7 Ways Siri Could Be a Better Personal Assistant

Siri Problems

iPhone 4S users,

Can we all agree that Siri has been a bit underwhelming?

While Siri is arguably the most advanced voice-powered personal assistant on the mobile market, there is still a lot left to be desired.

I often use Siri to send text messages, perform Google searches, set timers, and get directions — works great for all of the above — but there are some things that I would expect Siri to do and find myself surprised that it is incapable of doing.

Below are seven features that Apple should add to Siri to make it live up to the hype. Apple has admitted that Siri is still in its Beta stage, so let’s hope these changes are coming to Siri soon:

  1. Open apps. If you tell Siri to “open camera” or “open Photos,” it is incapable of doing so. At the moment, Siri can only perform tasks within the Siri interface. So if you tell it to send an email or write a text message, it will do so within the Siri interface and send it off without ever opening the app. But if you ask it to open any app, it will tell you that it does not have permission.
  2. Deeper integration with native apps. Siri interacts well with native iPhone apps. You can send messages, send emails, add calendar items and get directions within Siri. However, I would like to see Siri more deeply integrated within these applications. For example, it would be great if I could tell Siri when to alert me about a new calendar item, or to drop a pin at my current location in the Maps application.
  3. Interact with third-party apps. At the moment, Siri can’t interact with any third-party apps from the App Store, although I predict that Apple will introduce API’s for developers to incorporate Siri commands into their applications. I would love to be able to tell Siri to add a task in my Appigo Todo app, to add a new station in Pandora, or to Shazam the song that is playing in the background. The ability to interact with third-party apps would make Siri truly groundbreaking.
  4. Adjust settings. I wish Siri could change my iPhone settings with a simple voice command. Imagine telling Siri to adjust your screen brightness, or to connect to the nearest Wi-Fi network, or to turn on Airplane Mode.
  5. Read notifications. Currently, Siri can only read your latest text message to you. But I would love for Siri to be able to read all of my notifications to me. “Read unread emails” should prompt Siri to read my latest emails aloud, and “Read Facebook notifications” should prompt it to tell me who recently liked my statuses or commented on my wall.
  6. Say bad words. If you say a curse word, Siri will often understand it and repeat it, but if someone sends you a text message with the word “sh*t” or “f*ck” in it, Siri will simply say nothing, which is a bit confusing. Adult iPhone users should have the option to allow Siri to say bad words.
  7. iPhone 4 compatibility. Don’t expect this to ever be permitted by Apple, but I don’t see a reason why Siri shouldn’t be available on iPhone 4. Hackers have proven that Siri can be ported to iPhone 4 with no problems.

    Unfortunately, Apple often restricts software features to new hardware models, most likely in an effort to encourage customers to buy more of their products. This reeks of the time Apple prevented its multitasking feature from being added to the iPhone 3G, even though jailbreakers proved that the 3G could handle multitasking just fine.

What features would you like to see in the next version of Siri? Please add your recommendations to the comments.

5 thoughts on “7 Ways Siri Could Be a Better Personal Assistant”

  1. I would agree with your suggestions for feature updates. However, I don’t believe that Siri will respond to your commands with a good understanding of context every time. While two humans miscommunicate sometime or the other, is it reasonable to expect a machine (as smart as it is)to understand us 100%?

  2. I don’t understand the obsession with getting our tech to ‘understand’ us. Fine in labs to work on it but don’t release it until it works 100% properly. Siri is a bit of fun when you first get the phone but who honestly uses it after the first week?

  3. I would love it if she wasn’t such an airhead. 80% of what I ask for is misunderstood and she looks for random stuff which doesn’t spud anything like what was said. There should be a teaching tool for Siri… So she can understand her “master’s” announciation.


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