By: Nick Gambino
Is there anything Siri can’t do? The answer is “Yes, plenty.” But soon she’ll at least be able to do more. Apple is currently testing a feature where Siri answers your calls and transcribes all of your voicemails. It’ll be called (supposedly) iCloud Voicemail.
This solves an obvious problem – who the heck likes listening to voicemails? The answer is nobody. There’s something about it that seems to take forever. When I see a voicemail longer than 20 seconds I view it as a direct assault on my time. Who in their right mind has time to listen to a 30 second voicemail?!
Here’s how it’ll supposedly work. Instead of the call going to the usual voicemail recording it’ll go to Siri who takes over. If you want, you can have her relay your location and why you’re unable to pick up the call.
When the person then leaves an iCloud Voicemail, Siri will jot it all down (digitally of course). A full transcription of the voicemail is then sent to you. In this way you’ll never have to listen to a voicemail ever again. At least that’s the idea.
Here’s where they’re going to have to really be smart. Trying to get Siri to understand what you’re saying can sometimes be a nightmare. “Siri, find a Starbucks.” “Thank you, Nick. I bought it just yesterday.” “Wait, what?!” God forbid there’s a car passing by when I’m talking.
The point is, to fully make this work she’s going to have to understand and transcribe any manner of voicemails, no matter the volume level or noise interference within reason. Knowing Apple there’s a good chance they’re working on this problem. With all of the other virtual assistants making their debut from Cortana to Moneypenny to Google Now, Siri’s going to have to bring it.
The idea is that this upgraded Siri voicemail service will be ready for launch in 2016. So any of you hoping it would be ready in time for iOS 9, coming out in September, you’ll have to wait just a little while longer. Possibly until iOS 10 late next year.
This move seems to be yet another step towards Apple cornering the mobile market and possibly setting up their own mobile network. If patterns are any clue and if you just look at Apple’s track record it’s not a stretch to think this is where they’re headed.
I wouldn’t brush off iCloud Voicemail as just another gimmick. Let’s not underestimate the aggravation that accompanies having to listen to your voicemails eventually resulting in the dreaded “This voicemail box is full and can not accept any messages at this time. Goodbye.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.