December 06, 2011, 2:30 PM — Upon first blush, Siri, the virtual assistant built into the iPhone 4S, is certainly impressive. You speak naturally, and Siri figures out what you're trying to say, and then does just what you want it to. Well, most of the time, anyway.
The more you use Siri, though, the more obvious its shortcomings become. Here are a few improvements we'd like Apple to make in Siri 2.0—or whenever it decides to pull down that unsightly "beta" label.
Change Settings: Ask Siri to turn off Wi-Fi or turn on Bluetooth, and it simply won't understand. Of course, asking Siri to, say, enable Airplane Mode could potentially prove troublesome, since the technology requires an Internet connection to work its magic—meaning you couldn't necessarily use Siri to turn Airplane Mode off once it's enabled. But navigating through the Settings app to toggle Bluetooth off or on requires a minimum of four taps—it seems like just the kind of task Siri could handle with aplomb, if only its developers would teach it how.
Tweet Maker: When you attempt to post an update to Twitter via Siri, the assistant knows what you want it to do, but still declines: "I can't send Tweets for you. Sorry about that." Given that iOS 5 includes systemwide Twitter support, and given that Siri already understands the instruction—even though it refuses to follow through—this seems like an easy improvement to make. We'd also be delighted if Siri could take a cue from Tweet Speaker and read tweets from your timeline aloud—sometimes you just want to catch up on Twitter while you're driving.
Notification Integration: We have high hopes that Siri will one day support some sort of integration with non-Apple apps (see below). But Cupertino could enable some degree of such support without requiring third-party developers to write even a single new line of code, if only Siri could read incoming notifications when you asked it to do so. Perhaps a single instruction to Siri—such as "Read new notifications as they arrive"—could let you enable the mode when you're in the car; "Stop reading new notifications" could turn the feature off again. That way, you could keep your eyes on the road and know the moment it was your turn in Words With Friends.