I've been using Siri on and off since I got my hands on my own iPhone 4S. I was originally excited about the possibilities of reading my e-mails, sending texts, sending e-mails, and more, all while driving. Unfortunately, while it's fun to talk with Siri and show it off to others, there are still many reasons why the software is still in beta, and not truly ready for prime time. I have detailed my top five below:
1. Siri doesn't observe the silent rule: I use my iPhone at night, while lying in bed. When in that mode, I usually turn the ringer off, and lower the volume on the phone itself by playing a video and then muting the audio. Unfortunately, Siri still doesn't care and thanks to Apple integrating a microphone key into the on-screen keyboard, one mistype and you hear a tone. This tone isn't quiet either, and tends to disturb others that may be sleeping around me. Also, if Siri is talking, pressing the volume buttons has no affect on how loud or soft Siri talks.
2. Siri needs to use U.S. English and be in the U.S. if you want to look for businesses, maps, and traffic: I like to change up the voices that Siri uses to talk to me. However, if you use anything but U.S. English, you can't even ask it where the pizza places are around you. I can understand that during the beta period it's U.S. only, but why can't it speak in something other than U.S. English and still be fully functional?
3. Siri still makes a lot of mistakes: I asked Siri if it was raining outside. It misinterpreted and gave me a list of people from my contacts that it thought I wanted to call. Instead of re-starting my query I figured I'd just ask the question again. It then started dialing one of the contacts that it thought sounded like "raining". It dialed before I could exit Siri.
4. Siri can't read e-mails: Siri can tell me that I have "at least 25 e-mails" but then it apologizes saying "I can't read them to you. Sorry about that.". On the other hand, it can read text messages to me. Why can't it read my e-mails?
5. Siri has no offline mode: Most people may be ok with this, but why can't Siri work without an internet connection? Apple would have you believe that Siri requires the advanced hardware of the iPhone 4S, even though it has already been ported to other iOS devices, and previously worked on the 3GS before Apple acquired it, but it really just requires a constant internet connection. This is the most disturbing to me, since services like Siri existed more than ten years ago in Microsoft Research, but never released because the networks couldn't handle it. Now we have constant connectivity for mobile devices and insanely powerful phones. Why not bake some intelligence into the phone itself, so that we at least have limited functionality when the phone is offline or the service is overloaded?
The above is just a sample of the five things so far that are frustrating me about Siri. Don't get me wrong, it's a really solid offering (in beta) and I've been enjoying it, but it's going to be a long time before I completely surrender to Siri for some of my more important tasks.