Siri – Is anyone still using you?

Is anyone still using Apple’s Siri?

Upon release Siri was the application that was highlighted as the reason to get the iPhone 4S, indeed, in a way it had to be – the rest of the phone was just pretty much the same, so goes the old adage ‘if you got it, flaunt it’ – There was little else to flaunt so Siri got pushed out front and centre. But is anyone, on a regular, or even semi-regular basis using Siri? I asked people across two social platforms, and search one more and the results weren’t encouraging.

This isn’t to say that Siri is a terrible idea, a bad piece of innovation, or a reflection on the technology itself, quite the opposite, Siri is fantastic – just that while it’s a useful feature, perhaps talking to your phone in a crowded restaurant, train carriage or at your desk isn’t the most endearing of  ways to look to complete strangers (think bluetooth units, clipped to your ear).

is anyone still using siri

But perhaps what Ben Gulak, of Dragon’s Den fame, said when discussing his Uni-wheeled motorcycle and comparing it to the Segway – the reason why the Segway wasn’t popular is that people ‘need to look cool using it’, and they didn’t.

It may be a an unscientific poll, but I recently asked on Twitter, Facebook and searched through Reddit to see if anyone that had Siri on their phone was still using it.

The results, were… well they weren’t positive. Twitter: Zero responses, Reddit…. nothing good. and well, look if the good people of Reddit aren’t having a great experience you know where this is going already, right? And Facebook: nearly a dozen responses – not one of those people were still using Siri.

Amongst the complaints from the Facebook respondents was that Siri was slow, didn’t understand what you wanted, and that “it’s too embarrassing to use in public”.

So is Siri a lost cause? Is Siri doomed to the distant memories of Apple Fanboys, and consigned to the become the Betamax of the mobile age?

Not at all.

One comment from the Facebook feedback that did get me thinking is all the other features and places, and Apple  units that it Siri could be useful for. The same person that same it’s too embarrassing to use Siri in public, said it would be great to be able to use it at home – and that, if you think about it, is where Apple should have put this feature off off the bat (although maybe that wouldn’t have gotten them enough people using it).

For a smoother, richer experience, the ability for one to be at home, by oneself, or with family, and have voice activated starting and stopping of television programming, internet searching, and music playing, well, I honestly can’t think of anything more convenient. There are dozens and dozens of scenarios where in-home usage would be more convenient – everything from ‘how do I get chilli out of my eye’, to ‘how do I get red wine out of the carpet’ – (seconds after it happens) right through to just being too lazy to move from the couch to the computer, and asking Siri a question, or getting ‘her’ to turn on iTunes. (Being too lazy to move from the couch to the computer, is such a firstworldproblem, but I digress) So the next place for Siri, could be the home – especially if Siri is bundled with AppleTV.

But where to next for this piece of software? Even if we asked, we’d be unlikely to get an answer out of Apple, so at the risk of sounding trite, has anyone asked Siri?

India announces $35 tablet and the iPhone 4S

$35 tablet

Manufacturers in India have announced a $35 tablet, designed to get computing power to the masses.

The developer of the world’s cheapest tablet, Datawind, is reportedly selling the tablets to the government for roughly $45 per unit, and $35 for students and teachers. Regular readers will know from my previous post, that I thought India would be the obvious growth path of the future for tablet growth. I also  mentioned that I believed that  Apple may not be successful with it’s higher price points, but cheaper rivals like Android may be more successful as they have cheaper price points.

By comparison the cheapest iPad is $499, or  14 times more expensive than Datawind’s tablet, and the cheapest Android tablet the KindleFire at $199 is nearly six times more expensive.

Will Datawind’s tablet have all of the features of the iPad? No, not by a long shot, but the question has to be asked “Will the majority of the (impoverished) Indian public really care?” Will they lament the fact they can’t play Angry Birds, or Fruit Ninja? Almost definitely not, although that doesn’t mean that developers like Rovio (the makers of Angry Birds) may develop for the tablet anyway.

From the Washington Post:

Datawind says it can make about 100,000 units a month at the moment, not nearly enough to meet India’s hope of getting its 220 million children online.

Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal called the announcement a message to all children of the world.

“This is not just for us. This is for all of you who are disempowered,” he said. “This is for all those who live on the fringes of society.”

Despite a burgeoning tech industry and decades of robust economic growth, there are still hundreds of thousands of Indians with no electricity, let alone access to computers and information that could help farmers improve yields, business startups reach clients, or students qualify for university.

The launch — attended by hundreds of students, some selected to help train others across the country in the tablet’s use — followed five years of efforts to design a $10 computer that could bridge the country’s vast digital divide.

“People laughed, people called us lunatics,” ministry official N.K. Sinha said. “They said we are taking the nation for a ride.”

