I've been using my voice to control my telephone since long before Siri was a thing.
Back then you could only ask the iPhone for the time, or to play a song, or to dial a contact. But it worked! And I used it all the time while riding my longboard or bicycle, through the little microphone on the headphones.
I actually used to use voice control on my old Sony Ericsson K790, but that was nightmarish. "Call Adam Perry... no CALL Adam PERRY.... call ADAM PERRY!!"
Since Siri has joined me in my travels, the tasks I perform are much more complex. I use her to read and write text messages or emails almost daily. I dictate notes and reminders to her, and use her to set and change alarms and calendar entries. She tells me the weather and I often even get her to decide where I'm going to pick up lunch, or hardware supplies or to find me a drugstore that's open and positioned along the route I'm traveling.
Having a computer on your person that knows what time it is, what the traffic is like, and where you are at any given moment is tremendously helpful. I often say "Remind me of X when I get to work" and then as soon as I'm within ten meters of the office, PING! My friendly helper helps me take care of tasks when I need her to.
Just yesterday, while riding home on my scooter I asked her to find me Soup. And she very politely offered me several options of places along with their relative distance and direction. "I found a soup restaurant called 'Soups and Stuff' 2.1 kms west of your location, on Adelaide Street. Would you like me to take you there?"
But, I admittedly still think natural voice computing is in it's infancy. Errors are rampant. Siri misunderstands me ALL THE TIME, depending on how loud traffic is around me. And I power through the awkward repetition because I fundamentally believe that this is the future of computing. And HATE pulling my phone out of my pocket and letting it's distraction filled screen get the better of me. And voice computing allows me to get what I need done, without letting the phone dictate what it, and it's myriad of social functions, wants me to do in order to generate ad revenue for it's partners.
This is why (next to the kick ass camera) the most exciting thing to me about this year's Apple announcement, was the Air Pods.
To be clear: YES, they are ugly. And YES, they look VERY easy to loose. But the trade offs they offer: seamless wireless connectivity. Fast syncing and switching between devices. NO WIRES GETTING CAUGHT ON THE HANDLE-BARS OF MY SCOOTER or a door knob of the back of a chair, violently yanking the headphones out of my ears. No messy, tangled, DIRTY WHITE CORD stained blue by raw denim, coiled into the back left pocket of my jeans.
And it's not just the hope of a cable free life it's promising me. But it's the careful attention the devices will pay to me. Accelerometers inside the earbuds, compare the movement of my jaw to the sound signal they are receiving, and tune in more carefully to my intentions and vocalizations. Infrared sensors automatically turn the sound on an off as I plug them into my ears. A special chip designed to ensure the "handshake" between the Headphones and my Watch or my Phone remains unbroken and seamless.
This is computation beginning to seamlessly integrate with the human body in a way that's less obtrusive, less obnoxious and more liberating. No more walking around staring down at a screen trying to navigate to a place or landmark. Just lightly tap twice on the accelerometer enabled ear bud to have Siri perk up instantly, awaiting your query.
I can't wait to get my hands on a pair of this stupid looking things! Can not wait.