Apple’s Siri application, which acts like a virtual personal assistant allowing iPhone 4S users to give run phone functions and applications with voice commands, has been heralded by people around the globe who say that it’s one of the most useful and appealing products they’ve tried in quite some time.
Siri is especially important for Apple. Although the technology itself is nothing new, there are no other products in the wild that perform all of its many functions as effectively as Siri does. More importantly, its chief competitors in the mobile space, including Google, Microsoft, and RIM, have nothing of their own that they can point to as a strong competitor.
But Siri’s value to Apple goes beyond the mobile space. The technology could prove vastly important to Apple’s future, and could very well become an integral component in nearly all the products it sells in the coming years. Read on below to find out why Siri is so important to Apple and its future.
1. It appeals to the enterprise
Apple’s iOS hasn’t always been the most appealing mobile software for the enterprise. The operating system, many companies believe, is still too consumer-focused to make it work in their operations. But with Siri, that could change. As noted, it’s a virtual personal assistant, which means it lets users send e-mails, instant-message friends and set reminders with only their voice. Siri might just be the application enterprise users have been waiting for on iOS.
2. It’s a competitive advantage
Looking around the mobile space, one will find that Apple is the only operating system maker that has been able to launch a voice-command service that works as well as the average consumer or enterprise user would expect. On Android, for example, there are several voice-command services, but they’re third-party apps that don’t work all that well. Google’s voice-command application doesn’t impress too many consumers either. Siri is different. That’s an advantage that could help Apple sell many more iPhones.
3. Can it make its way to Mac OS X?
There is some speculation that Siri could be making its way to Mac OS X. Although Apple won’t confirm that, it seems like the next logical step for the software. Siri is something that can work on several different platforms, and should not be tied to the mobile space. By bringing it to Mac OS X, Apple can finally show that it knows how to deliver voice commands far more effectively than Microsoft. The software giant has tried numerous times in the past, but so far, all of its efforts have fallen short (more on that in a moment).
4. It could control Apple’s future television
According to the latest rumors, Apple is planning to launch a television either late next year or in early 2013 that would come with Siri installed. If that happens, Siri could revolutionize how people interact with TVs. Currently, consumers rely upon remotes to flip through channels and turn up the volume on a show. But with Siri, Apple could make enjoying entertainment all about the voice. It’s a neat concept that could pay off in huge dividends in the future.
Voice Control Is the New Must-Have Mobile Feature
5. All others will look like a copy-cat
Considering Apple has made voice commands a key component in the future of the mobile space, it practically ensures that all other companies, especially RIM, will need to come up with something similar to appeal to its own customers. However, such services will make those companies’ offerings look like copy-cats. That’s not a good thing when it comes to selling handsets.
6. Microsoft can’t stand it
As noted in a previous slide, Microsoft has dealt with serious issues over the years when it comes to voice commands. The company was expected to make voice control in Word a reality, but most of those who have used it in Windows think it’s a joke. Now, with Apple showing how it’s done in the mobile space, Microsoft will need to find a way to respond so that Windows Phone 7 doesn’t look even worse to customers that are already disappointed with its odd design and sub-par features. Siri could very well deal a near-deadly blow to Microsoft in the mobile space in the future even make it look bad in the desktop operating system market.
7. It’s selling iPhone 4S units
Apple has been criticized for only allowing Siri to work in the iPhone 4S. But when it comes to business, it makes sense. Apple’s goal is to sell as many iPhone 4S units as possible, so it can continue to boost revenue and profits. By bundling it with any iPhone, the company would diminish the products value as a generator of new sales and revenue. But by bringing Siri to Apple’s latest handset and eventually to future products Apple can keep customers buying the new, high-margin products, rather than the older devices.
8. It’s becoming a requirement
Apple is a real pain in the neck for the many competing smartphone makers. Apple develops new ideas, delivers new products and creates new standards that customers expect from all other competitors. Apple did it with the touch screen on the iPhone and the large display on the iPad and now, it’s doing it with Siri on the iPhone 4S. Virtually overnight voice commands have officially become a mobile device requirement and Apple is going to ride that advantage for a long time to come.
9. It diminishes Google reliance
In the mobile space, Google has an inordinate amount of control. Aside from Android, the company is a key player when it comes to search and services. But with Siri, all that changes. The application relies heavily upon Apple’s many services, including Reminders and takes attention away from Google’s offerings. Sure, it searches Google when need be, but in most cases, it won’t. Apple is keeping users locked into its services and Google is the company that stands to lose in that scenario.
10. It pushes competitor costs up
As noted, Apple has forced its many competitors to respond to Siri with services of their own. However, that means they’re going to have to invest serious cash to make a voice-command service work as well. Lest one forgets, Apple acquired Siri to get the technology. It didn’t develop it on its own. In order for competitors to catch up they’ll need to make similar acquisitions or spend the millions of dollars and many months of development time trying to come up with something new. In one fell swoop, Apple has pushed competitor costs up. And if that’s not an advantage in the hotly contested mobile market, what is?