Although the $10 goal wasn’t achieved, the Aakash has a color screen and provides word processing, Web browsing and video conferencing. The Android 2.2-based device has two USB ports and 256 megabytes of RAM. Despite hopes for a solar-powered version — important for India’s energy-starved hinterlands — no such option is currently available.

iPhone 4S

Most of what needs to be said about the iPhone 4S has been said by technology bloggers and writers around the world already. The only thing I’d like to add is that Apple no longer looks like it’s leading the innovation it kick started. With more agile competitors, and more competitors in general, Apple’s once a year, or longer, release cycle doesn’t seem like innovation and leadership so much as it looks like it’s playing catch-up.  Of course, this isn’t writing Apple off – not by a long shot – but it’s interesting to note that there wasn’t nearly as much fan-fare and media attention in general about Apple’s latest release once the details had actually been released. There was more hype and build up, than reality. Interesting times for Apple.

Tablets in 2016.


Juniper Research has released an interesting report predicting the sales and shipments of tablets – including iPad and newcomers like XOOM, KindleFire, and the seemingly stalled Samsung tablet offering – by 2016.

Western Europe and North America are the biggest predicted ‘one stop markets’ – but the really interesting take away is the size of predicted demand coming out of India. Small, as an overall market participant by 2016, it’ll be interesting to see how it grows by, say, 2020, or 2025 as demand grows and, presumably, for non-Apple products, prices fall.


“We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas” – Steve Jobs

The biggest news of this week so far is that Apple is suing Samsung for ‘copying’ and ‘stealing’ from them regarding their mobile iOS. Wow.

apple logo

Well that’s going to take a while, a case that big isn’t going to be settled overnight, that’s for sure.


We should probably watch some youtube until it goes to court… like this interview from 1994…with Steve Jobs… talking about how Apple has been “shameless” when it comes to stealing great ideas.

Yeah, that court case is going to work out just great.

5 great infographics about digital issues

More and more infographics are becoming the norm to explain complex issues in fun and design rich ways. Today I present you with 5 great infographics that have recently been produced.

How content farms work

PCMag, has put together a stunning inforgraphic on the topic of content farms. Content farms, for those who don’t know, are companies that specifically produce content to appeal to search engines and closely match high frequency search terms. They work, essentially, on the basis that enough pages on one topic – each one slightly different of course – which has a high enough search string will deliver enough pages to make viable amounts of money from advertising revenues.

Highlighting Demand Media, one of the world’s most prolific spam content farms, their business model is actually quite ingenious, as they only produce pages which they estimate will yield positive advertising revenue over a five year period. How many pages could they possibly be creating? According to the infographic, their goal is to produce up to 30,000 per day. Regular readers of this blog will know that Google has changed its algorithms recently to try and bring ‘genuine’ information to the forefront, and lessen the impact of these content farms. But it’s going to be tough. At 1 million articles per year, that’s rough 18 years of New York Times articles.

Get the full size infographic here.

Noob guide to online marketing

Unbounce is helping all prospective online marketers (including those who want to become a little more offait with it) by producing a stunning infographic. Titled “The Noob guide to Online Marketing”, and resembling a dart board with scoring slate undearneath, it truly is a sight to behold. The guide is more detailed than many might have hoped – lest their bosses wonder why they haven’t implemented whole sections of it – but it is a striking piece of graphic design, with the holy-grail of online marketing – the landing page – smack-bang in the middle as it should be. Below, I’ve included the top half of the infographic, for the full version, visit Unbounce’s website, link below.

The full inforgraphic can be seen and downloaded here.

History of Social Media

In November, 2010, Skloog released what many regard to be the quintessential infographic of the year. It was an infographic displaying the history of Social Media. Social Media is being embraced more and more by companies ranging from those who you would expect to be involved – teen and youth focused brands, right through to more ‘suits an’ boots’ organisations such as banks and insurers.

I’ve highlighted, what I consider to be the ‘best’ growth time for social media – 2004 to 2010, however the full infographic is too large to put on this blog. Click on the image below to see it’s full size, or go here for the original which spans from 550BC to 2010. It’s worth noting also that despite this being produced just four months ago – the latest entrant, Google Buzz, has already been withdrawn from the market.

Australian mobile phone usage

One of the hardest things, as an Australian marketer is to find decent, and up-to-date information about Australian mobile phone usage trends. I nearly jumped out of my chair when I found the gem below, which has been cropped, (posted in full here) from

Top mobile trends of 2010

Perhaps a little late to the party, the inforgaphic below highlights some of the ‘big stats’ from 2010. Nothing too surprising here, except perhaps the rise and rise of mobile spending – that is, the actual dollar amount spent through mobile devices. That section of the infographic is below, the full infographic is available here.