Siri in Control - Implications of a Siri API
Imagine a future scenario where Apple provides developers with an API into Siri. What might be the implications to users?
1) A death-knell for a certain class of apps
As users start to interact with their devices through Siri, would Apple drive the UI and UX to the point where users care less about the underlying app? I enjoy interacting with Path, TweetBot, WeightBot because of the exception UI. Going forward, what if I told Siri “I stepped on the scale and weighed in at 160lbs”, and then asked Siri to show me my progress against my goal. How would this be displayed and communicated to me? Would I be interacting with WeightBot? Similarly, what if I wanted to search through my notes stored in Evernote? Would I explicitly need to ask Siri to use Evernote as my information repository for the query? Would Apple allow a class of apps to register in with Siri as information sources similar to how Siri integrates with Wolfram Alpha? Again, how would this be communicated back to me? I started thinking about this after a conversation with a colleague at work who has been an Apple evangelist since the early ’90s. He recently upgraded from an iPhone 3GS to an iPhone 4S and I asked him how he liked iOS5 and Siri. He mentioned that he didn’t even realize that iOS5 introduced the Reminders app, because although he interacts with Siri daily to record and retrieve his to-do list, he has never explicitly launched Reminders!
2) The death of apps
Rewind to 2009 when Steve Ballmer spoke of Apple’s fragmentation of the Internet experience to provide its iPhone users with a decent user experience: “Let’s face it, the Internet was designed for the PC. The Internet is not designed for the iPhone. That’s why they’ve got 75,000 applications — they’re all trying to make the Internet look decent on the iPhone.” (Steve Ballmer to Jessica Mintz, Associated Press). Fast forward to 2011 pre-Siri: folders of apps, requiring a fair amount of our attention (Evernote for notes, TweetBot for twitter, ooh I need to add a task to Omnifocus. Where was I, oh yeah - back to Tweetbot etc.) and a whole lot of swiping and use of the Home button. And now think forward to the present moment and the allure of a single interface to manage your interaction with your precious. At what point do I start caring less about the underlying apps? At what point would apps devolve into Siri plug-ins?
Siri in Control. Is it such a bad thing? How do you see things playing out?