Sunday, October 20, 2013

Your New Best Friend

The new operating system for Apple mobile devices was released about a month ago and to date some 70% of all who regularly use an iPhone or iPad have downloaded the upgraded OS7 software.  I waited a while as I have found that even with the most diligent testing and pre-evaluation, whenever a new version of software comes out there are always bugs.  This was true with the release of OS7.0.0 but after the release of OS7.0.2 most, if not all the bugs, have been addressed.

There are several improvements that OS7 provides even to older models of the iPhone and iPad.  For example, I am still using an iPhone 4S and have noticed significant improvements in speed and accessibility.  Perhaps the most visible, or should I say audible, improvements are in Siri, the personal assistant app that uses voice recognition.  The number and complexity of the tasks that Siri can now perform has been greatly expanded.

For those who do not use voice recognition applications like Siri, you are missing out on some very cool and helpful features of your phone or tablet.  It should be noted that many of the features of Siri, an application only available on Apple products, are available on other platforms as well.  For example, Google also has very good voice recognition applications and those can be used on both Apple and non-Apple devices.

The new Siri is very reminiscent of scenes from the bridge of the Enterprise in the iconic Star Trek TV series.  Captain Kirk was always in some dialog with the onboard computer.  For example Kirk would command, “Computer, lay in a course for the Orion Nebula.”  The computer would respond accordingly and off the ship would go.  All very cool.  Today, some 40 years later, you can ask Siri to give you directions to Aunt Millie’s house and up will come a map and a GPSapp will lead you there.

The new version of Siri does much more.  You can ask for math problem solutions like the square root of a number.  You can even speak a series of numbers and get a total.  The list of numbers is displayed so you can check to make sure all were included in the total.

If you use a calendar on your smart phone or iPad and forget when you set an appointment in the future, you can ask Siri to find it.  “Siri, when am I meeting with John Smith?”  The response will provide all the meetings you have scheduled on your calendar with John Smith.  Of course, you can ask Siri to schedule a meeting with John Smith at a specific date and time.  If Siri finds you already have a meeting at that time Siri will indicate the conflict.

You can dictate and send emails, instant messages and ask Siri to remind you of a meeting or appointment.  When turning in for the night you can ask Siri to wake you in the morning.  Many don’t use Siri because they forget it is available.  You might want to give it a try.

Now, if Siri can wake me up in the morning, is a fresh cup of coffee out of the question?

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