Apple’s New Siri Feature is Much More Than Simple Voice Commands

As expected, one of the stars of Apple’s iPhone event yesterday was its new Siri feature. The project, which the rumor mill dubbed Assistant, materialized on stage as a digital personal assistant for future iPhone users.

Even with its impressive demo yesterday, many folks have written Siri off as another failed attempt at a voice command feature. TUAW did some digging and found some evidence that it’s much, much more than that…

Whether the hardware on Apple’s latest handset is a disappointment or not is a conversation for another time. But the fact that some folks believe that Siri can be lumped in with other voice command offerings is absolutely absurd.

The folks over at TUAW have gotten ahold of a list of example phrases that you will be able to use with Apple’s new Siri feature. Here is a small excerpt:

Address Book

Querying Contacts

  • What’s Michael’s address?
  • What is Susan Park’s phone number?
  • When is my wife’s birthday?
  • Show Jennifer’s home email address

Finding Contacts

  • Show Jason Russell
  • Find people named Park
  • Who is Michael Manning?


  • My mom is Susan Park
  • Michael Manning is my brother
  • Call my brother at work


Adding Events

  • Set up a meeting at 9
  • Set up a meeting with Michael at 9
  • Meet with Lisa at noon
  • Set up a meeting about hiring tomorrow at 9am
  • New appointment with Susan Park Friday at 3
  • Schedule a planning meeting at 8:30 today in the boardroom

Changing events

  • Move my 3pm meeting to 4:30
  • Reschedule my appointment with Dr. Manning to next Monday at 9am
  • Add Lisa to my meeting with Jason
  • Cancel the budget review meeting

Asking about events

  • What does the rest of my day look like?
  • What’s on my calendar for Friday?
  • When is my next appointment?
  • When am I meeting with Michael?
  • Where is my next meeting?


Setting Alarms

  • Wake me up tomorrow at 7am
  • Set an alarm for 6:30am
  • Wake me up in 8 hours
  • Change my 6:30 alarm to 6:45
  • Turn off my 6:30 alarm
  • Delete my 7:30 alarm

Checking the Clock

  • What time is it?
  • What time is it in Berlin?
  • What is today’s date?
  • What’s the date this Saturday?

Using a Timer

  • Set the timer for ten minutes
  • Show the timer
  • Pause the timer
  • Resume
  • Reset the timer
  • Stop it


Sending Messages

  • Email Lisa about the trip
  • Email Jennifer about the change in plans
  • New email to Susan Park
  • Mail Dad about the rent check
  • Email Dr. Manning and say I got the forms, thanks
  • Mail Lisa and Jason about the party and say I had a great time
  • Checking Messages

Check email

  • Any new email from Michael today?
  • Show new mail about the lease
  • Show the email from Lisa yesterday

Responding to Messages

  • Reply Dear Susan sorry about the late payment
  • Call him at work

And that’s just a small sample. You can get the full list here (it’s huge). Also keep in mind that these are just “examples” of phrases that you can say to Siri. It can understand hundreds of other commands.

Perhaps the most important thing about Siri is its ability to accurately comprehend common language. The folks that went hands-on with the iPhone 4S yesterday were blown away by how spot-on its voice recognition was.

I don’t know about you guys, but this seems leaps and bounds ahead of the competition in terms of voice command features. And oh yeah, Apple is still referring to Siri as being in Beta, so the service can only get better from here.

What’s your take on Apple’s new Siri feature?