I have never owned any Apple product! Now there’s a statement that should draw gasps of disbelief from you. This was not because I had any particular dislike of the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone or the iPad but because I found that they always seemed to hit the market at a price that made them to expensive for me to try them.
I have of course come across all of these objects as they are to be found almost anywhere these days at any time. I have seen their functionality and admired their design. I was impressed by the range of Apps that the iPhone had and the ease of use of these Apps. But something told me not to buy or contract any of them and I therefore remained outside the worldwide loop of Apple aficionados.
Last night though I was at a meal with several of my colleagues to celebrate two of us retiring (me being one!) and one leaving for pastures new. I was sitting next to a colleague who showed me her new iPhone 4. She switched on Siri, the voice activated assistant and told me to ask for the latest weather details.
Siri thought for a short while and then came back to me with the details of the weather for our area for the next few hours. I watched (and listened) transfixed. I had seen a video of Siri at work on YouTube but had not been this close to seeing the real thing. This to me was a great moment.
In Siri I see the real potential of the mobile phone as a fast track information system. It does not need text to act and can work efficiently to provide a range of information. It can be used by young and old. Incredibly it is just the start of voice activated technology on phones. It is also yet another example of how Apple has been so powerfully influenced by Star Trek.
I wonder if the young Steve Jobs (who is almost contemporary with me ) sat at home and marvelled at the ability for a human to talk to a computer that could talk back at him and provide information. Like so much of the design of the Apple products it seems to me that we are living in the early part of the 21st century besotted by objects that have their origins (in terms of idea) in the mass media of the 1960’s U.S.A.
Siri has certainly convinced me that this technology is a powerful step forward. I may even become the owner (or user) of an iPhone at long last!