Apple yesterday announced the iPhone 4S, and while it remains visually identical to the iPhone 4, it does pack some powerful new software in the form of 'personal assistant' Siri.

Ever felt that your smartphone doesn't do enough, but can't justify the price of a person assistant or butler? Well Apple has been thinking long and hard about you, and hopes that Siri - available exclusively on the iPhone 4S - will act as your own digital secretary.


By speaking to the phone - more on why I find this odd in a minute - users can arrange meetings, set alarms, get driving directions, write text messages and conduct internet searches. The faithful phone-butler Siri will efficiently carry out the request, and talk back if more information is required.

It sounds very clever and I'm sure many engineers have worked long into the night to perfect it, but I worry that no one will actually use it. The iPhone 3GS and 4 both have Voice Control, a sort of dumbed down Siri that can be asked to play music, but I can safely say I've never used it. Not once.

I bet it works very well, but I just don't see the point. I don't want to talk to my phone when there's no one on the other end. Worse still, Siri talks back like it's an actual person and refers to itself as 'I'.

Apple must think that in iWorld all anyone does is go for morning runs, meet for coffee and think about the weather. The latter may be true for most Brits, but these are mundane events that we can either remember ourselves, or enter into the phone manually.

Seeing J.A.R.V.I.S. in the 'Iron Man' films was cool, because it was so far removed from reality that we never thought we'd be actually using it, and that's how I want this kind of futuristic man-servant technology to stay - in films.

Does Apple really expect us to walk around talking to our iPhones? On a crowded train would you honestly sit there asking your iPhone to arrange meetings for you, or tell you how fast 60mph is in furlongs per fortnight? And the latter would only work if you had a data connection, which on a train you probably won't anyway.

I love modern technology, I really do, but we're getting lazy. Want to go for coffee with Bob? Type it into your phone yourself; no one is so busy that they can't spend 30 seconds typing in a calendar event. And how accurate is the speech recognition? Will it work with strong accents? Will we all start talking like monosyllabic drones? Of course it works beautifully in the Apple demonstration, but I'd be interested to know how it fares in the real world with background noise and regional accents.

One benefit I can see is for those who are partially sighted; as an accessibility feature Siri is a great idea, helping people who can't clearly read the screen, or who find typing difficult, but I'm sorry, it's no more than that.

We'll all use Siri for 10 minutes and it doesn't matter if we're blown away by it or think it's stupid, we'll never use it again.

Having said that, I can't wait for to appear and entertain us with hilariously inappropriate messages sent to the wrong contact.

Will you use Siri? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.