in your television sets, you’re one step closer to playing out your Minority Report fantasies in real life. Say “Comedy Central” to change the channel, “Volume Up” to increase the volume, and “Power Off” to, well, switch off your awesome Apple TV (not that you would want to, fellow Appleroid).
Talking to your TV is one of those ideas that sounds wonderful on paper like Waterworld or Velvet Revolver, but might not pan out to be so in real life. Imagine having to talk out loud every goddamn time you want to change the channel or lower the volume. Grab a date home, put on 500 Days of Summer or some other Romantic crap, and when you’re just getting hot and heavy, imagine turning to the TV and saying out loud “Siri, Power Off! Switch Off! Now!”. Awkward.
I jest though. Apple isn’t dumb to take what is essentially a passive, vegetative-state inducing form of entertainment and upturn it into a more active, engaging medium. The TV remote exists for a reason: to help you change channels, silently. It’s non-intrusive, takes little effort, and is, for the most part, quite effective, if at times, a little slow.
But it can also be severely limiting for the television of the future that Apple has (probably) planned. Trying surfing the internet with a TV remote or searching for the sixth season of Seinfeld.
This will be, of course, where Siri steps in, offering an alternative navigation and control mode that works through voice recognition. Throw in active synchronization with your schedule (pulled from your iPhone), and genre-preferences (through Facebook), and you could have a TV that doubles up as an entertainment platform pulling in content from across the length and breadth of the internet to show you just what you want to watch.
(I could write another article here on the death of serendipitous discovery and spontaneity, but I won’t, not until we’re still at the speculation stage).
You can’t entirely remove the physical remote though. You’ll need its silent, unobtrusive operation. But it’ll work more as a tool to complement what Siri has to offer, a loyal Robin to Siri’s Batman, to make a bad analogy.