Jun 06

The Real Siri


There has been a lot of blab in the press about Siri and how bad it is. How Apple have duped us all into thinking its created a Star Trek fantasy right in the palm of our hands but that it’s all smoke and mirrors. I have already documented my thoughts on this but the other day I thought I would document exactly what I use Siri for on a typical day and her responses- verbatim!

This might seem ponderous but I think this is worth reading just to see that this stuff actually does work in the real world. Even with a dodgey accent like mine. And who knows, after you’ve read it and you’ve seen what actually can and does happen you might be inspired to have a closer look at Siri yourself. Maybe she can help you like she helps me?

Monday 9:45am

As I was pulling out of the driveway I felt the phone vibrate in my pocket, a message had arrived.

I pressed the talk button on my Bluetooth headset;

Me: Do I have any new text messages.
SiriOne new message from John Smith it says I am running 10 minutes late.
Me: Reply, that’s ok see you then.
Siri: Here is your reply to John Smith it says, that’s ok see you then. Ready to send it?
Me: Yes


Following this exchange I wistfully decided to see if I could change the appointment my client had already told me he was going to be late for. At this point it is worth remembering that the phone is still in my pocket and I haven’t touched it or seen it at all.

Me: Change my 10am appointment to “ten past ten” (I actually used those words- a very Anglo Saxon expression that I didn’t expect to be successful.)
Siri: This is a recurring appointment, do you want me to change only this occurrence or all of them?
Me: Just this one.
Siri: Ok, I have changed your appointment to 10:10, are you ready for me to schedule it.
Me: Yes.
Siri: Ok, I scheduled it.

As my wife was away at the time I decided to send her a message. I pressed the talk button on my Bluetooth headset;

Me: Send a message, to my wife good luck today.
Siri: Sending a message to Karyn Willins it says good luck today. Ready to send it.
Me: Yes.

There was a moment in the middle of day when Siri refused to perform the simple task of calling someone.
Me: Call Harry Brown
The phone chirped then silence. Eventually;

Siri:  I am really sorry about this but I can’t take any requests right now, please try again in a little while. 

I persisted but got the same response or the variant, I am sorry Renny but I didn’t understand what you said there.

Now, I knew why this was happening and it had nothing to do with Siri.
Siri needs a fast and solid network and with Optus you get none of these things. It’s got more black spots than a chalkboard in a dark room and it’s slower than a snail on Valium.

Later in the day I was driving to see a client and I needed directions to her house.
Me: Show me the contact details for Mrs Brown.
Siri: Here is that contact.
From here I tapped on the address and it took me to the Maps application. From here it usually gives me directions from my present location but on this occasion it failed to actually find a route. Instead I copied the address to the clipboard and pasted it into my NavFree application.


During one visit I was asked to give a quotation to a client. As I walked out of his office;

Me: When I get home remind me to write a proposal for Peter Hind.
Siri: Here is your reminder for when you get there, it says Write a proposal for Peter Hund. Shall I create it?
Me: Yes. It was close.
Siri: Ok, I’ll remind you. None the wiser of her mistake.


That night, I placed the phone into my bedside charger;

Me: Wake me up at 6.45am
Siri: I am sorry but I don’t know what you mean by Welcome up at 6.45am.
Me: Groan!
I tried again and this time she got it.


I am not John Malkovich flopping about in a high backed chair wearing a linen suit with no socks on.  And I am certainly not Samuel L Jackson and I have no idea what Gazpacho is  (it might be a town in Italy I suppose).

I am just an ordinary person working daily with my iPhone – and Siri, with all her beta issues, works right along side  me and she does a pretty good thank you very much.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/the-real-siri/


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  1. Two very good items Renny…used the Read in Peace for your article!


  2. Great case study. Thanks for sharing this. It’s good to be reminded that this is still early days for such exciting and useful technology. It can only get better.

    • Sabrina on October 21, 2013 at 10:52 AM
    • Reply

    Hi has anyone tried to introduce siri to someone blind and with limited fine motor control and bedridden? Any feedback on IOS 7? I am just about to explore this and Renny’ s diary or using siri is encouraging.

    1. I am fortunate to have close contact with the visually impaired and Siri, along with the Accesability functions built into the iPhone and iMac are considered some of the best on any device by the blindness community.

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