Siri, the voice recognition and personal assistant software for the iPhone 4S, may be one of the most impressive things to hit smart phones since the original iPhone, but what if they added that technology to Apple TV?
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SiriTV - Could it Be?
Ask someone ten years ago if they could see a clear path that we could be taking towards a 2001: A Space Oddysey-like future, and they'd probably call you crazy and walk away. Nowadays, such things have become a lot more clear, and it's almost threatening to see how remarkably close we're coming to the sorts of technology we could only dream about just half a century ago.
Admittedly, with Nasa stopping the shuttle program, our commuter plane to orbit won't be docking to Strauss's Blue Danube anytime soon, so 2001 may not have been the best example. With the introduction of Siri for the iPhone 4S, however, we finally get something not unlike the Enterprise' computer with voice interface.
Of course, all of this is courtesy of Apple.
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What Would It Do?
If you haven't heard much about Siri, it's the brand new talking robot voice that Apple has programmed into their iPhone 4S. You can talk to it, ask it questions, send e-mails with it, get directions; pretty much an endless supply of things that are totally voice controlled- all you need to do is push a single button, telling Siri to start listening. She'll reply as a human would, and you can ask questions as a human would; there's no need to follow strict talking formulas such as with voice recognition in cars and older cell phones.
If you think about the implications of such a device on a television, the practicality becomes much more clear. "Siri, could you record the next episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic for me?", or "Shut off the TV after my son watches for half an hour every day" are just a couple of the incredibly useful commands that could be delivered without the need for tedious navigation of page after page of menus with a remote. But the functionality wouldn't stop at television-related commands. Imagine that, like with an iPhone- you could hook up this new Apple TV to the lights and electronics in your house, use the regular functions of the phone itself, and use the scheduling/message sending capabilities of Siri, all from your TV.
"Siri, shut off the lights downstairs please? What's the temperature outside right now? When is my appointment with the doctor today?"
You could do all of this before you've even had your morning cup of coffee, or after you've snuggled into bed- no need get things out of their docks or fire up a lap or desktop to do any of this stuff anymore. Just say the word, and Siri will take care of it for you. It would be a true revolution in home living situations, assuming it was affordable.
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Logistics - Is It Real? When Will It Come Out? How Expensive?
The actual concrete facts behind SiriTV are few and far between, but an inside source is apparently reporting a few things about it:
- Rumor has it that it will be it's own, new kind of television. This information is taken from the recent biography about Steve Jobs, in which it is claimed Jobs was working on something like this.
- In the biography, Jobs claimed to have "finally cracked" the code to make the simplest user interface possible for a TV that could sync seamlessly to the iCloud.
- A New York Times piece is claiming that Apple is simply waiting to hear back on the cost of flat panel screens before they begin building this seemingly revolutionary device.
So, with the first models theoretically being built later this year/early next year, is it possible that we could see the first true SiriTV unveiled at a press conference sometime in 2012? If so, we may be a lot closer than we think to finally having the technology that Steve Jobs "cracked" before his untimely death in October, and at this point it seems less a matter of if and more a matter of when.
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Can Apple Make It Work?
The success of Apple since the introduction of the iPod is completely undeniable. Every single thing they put out, no matter how ridiculous or unneeded it may at first seem, has succeeded and become a staple for the industry at large, so it's hard to make a case for the SiriTV idea's failure. That being said, there is one major gripe we've seen come out of the announcement:
"In the iPhone 4S iteration of Siri, your device must be connected to the Internet for voice commands to work. How much Siri functionality can you reasonably expect to have if you lose connectivity for a few hours?" ~ IanPaul, PCWorld
Honestly though, I can't imagine this will be an issue. If your internet is out, you can't expect about 50% of the technology you have to work anyway, so what's the use complaining about it now? Why wasn't this brought up back when game consoles required internet connectivity to play online? It comes off as a moot issue to me, but perhaps a few of you have some thoughts on this.
The only other thing I can see getting in the way is the price. It's guaranteed to be over $1000 since it will be an HDTV, but if they can't keep the price below $1500, it may not be received to well. HDTVs are getting lower and lower in price, and if Apple can't compete, they'll be left in the dust.
That being said, I said the same thing about the iPad.