Freshly Squeezed OpEd: The Siri Wars

Oct 21, 2021 | OpEd | 0 comments

Because of disability issues, it’s easier for me to use my voice than to type. This means that I lean quite heavily and often on Siri.Though not the sharpest crayon out there, it’ll do.

Most of us have likely experienced the odd situation when someone says “Hey Siri’ on the TV and it triggers a device in your room. One or two times is amusing. Repeatedly is a nuisance.

But i live in a studio apartment and have all of my devices located within a short distance of each other. I normally don’t dictate to my iMac as I hate wearing gaming headsets, so that’s turned off. But I do have an iPadAir 4 and an SE 2020 in the room which are activated.

With my health issues, once I’m in bed, I’m in bed. But Siri makes that no bother. Or should. If I come up with an idea, want to listen to some music, or request a specific podcast as I drift off, all I have to do is say the magic words

This is where the wars begin. And there are a couple different ones between my electronic offspring.

Battle Uno. My SE 2020 sits on my nightstand. My iPadAir 4 is across the room on my desk.The primary war is which device will beat out the other to respond. Some times the SE wins, sometimes the iPadAir. I initially thought that this might be decided by the way my head was facing. If I’m facing the nightstand, the SE would be closest and respond. If I was facing the other way, my voice would echo off of the wall and be picked up by the iPadAir across the room.

Au contraire. There is no rhyme or reason to the outcome.The two devices are like little children vying for their parents attention and scoring brownie points.

For example, the other night I wanted to hear something mellow to help me drift off to the land of nod. I was certain the SE would respond but the iPadAir got in first. (Ironically, I had left the speaker volume on the iPadAir maxed. So instead of a relaxing lullaby, I was in the middle of an impromptu kegger.)

Me: Hey Siri.

Siri: The SE responds with a double tone. The iPadAir responds by saying “Hmmmm?” (Haven’t figured that one out. Perhaps they went to different schools).

Me: Play “No Body, No Crime’ by Taylor Swift.

Siri: A Faraday cage is an enclosure used to block electromagnetic fields. A Faraday shield may be formed by a continuous covering of conductive material, or in the case of a Faraday cage, by a mesh of such materials. Would you like to hear more?


Battle Dos. Excuse me but did you hear what I just said? There are times when you have a conversation that goes something like this:

Me: Hey Siri, make a note.

Siri: OK, what do you want it to say?

Me: The Siri Wars.

Siri: OK. The cereal stores.

After Apple recently released their astounding SoC chips, I had hopes that getting Siri to at least catch up to Echo and friends would be accomplished. Nope.For whatever reason Apple just cannot grab that brass ring. I hope they achieve this sooner than later. It’s one thing for a friend to misunderstand a conversation but I paid a decent price for my electronic cohort. I’d like it to have better grades or a higher IQ.


©2021 Frank Petrie


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